Tag Archives: republican

Election Predictions and All That Rot

Why 2012 election predictions are rubbish: Fear the Black Swan!

You want to know who’s going to be the next president of the United States? Happy to oblige.

Just tell me who’s going to win Ohio. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. And only one Democrat has done it—JFK by a whisker—in the past 50 years.

Or tell me what will happen to real personal income growth in the third quarter of 2012.

Or tell me what the jobless rate will be in the fall, since (all together now), no incumbent since FDR has been re-elected when the unemployment rate has been higher than 7.2 percent.

What’s that? You can’t do that because it’s only April?

That doesn’t stop an army of soothsayers — including ones at Yahoo! — from offering up formulas to calculate, with scientific precision, the shape of the November vote. As common-sense guides, they make sense: incumbents and incumbent parties suffer when the economy is bad; a deeply divided party has a hard time winning a general election. As “laws” with the predictive capacity of knowing when ice melts … not so much. (Back in 2000, the most trusted academic models of the election forecast a comfortable-to-overwhelming Democratic popular vote victory based on the glowing economy; what we got was an effective tie).

I received an early lesson in caution after boldly predicting that John Lindsay would win the White House in 1972. Even stronger lessons were provided over the years by the appearance of a hugely influential factor in Presidential elections: the Black Swan.

The term comes, not from that Natalie Portman ballet movie, but from a best-selling book in 2007 by Nassim Nicholas Taleb that examines our persistent “ability” to ignore the potentially huge effects of unlikely, random events. Given what happened a year later–when we woke up on a mid-September day to find the financial universe on the brink of collapse–the book seemed prescient. In political terms, “Black Swans” have shown up often enough to make even the boldest soothsayer hold his tongue.

Think back to 1960, when Republicans could still compete for the black vote, and when an influential figure like Martin Luther King Sr. endorsed Richard Nixon out of concern about a Catholic in the White House. Then, on October 25, King’s son was arrested on a bogus parole-violation charge and transferred to a rural state prison where, his family feared, his life might be endangered. After John Kennedy called King’s wife, and Robert Kennedy called the governor of Georgia (and after Richard Nixon’s efforts to have the Justice Department intercede were ignored), King was released, and his father announced he was transferring his “suitcase full of votes” to Kennedy. On Election Day, black voters were crucial to Kennedy’s razor-thin margins not just in Illinois (8,000 controversially counted votes), but also in Michigan, New Jersey and Missouri.

Or consider 1968, when Hubert Humphrey had closed the once-cavernous gap between himself and Richard Nixon. With days to go before Election Day, the United States and North Vietnam were very close to an agreement on peace negotiations. Thanks to the intervention by Anna Chennault, an unofficial but well-connected Nixon campaign emissary, the South Vietnamese government balked. Had that deal been concluded by the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, there’s good reason to think that Vice President Humphrey would have won the election.

Go back to the last days of the 2000 campaign, and the disclosure of a drunk-driving arrest of a young George W. Bush. Karl Rove maintained that the story cost Bush the popular vote by keeping a few million evangelicals away from the polls. And for Democrats, that butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County will always be a Black Swan of pterodactyl-sized proportions.

Or look again at the financial collapse of mid-September 2008. I’m skeptical of claims that John McCain could have won that contest under any circumstances, given the financial resources of Barack Obama’s campaign and the country’s unhappiness with President Bush. Without question, though, the fear of economic meltdown meant a shift in the tenor of the campaign, one that that redounded in Obama’s favor.

Not every late-breaking event changes the outcome of an election. John Kerry believed that the release of an Osama Bin Laden video just before the 2004 election cost him the White House; I lean more toward a superior get-out-the-vote operation in Ohio by the Bush campaign.

And it’s not that fundamental things don’t apply. If you think in terms of probabilities rather than predictive certainty, the fall economic data is a sound guide for placing bets.

