Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Left Does Not Need to Lie to Make Romney Look Bad

When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot ~ Barack Obama (b. 8/4/1961) 44th president of the United States, responding to a question about Romney's bogus and insulting claim that 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax and believe they are victims and entitled to an array of federal benefits at a Univision town hall-style forum on 9/20/2012.

On 9/22/2012 self-described "Moderate" blogger Willis Hart asked the question, "still don't think that MSNBC lies like Fox?". The title of the post was a link to Youtube video of some remarks by Mitt Romney that were supposedly deceptively edited by NBC's Andrea Mitchell to enforce the Left's narrative that Mitt is a rich out-of-touch douche (Youtube video title: "MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Caught Blatantly Lying & Distorting The Truth About Mitt Romney").

My response, which I cannot make on his blog because he recently banned me, would have been that I don't think Andrea Mitchell lied. Primarily because lying to make Mittens look bad isn't necessary. Yes, the video was edited, and yes the edit did make it appear he was confused by the "amazing" technology he witnessed at a sandwich making business he had recently visited (Wawas of PA). After airing the edited video on her MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mitchell "suggested this might be Romney's supermarket scanner moment". The point he was actually making was that government is behind in using technology to improve it's efficiency because government has no competition.

So, the video WAS edited, and those edits did make it appear that Romney's comments are an example of him being rich and "out of touch" with the common man. However, when viewed in their full context, it is clear his comments are not an example of this. So, why do I doubt Andrea Mitchell lied? Because there are numerous other Romney quotes that the Left can use to "make Romney look bad". There is NO NEED for them to fabricate any. I suspect someone else edited the video and handed it off to someone at MSNBC. Andrea Mitchell did not lie... although an argument can be made that this is an example of poor reporting. Whoever put the story together (not necessarily Andrea Mitchell) did a bad job of confirming if the (out of context) quote was what it really appeared to be.

Regarding those quotes that actually do make Romney look bad (and make it completely unnecessary for the Left to have to fabricate any), two examples that recently were reported on include Romney making it clear he has no idea what a dirty bomb is, and that Romney thinks it would be a good idea for people to be able to open windows in airplanes (in case of a fire). The first comment I've transcribed from the 9/18/2012 broadcast of Rachel Maddow Show and is as follows (it is IN CONTEXT, BTW)...

(The quote is from the same video in which Romney disparages the 47 percent of people who refuse to take personal responsibility... according to him.)

Mitt Romney: I mean, if I were Iran and a crazed fanatic, I'd say, "Let's get a little fissile material to Hezbollah and have them carry it to Chicago or some other place. And then if anything goes wrong or America starts acting up, we'll say, guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we're gonna let off a dirty bomb.

Rachel Maddow: OK... Mitt Romney doesn't know what a dirty bomb is. A dirty bomb is not a nuclear explosion... you do not need to have a nuclear program in order to make a dirty bomb possible. You do not need fissile material from somebody's nuclear weapons program in order to put together a dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is just a regular bomb that explodes the regular way - except that it's been packed with radioactive material - and that radioactive material can come from anywhere. From medical waste, from a nuclear power plant (which Iran has)... Every country in the world has access to the radioactive material necessary to make a dirty bomb. By singling out a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to the US in terms of what it would take to make a dirty bomb, Mitt Romney has just display profound ignorance on a really important subject.

Back to my commentary: As has been pointed out, these 47 percent of people who don't pay income taxes include a lot of likely Romney voters (who may not be Romney voters anymore after hearing these remarks). Senior citizens, military personal, and voters who live in southern states (states that receive more in federal money than they pay in, as opposed to northern states that tend to vote democratic and pay in more than they get back). On the other hand, these people probably aren't paying attention (or seen this reported on Fox Nooz) so they'll probably still vote for Romney despite the utter contempt Romney clearly has for these people.

Now, on to my second example of Romney saying something dumb that makes it unnecessary for the Left to fabricate anything to support their "narrative" that Romney is out-of-touch, makes dumb gaffes, and is otherwise not qualified to be president.

As reported by the Huffington Post (and numerous other "less biased" news sources), a fire broke out on a private plane carrying Mitt Romney's wife Anne (which was then forced to make an emergency landing). Speaking about the incident, Romney said, "the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous". According to Romney, it's "dangerous" because "you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft...".

There are several problems with this statement. First of all, there is less oxygen at high altitudes, oxygen feeds a fire, and the pressure outside the plane isn't the same as inside it. Although, regarding the oxygen issue, Romney was concerned about the occupants of the plane being able to breath (I guess it didn't occur to him that fire needs oxygen to burn). The cabin pressure issue, I think, really makes this a super dumb statement. Or, perhaps he was just joking, as, according to the NYT writer who first filed on the comments, "it was clear from the context that he was not being serious".

If a "joke" then I agree with the Telegraph reporter who said Romney has "[a] sense of humour that no one else quite gets". In any case, we still have two examples of Romney making stupid gaffes that make it completely unnecessary for the Left to have to fabricate any. He disparaged the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax, even though this number includes members of the Republican base, and his complete lack of understanding regarding what a dirty bomb is (and the fact that individuals in Iran could construct one absent Iran having a nuclear weapons program.