But until someone can take a quick trip into the future and tell me how Ohio’s going to vote, I’ll say no sooth.

SOURCE

Catholics, contraceptives and John Locke


Catholics, contraceptives and John Locke

By Michael Gerson

It is extraordinary how far some will go to knit the random scraps and patches of events into the quilt of a narrative. So the Susan B. Komen controversy, resistance to the administration’s contraceptive mandate, a stag-party joke by Foster Friess and a cruel epithet from Rush Limbaugh somehow add up to a Republican war on women, sure to provoke the political backlash of an entire gender.

American women haven’t behaved as predicted or demanded. President Obama’s job approval has risen or, more recently, fallen independently of the chromosomal status of voters. Men and women, it turns out, resent dipping into their retirement savings to drive to work.

Recent opinion surveys on the contraceptive mandate, in particular, have shown women to be an independent-minded lot. In coverage of its own recent poll, the New York Times conceded that the views of women on this topic are “split.” By a plurality of 46 percent to 44 percent, women believe that employers should be able to “opt out” of providing birth-control coverage for religious reasons. But opinion is not really “split” on the question of whether “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital and university” should be able to opt out of offering coverage. Women support this proposition by 53 percent to 38 percent.

How is this possible? Americans overwhelmingly endorse contraception and regularly practice what they preach. Most believe — myself included — that child spacing and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are public goods. Why not impose this social consensus on all private institutions?

The answer depends on your view, not of contraception, but of pluralism and religious freedom.

One tradition of religious liberty contends that freedom of conscience is protected and advanced by the autonomy of religious groups. In this view, government should honor an institutional pluralism — the ability of people to associate, live and act in accordance with their religious beliefs, limited only by the clear requirements of public order. So Roger Williams welcomed Catholics and Quakers to the Rhode Island colony, arguing that a “Church or company of worshippers (whether true or false) .?.?. may dissent, divide, breake into Schismes and Factions, sue and implead each other at the Law, yea wholly breake up and dissolve into pieces and nothing, and yet the peace of the Citie not be in the least measure impaired or disturbed.”

There is another form of modern liberalism that defines freedom of conscience in purely personal terms. Only the individual and the state are real, at least when it comes to the law. And the state must often intervene to protect the individual from the oppression of illiberal social institutions, particularly religious ones.

This is the guiding philosophy of the American Civil Liberties Union. But as Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, pointed out to me, this approach has roots in the Anglo American tradition of political philosophy. John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” urges legal respect for individual conscience because “everyone is orthodox to himself.” But Locke offered no tolerance for the institution of the Catholic Church: “That Church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince.” In Locke’s view, Catholics can worship as they wish as individuals, but their institution is a danger to the liberal order.

In American history, the treatment of the Catholic Church has often been the measure of institutional religious tolerance. It is amazing how Lockean (unconsciously, one assumes) recent actions by the Obama administration have been. Catholics individuals are free to worship. Catholic institutions must be forced to reflect liberal ideals and values.

On a variety of issues, balancing individual and institutional rights isn’t easy. But the contraceptive mandate is a particularly revealing test case. One side of the controversy argues that the autonomy of religious institutions is essential to the expression of individual conscience and important to the common good. The other side believes that the moral and health choices of individuals need to be protected by government against oppressive religious groups such as the Catholic bishops. So it is not enough for contraceptives to be legal and generally available; they must be provided (directly or indirectly) by Catholic institutions to their employees.

This is the real debate on the contraceptive mandate — and the administration has not won it.
SOURCE

Ron Paul Placed Second in New Hampshire Presidential Primary……..The Democratic Presidential Primary

Ron Paul Placed Second in New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary

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On January 12, the New Hampshire Secretary of State posted election returns on his web page from the January 10 presidential primary. It is the custom in New Hampshire to count write-ins in the Democratic presidential primary received by all candidates who appeared on the Republican presidential primary ballot, and vice versa. No tally is made for write-in candidates who were not on any party’s presidential primary ballot.

The returns for the Democratic primary can be seen here. Ron Paul received 2,273 write-ins in the Democratic presidential primary, so he placed second in that primary behind President Obama, and ahead of the other thirteen candidates whose names were printed on the Democratic ballot. No one will ever know how many write-ins Hillary Clinton received, since her votes weren’t tallied because she wasn’t on any 2012 primary ballot in New Hampshire. But, the total number of write-ins for people who weren’t on any primary ballot, in the Democratic race, was only 759, so obviously Clinton received a smaller number than 759. Mitt Romney placed third in the Democratic primary, with 1,808 write-ins. Thanks to Robbin Stewart for this news.

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Consequences of Iran Military Strike Will Reverberate Around The World

Panetta Warns Israel on Consequences of Iran Military Strike

By Jennifer Griffin

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said ahead of a meeting Friday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he would warn his Israeli counterpart about the global economic consequences of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program, adding that he still favors sanctions and diplomacy over a strike.

“To go beyond (sanctions and diplomacy) raises our concerns about the unintended consequences that could result. … There are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy,” Panetta told those travelling with him to Halifax, Canada.

Some Republican lawmakers are complaining the Obama administration is sending a schizophrenic message to Iran and the region. On one hand, it is projecting that the Pentagon now has 30,000-pound bunker-buster bombs capable of striking an underground WMD program and selling smaller bunker busters to Iran’s neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates.

Yet officials are warning about the dire implications of a military strike.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, however, said Friday that the military option is not off the table. “I don’t choose to talk about our discussions with our Israeli partners, but I will tell you we are on a dual- track approach, economic and diplomatic, with never taking the military option off the table. And I think that’s the right place to be,” he said, when asked what the message to Israel would be regarding a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is sponsoring legislation, which was introduced Friday, to sanction Iran’s Central Bank, but says he is frustrated that the U.S. Treasury is not pushing harder to tighten sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.

“I’m worried that the Obama administration policy on Iran is one becoming aggressive weakness,”
Kirk said. “They are not taking any real action against the Central Bank of Iran or other parts of the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran and then telling everyone else that they shouldn’t do anything either.”

Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said at a House hearing Tuesday that the Central Bank sanctions could actually benefit Iran while hurting the U.S. and global economies by causing oil prices to spike.

“If there is a hike in the price of oil, Iran gains. If there is a spike in the price of oil … there could be profound harm to the global economic recovery and a windfall to Iran,” he said.

A Treasury source said Friday that the department is “eager” to work with Congress on new ways to pressure Iran, “but it is critically important that the steps we take do not destabilize the U.S. and global economy while potentially benefiting Iran.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he thinks both the U.S. and Israel are torn over how to approach Iran.

“I think the Israeli government is divided in some respects like our own over the right approach to take,
” Gates said, in an exclusive interview set to air Saturday on Fox Business Network’s “Tom Sullivan Show. “The former heard of Mossad has been out saying what a terrible mistake a military strike would be. Others cite the existential threat … a nuclear-armed Iran poses for Israel. So I think there are both sides of the issue.”

Gates said he thinks “we have a little more time” to “squeeze the regime.”

Meanwhile, the White House welcomed a resolution from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors Friday chastising Iran for its continued alleged efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said it will increase pressure on Iran to abandon its drive for a nuclear bomb — but did not specify how it would do so.

Kirk said the White House won’t take action against Iran next year because of fears that the oil markets could be disrupted. About 40 percent of the world’s oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz next to Iran.

The administration is “afraid of any instability and oil markets, and therefore wants to take no decisive action,” Kirk said. “They’ll give some pretty good speeches against Iran, but they will not take decisive economic action. That may be because they don’t want disruption in Western economies, worried about prospects for the campaign.”