Andrea Mitchell lied? Why? There's no reason for her to lie; all the Left needs to do is tell the truth to make Romney look bad. Lie, and you can get caught, so why do it when it isn't necessary?

Also, who uses a link as the title of a blog post as Willis Hart of Contra O'Reilly does? Links are supposed to be embedded in your post. Try learning a little basic HTML. Failing that, don't use a frigging LINK as the TITLE of a blog post (put it in the body)! It just looks dumb.

SWTD #120

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Republican Rigging Benefits Wealthy, Hurts Everyone Else

The fact that Romney may be viewed as wealthy doesn't necessarily pose problems for his candidacy. The challenge for Romney lies more in the fact that large majorities say if he is elected president, his policies would likely benefit the wealthy ~ Kim Parker, associate director of Pew Social & Demographic Trends. (Quote excerpted from the article, "Americans Say Rich Are Greedy, Dishonest, Don't Pay Enough In Taxes: Pew Report" by Hope Yen of the AP, 8/27/2012).

The following is an excerpt from the 9/2/2012 broadcast of MSNBC's Weekends With Alex Witt, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Host Alex Witt and guest Carmen Wong Ulrich discuss a new Pew poll that finds 75 percent of Americans believe the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Alex Witt: Now a new study that paints a fascinating picture of what Americans really think about rich people. Carmen Wong Ulrich is a personal finance expert and the president of Alta Wealth Management, so she's making people rich with that company.

As we get to this survey, it's from the Pew Research Center, it says people see those who are wealthy as more intelligent, more hard working, yet also greedy and less honest. Where does this come from?

Carmen: Well, here's the thing. If you break it along party lines... Democrats are much more likely to say that people who are rich are basically more greedy and less honest. Republicans are more likely to say they're intelligent and hard working. So it really cuts across party lines.

But a third to 50 percent of Americans said it doesn't matter if you're wealthy. That doesn't make you more intelligent or less likely to be honest. It doesn't matter at all. So it's a big number that said it doesn't matter.

Alex Witt: OK, let's get to taxes. This one shows, that when it comes to paying them, 58 percent said [the] rich pay too little, 26 percent said they pay their fair share, and just 8 percent say they pay too much. Anything here surprise you?

Carmen: No... Again, this split along party lines. 78 percent of Democrats say the wealthy do not pay enough in taxes. Only 33 percent of Republicans said the same thing.

Alex Witt: On the campaign trail wealth is certainly one of the big issues. What's the takeaway from what the study tells us... do you think this tells us more about how people view the rich...

Carmen: What it really showed is there is a belief that there is a huge income gap between the wealthy and the poor. 65 percent of Americans say that gap exists. The study asked, "do you believe the rich get richer and the poor get poorer"? Over 75 percent of Americans agreed. If you're a Democrat it's 92 percent, while if you're a Republican it's still over 50 percent. So, no matter what party they're in, people are saying America is changing and the rich are getting richer.

My Commentary: "Perception is reality", is one of the lines (I didn't quote) that Carmen used in commenting on this poll. I don't know if that means she does not believe the rich are getting richer at the expense of the rest of us, but I believe it is true. I know it isn't only a "perception", but that the facts show this is the case. I also agree with the people who responded to the poll who said the wealthy aren't necessarily more intelligent (50 percent) or harder working (34 percent).

But, if the wealthy aren't necessarily more intelligent or harder working then why are they getting richer while the rest of us are getting poorer? Certainly, being wealthy is a huge advantage, as making money after you already have money is a lot easier, but I strongly believe the reason is (in huge part) because our economic system is rigged to favor the wealthy.

This is an assertion that I have been ridiculed for on a Conservative blog I used to comment on. One commenter even claimed that this assertion was one of the reasons I was viewed as a "laughingstock" by the other people who frequent that blog. According to these people, those who complain of a rigged system (like the Occupy Movement) are simply jealous, lazy and greedy individuals who are looking for government handouts.

However, as Liberal talk show radio host Thom Hartmann correctly points out (in a 10/26/2006 article), "what's normal in a free and unfettered economy is the rapid evolution of a small but fabulously wealthy ownership class, and a large but poor working class". Historical evidence shows us that (under normal conditions[1]) only governmental economic and social policy can sustain a large and growing middle class.

Pew also found that "63 percent of Americans say the GOP favors the rich over the middle class and poor"[2]. I think the results of this poll make it clear that most people realize governmental policy supports the middle class, and that the reason it is currently in decline is due to a rigging of our economic system by the GOP. Here's hoping that translates into a win for Barack Obama in November.

[1] The other method by which a middle class can arise is by, "a sudden change in the relationship between population and resources. After the Black Death wiped out more than a third of the population in 14th century Europe, the increased demand for labor drove up the price of labor to the point when a middle class emerged in some places. Many historians identify this as one of the factors that brought about the Renaissance". (Excerpt from the 10/26/2006 Thom Hartmann article, "There's Nothing Normal About A Middle Class").
[2] From the AP article, "Americans Say Rich Are Greedy, Dishonest, Don't Pay Enough In Taxes: Pew Report" by Hope Yen, 8/27/2012.

SWTD #119