Read more: SOURCE

2012 U.S. ELECTIONS CANCELED

ELECTIONS CANCELED FOR 2012 IN THE US

Communist Party USA Endorses Barack Obama and Democrats For 2012 Election

Henry D’Andrea

Obama received a critical endorsement, The Communist Party USA. The Communist Party USA leader, Sam Webb, explains why he will continue to support Obama and Democrats in 2012. The Communist Party USA has consistently supported and infiltrated the Democratic Party.

Also note, Sam Webb, the leader of the party, called Obama a friend back in 2008.

Sam Webb Via People’s World:

It is obvious that there is a growing feeling of frustration and even anger among supporters of the Democratic Party with its performance over the past two years.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, speaking for the labor movement, strongly expressed this unhappiness in some recent speeches.

I am disappointed too with some aspects of the Obama administration’s domestic and foreign policy.

But I don’t forget that this administration governs in a very hostile political environment in which the right is laboring overtime to wreck its initiatives at every step of the way.

In addition, there are the structural pressures of governing in a capitalist economy and state.

Then there are conservative pressures coming from some congressional Democrats and members of the administration.

Everything can’t be explained away by the objective context, however. The president and his administration can be faulted for a number of policy decisions.

But the main question from a strategic point of view is this: Does it make any difference, from the standpoint of the class and democratic struggles, which party gains political ascendency?

Some – though not the labor movement nor other mass organizations of the American people – say no, it doesn’t.

Some even go a step further and say a Democratic victory creates popular illusions, which in turn weaken the people’s struggles. And the only way out of this vise is to form a third party now.

Communists don’t agree with either one of these views. In our view, the differences between the two parties of capitalism are of consequence to class and democratic struggles.

Neither party is anti-capitalist, but they aren’t identical either. Differences exist at the levels of policy and social composition. And despite the many frustrations of the past two years, the election of Barack Obama was historic and gave space to struggle for a people’s agenda.

If, on the other hand, the Republicans had been victorious in 2008 the character of class and democratic struggles would have unfolded very differently. Our movement would have been on the defensive from Day One, the Democrats would be running for cover, and the Republicans would have an unfettered hand in their efforts to liquidate the welfare state, roll back the rights revolution of the 1930s and 1960s, and crush the people’s movement – labor in the first place.

As for the wisdom of a third party, we have always advocated the formation of an independent people’s party at the core of which are the working class and labor, racially and nationally oppressed people, women, youth, immigrants, seniors, gay and straight, etc. It is essential for any deep-going social change. But its realization depends on more than our desire, more than our political-ideological attitude. Millions who have to be at the core of this party still operate under the umbrella of the Democratic Party, albeit increasingly in an independent fashion.

Moreover, to separate ourselves at this moment from these forces would be contrary to our strategic policy of building maximum unity against right-wing extremism now and in next year’s elections.

Now that doesn’t mean that we give up our advocacy of an independent people’s party, but we also understand that its formation is dictated by concrete political realities and strategic necessities. Nor does it mean that we hit the mute button when the Obama administration takes positions that we don’t agree with. Just as we show no hesitation in supporting, and fighting for, the administration’s progressive initiatives, we should have no compunction about taking issue with the administration when it takes positions that we don’t agree on.

Which is what we have done.

When someone says we are not critical of the administration what they usually mean is that our criticism isn’t as sweeping and categorical as they would like.

We make criticisms, but we do it in a certain context and with a certain strategic objective in mind. We are keenly aware of the fact that the agenda of the far right is to bring this administration and country to its knees, with a heavy dose of racism, lies and economic sabotage, setting the stage for a full blown return to power of the most reactionary, racist, anti-labor, anti-women, homophobic and militarist grouping in U.S. politics.

We want no part of that. We don’t have any illusions about the Democratic Party, but we don’t have any illusions about the Republican Party either.

Furthermore, we are also aware of the undeniable fact that no other party besides the Democratic Party stands a chance of beating the GOP next year.

I’m sure Obama will win in 2012 now.. yeah right.

SOURCE

Ron Paul Right For America

By DAN HIRSCHHORN |

Ron Paul’s opinions about cutting the budget are well-known, but on Monday, he’ll get specific: the Texas congressman will lay out a budget blueprint for deep and far-reaching cuts to federal spending, including the elimination of five cabinet-level departments and the drawdown of American troops fighting overseas.

There will even be a symbolic readjustment of the president’s own salary to put it in line with the average American salary.

During an afternoon speech in Las Vegas ahead of Tuesday’s debate, Paul will say that his plan for $1 trillion in cuts will create a balanced federal budget by the third year of his presidency.

“Dr. Paul is the only candidate with a plan to cut spending and truly balance the budget,” says an executive summary of the plan, which POLITICO obtained, along with detailed spending and taxation levels, ahead of its release. “This is the only plan that will deliver what America needs in these difficult times: Major regulatory relief, large spending cuts, sound monetary policy, and a balanced budget.”

Many of the ideas are familiar from Paul’s staunch libertarianism, as well as tea party favorites like eliminating the departments of education and energy. But Paul goes further: he’ll propose immediately freezing spending by numerous government agencies at 2006 levels, the last time Republicans had complete control of the federal budget, and drastically reducing spending elsewhere. The EPA would see a 30 percent cut, the Food and Drug Administration would see one of 40 percent and foreign aid would be zeroed out immediately. He’d also take an ax to Pentagon funding for wars.

Medicaid, the children’s health insurance program, food stamps, family support programs and the children’s nutrition program would all be block-granted to the states and removed from the mandatory spending column of the federal budget. Some functions of eliminated departments, such as Pell Grants, would be continued elsewhere in the federal bureaucracy.

And in a noticeable nod to seniors during an election year when Social Security’s become an issue within the Republican primary, the campaign says that plan “honors our promise to our seniors and veterans, while allowing young workers to opt out.”

The federal workforce would be reduced by 10 percent, and the president’s pay would be cut to $39,336 — a level that the Paul document notes is “approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.”

Paul would also make far-reaching changes to federal tax policy, reducing the top corporate income tax rate to 15 percent, eliminating capital gains and dividends taxes, and allowing for repatriation of overseas capital without tax penalties. All Bush-era tax cuts would be extended.

And like the rest of his GOP rivals, Paul would repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, along with the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law enacted last year. Paul, a longtime Federal Reserve critic, would also push a full audit of the central bank, as well as legislation to “strengthen the dollar and stabilize inflation.”

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The Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Ron Paul Is the Only Rational Choice

The Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Ron Paul Is the Only Rational Choice


The top 10 reasons why Dr. Ron Paul is the only rational presidential choice for Americans, Democratic, Republican and Independent:

10. Dr. Paul works a real job, has run a small a business and served in the military. He has been a physician for 40 years, co-owned a coin store for 12 years and was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. National Guard for five years. That was how our country was set up — for public servants to work a real job that they returned to after their public service was done. He has real skills and is not a professional politician.

9. Dr. Paul has decades of experience running a business and in depth knowlegde of health care.

8. Dr. Paul understands money and is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.

7. Dr. Paul does the right thing referencing the U.S. Constitution and works for the country versus campaigning for his ego. He has been serving the public in politics for over 40 years.

6. Dr. Paul refuses to accept a federal pension for his public service, something other members get after a short period because they do not have real jobs. According to Dr. Paul, to receive a pension for public service would be “hypocritical and immoral.”

5. Unlike most other candidates out there, Dr. Paul is not a good-looking, smooth-talking, snake charmer or charismatic zealot. He is a regular, plain-spoken person who says it the way it is.

4. Dr. Paul doesn’t care if big groups like him (like unions and businesses). His donations come primarily from individuals, not from groups. He is willing to serve his country honorably without personal gain. Dr. Paul will do what is right for the U.S. based on the Constitution whether or not big money or big government likes it.

3. Dr. Paul has written a bill, called the Sun Light Rule that requires our politicians have at least 10 days to read bills before signing them.

2. Dr. Paul will bring practical wisdom, cut spending, balance the budget, stabilize the economy and probably be able to do away with the IRS and income tax, a tax that is not constitutional and was started to fund the civil war and supposed to stop after the civil war. He wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education, giving the states and parents back control. He wants to do away with other large government agencies, restoring the rightful power to the states.

1. Dr. Paul’s old-fashioned decency, integrity, honor and real-life experience are exactly what our country needs after hiring actors, puppets, oil and other group-connected slick sales men and marketers. He’s been married to the same woman, Carol, for 54 years (married 1957).

Electing dishonorable, irresponsible, good-looking, smooth-talkers over the past several decades has eroded our country’s stability.

Are Americans finally ready to elect an honest, decent man who will not listen to non-sense from regular Americans, politicians or corporations? A president who will be accountable and hold us all accountable? I hope so.

“Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare. Vote trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary, the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.” — Dr. Paul

He does not take money from corporate PACs. Lobbyists cannot sway him; to try is a waste of time. He never bargains with his own deeply held beliefs, nor does he cut backroom deals. Because his political views and his personal convictions are in complete harmony, he seldom faces a “tough” vote. And when the politicking for the week is over, he returns to his district to take up his lifelong occupation, which has nothing to do with politics.” — S. C. Gwynne

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Pew Research Evidence Corporate Media Connived to Ignore Ron Paul

Pew Research Evidence Corporate Media Connived to Ignore Ron Paul

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com

Pew Research has added fuel to the argument that the corporate media has ignored Ron Paul in favor of other candidates and non-candidates. Pew’s analysis reveals that story-wise, Paul trails far behind all other candidates, including non-candidate Donald Trump and Rick Perry, who became a candidate last weekend. Ron Paul officially announced his candidacy on May 13, weeks ahead of most of the other GOP hopefuls.

Here is a chart breaking down campaign stories:

Ron Paul’s message of liberty and restoration of the republic is so unpopular with the corporate media, they decided to spend more time and effort covering Donald Trump, who is not even a candidate. He also trails far behind Sarah Palin, who is not a candidate.

“Paul’s coverage also lags far behind Trump (94 stories), who dallied with a run before opting out in mid-May and Palin (85 stories), who has given no indication to date that she will enter the race. In addition, Paul trails long-shot candidate and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (44 stories) and Texas Governor, Rick Perry (33 stories) who only announced his candidacy on August 13,”

reports Journalism.org.

The corporate media serves as a barometer for the establishment. “In a further attempt to gauge the post-straw poll attention to Paul’s campaign, PEJ also used the Snapstream server’s closed captioning capability to assess the candidates’ television coverage in the first few days after that balloting,” Journalism.org continues. “According to that analysis, Paul was mentioned just 29 times. By comparison, Perry was mentioned 371 times, Bachmann was mentioned 274 times, and Romney was mentioned 183 times.”

In other words, the establishment will run Perry with Bachmann as his vice president against Obama who is already being portrayed as a one-term president. Perry will now ramp up his fake Tea Party rhetoric and try to undermine Paul’s base. He launched his faux liberty campaign earlier this week when he took a timid swipe at bankster minion Ben Bernanke and the privately owned Federal Reserve.

Neocons Insinuate Paul Supported by Russian Government

The neocon faction of the ruling elite is now attempting to trash Paul by linking him to Russia Today, a media outfit operated by the Russian government. An American commentator at the foreign network, Adam Kokesh, announced a Ron Paul money bomb in early June. Suspiciously timed questions about the fundraising event surfaced after the August 12 Iowa straw poll.

“Since Kokesh is a U.S. citizen, he can make contributions to U.S. political campaigns. However, foreign entities, such as RT, are prohibited from making them under 2U.S.C. Section 441e,” writes F. Michael Maloof for WorldNetDaily.

Maloof and WorldNetDaily insinuate that RT is illegally supporting a U.S. political candidate and Kokesh may have violated 2U.S.C. Section 441e, a statue prohibiting foreign nationals from making contributions and donations to U.S. political candidates.

Cliff Kincaid, a neocon who takes money from the CIA operative Richard Mellon Scaife, claims Kokesh is a paid Russian agent. “Russia Today and its American shills, are effectively agents of a hostile power and should be treated as such,” writes Trevor Loudon. “Russia Today is a virulently anti-American propaganda channel, every bit as dangerous as Pravda or the Tass News Agency were during the Cold War.”

The Bush era neocons are disturbed by Ron Paul’s call to bring home the troops and shut down the warmongers they installed in the Pentagon. WorldNetDaily often serves as a platform to push the neocon agenda with its rabid Islamophobia and call to invade Muslim and Arab nations, so it is hardly surprising they would attack Ron Paul and insinuate that he receives support from the Russians.

SOURCE

Mitt Romney says ‘corporations are people

Mitt Romney says ‘corporations are people’ at Iowa State Fair

?After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

By Philip Rucker,

DES MOINES — Mitt Romney’s visit to the Iowa State Fair on Thursday might have been the best debate prep session he could have hoped for.

Romney’s appearance at the fair’s soapbox grew unusually testy when a few angry people heckled the Republican presidential candidate over his declaration not to raise taxes. They urged the campaign front-runner to increase taxes on the wealthy to help fund such entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare.

Romney explained that one way to fulfill promises on entitlement programs is to “raise taxes on people,” but before he could articulate his position on not raising taxes, someone interrupted.

“Corporations!” a protester shouted, apparently urging Romney to raise taxes on corporations that have benefited from loopholes in the tax code. “Corporations!”

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said.

Some people in the front of the audience shouted, “No, they’re not!

“Of course they are,” Romney said. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?”

The heated exchange prompted an attack from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with taxation of railroad properties. The decision was instrumental in laying the foundation for modern laws regarding corporate personhood, ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause granted constitutional protections to corporations as well as to natural persons. For its opinion, the Court consolidated three separate cases:

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company
California v. Central Pacific Railroad Company
California v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company


“Mitt Romney’s comment today that ‘corporations are people’ is one more indication that Romney and the Republicans on the campaign trail and in Washington have misplaced priorities,
” she said in a statement, calling the comment a “shocking admission.”

There were other tense moments in Romney’s 20-minute appearance at the fair. People interrupted the former Massachusetts governor with chants of “Wall Street greed!” Some in the audience tried to shout questions over Romney, and he at times shouted back.

“Hold on a moment, let me speak! Hold on a moment!” he said.

“You get to ask your question, I get to give my answer and if you don’t like my answer you can vote for someone else,” Romney said.

At one point, Romney poked fun at the hecklers, saying: “My guess is they won’t be voting for me.”

The hecklers were far outnumbered by Romney supporters, nearly 300 in all, who cheered over the heckling. For Romney, the exchange was a rare unscripted and impassioned moment that his advisers said helped him demonstrate to voters that he has the stomach to fight.

Romney was the first of several candidates scheduled to speak at the Des Moines Register soapbox this week. He stood in a short-sleeved shirt and casual pants, his left leg propped on a bale of hay, and delivered a stump speech that was more fiery than typical.

“The nation as a whole is really struggling,”
Romney said. “And part of that reason is we’re led by a man who’s a fine fella, but he’s out of his depth and doesn’t understand how the economy works.”

Romney argued that he does, given his 25 years of private sector experience.

“Sometimes I wonder whether [Obama] takes his political inspiration from the social Democrats of Europe,” Romney said. “I don’t think Europe is working there. I sure don’t think Europe will work here. I happen to believe that we got it right and they got it wrong. I believe in freedom and opportunity, American-style.”

SOURCE

Time to end America’s two-party system?


Time to end America’s two-party system?

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Confidence in the U.S. Congress is at a historic low, more than half of Americans think that the Republican and Democratic parties are doing such a bad job that a third party is needed, and the word “dysfunction” has been common currency in the drawn-out debate over the national debt.

Does this mean the bells are tolling for the Republican-Democratic duopoly which has dominated American political life for more than 150 years?

The answer is yes for a budding political force that aims to get the millions of voters who are disaffected by the present system to bypass the traditional selection of presidential candidates through primary elections.

Instead, the new organization, Americans Elect, says it wants voters “to decide the issues that matter, find candidates to match your views and nominate the President and Vice President directly.”

It’s a novel and extremely ambitious idea, backed by a 50-strong board of advisors that includes business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials, including ex-FBI director William Webster and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. Also on the board: Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The chairman of the group is Peter Ackerman, who heads the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and made a fortune in the 1980s working for Drexel Burnham Lambert, the junk-bond dealers. His son Elliot is chief operations officer. Both are confident that the Internet and social media are the right tools to change the way the system functions.

The debt debate has strengthened the case of those who think the two-party system is failing. According to a CNN poll this week, 77 percent of Americans say that elected officials in Washington have behaved “like spoiled children” in the tug-of-war over raising the debt ceiling.

Schoen described the disenchantment of many Americans with the bickering in Washington as an “extraordinary opportunity” to win support for the Americans Elect project and said some 40,000 voters had added their signatures in the past few days to the 1.7 million the campaign had already collected. “We are winning greater public acceptance than anyone might have expected,” he said.

Traffic to the website also jumped, according to Americans Elect. “We had more than 600,000 page views on AmericansElect.org in the past 10 days,” said Ainsley Perrien, the project’s press secretary. “And, in the same period, more than 3,000 ideas and comments.”

These are substantial numbers for a new website and for an organization barely known nationally until an influential New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote about it in enthusiastic terms in July: “What Amazon.com did to books, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life – remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in.”

FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES

Perhaps. There are formidable obstacles on the road to the goals of Americans Elect: win access to all 50 state ballots as an essential step to holding an online convention in June, 2012, open to registered voters who have signed up to select a candidate for president and vice president. The running mate must be from a different party (or independent).

Joshua Levine, the group’s chief technology officer who joined Americans Elect from the same position at E-Trade, has predicted that the way the group is planning its online convention will be a model for the way the voting process will be shaped in the future. Again, perhaps.

Old traditions die hard. But it is worth noting that according to polls, 41 percent of Americans are describing themselves as independents, beholden to neither of the two parties – which are more polarized than the electorate as a whole.

Will the disenchanted middle go to the trouble of registering with Americans Elect, participating in debates, selecting candidates?

It’s difficult to predict whether the depth of disgust shown by the polls will translate into action, and the will to try something novel and untested. What Americans Elect is hoping to do is more than a twist on an old story of third party candidates taking on the establishment, as did Ross Perot in 1992 (he won almost 20 percent of the vote), John Anderson in 1980 (6.6 percent), or Ralph Nader in 2000 (2.7 percent).

Officials of the group say it’s more about opening a second, 21st century process than about a third party.

To paraphrase a Wall Street phrase – past polls are no guarantee of future results but it’s useful to keep in mind the surveys mentioned at the beginning of this column. Gallup began asking about Americans’ confidence in various institutions in 1973. Then, 42 percent of respondents said they had confidence in Congress. By June 2011, it had dropped to 12 percent, dead last on a list of 16 institutions.

Gallup began asking about support for a third party in 2003, when 40 percent of respondents said there was no need for it. By May 2011, 52 percent thought there was a need for a third party. Among independents, 68 percent of independents thought so.

And by June 2012, when Americans Elect plans to hold its online convention? Let the betting begin.

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