Saturday, October 13, 2012

Is Gay Bashing By Churches Driving the Flight From Organized Religion?

I have frequently made the argument that the flight of the under 30 generations from organized religion bears a direct correlation to the anti-gay jihad that many denominations continue to conduct against LGBT citizens.  Many more of this age bracket have LGBT friends and/or know LGBT individuals.  As a result, they are repulsed by the standard depiction of gays disseminated daily by "family values" groups and church organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church (both of which are suffering from membership losses - especially if non-active members are stripped from church rosters).  Indeed, many of these supposed Christian groups and churches represent the strongest argument for not being a Christian that one can find.  Wayne Besen has a column in Huffington Post that sets forth thoughts like my own on this topic.  Here are some highlights:

A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that a record number of Americans (19.3 percent) have abandoned faith and now consider themselves unaffiliated with any particular religion. According to USA Today:
This group, called "Nones," is now the nation's second-largest category only to Catholics, and outnumbers the top Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists.
If you want to understand the reasons behind this trend, take a moment to read a disturbing letter that Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt sent to the mother of a gay son. In it, the holy man told the mother that her "eternal salvation" might depend on whether or not she embraced the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church, thus rejecting her own child. Talk about family values!

Such a callous admonition might have worked in the past, when people had little education. It might have resonated in bygone eras, when gays and lesbians were invisible and easy to demonize as the "other." It might have held sway had the Catholic Church's credibility not been left in tatters after the church spent more than $2.5 billion to clean up the wreckage wrought by pedophile priests and their enablers.

While Nienstedt's arrogance and cruelty stands out as particularly odious, it isn't just Catholicism that is in decline.

I, for one, believe that the 19.3-percent figure for Nones is too low. A substantial number of people identify themselves in surveys as belonging to a particular faith for one of three reasons:
  • Habit: People over 30 were brought up in a world where everyone was presumed to have a religious affiliation as both a mark of faith and cultural identity. So, when asked whether they belong to a faith group, they reflexively check the box, with little thought to their own belief system or actual adherence to the religious convictions they claim. As the "Nones" make themselves more visible, it gives these folks a new box to check -- and many of them will.
  • Fear: For centuries it was dangerous for people to acknowledge their genuine beliefs. "Today, there's no shame in saying you're an unbeliever," Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler complained in USA Today.
  •  Politics: Even today, if an ambitious person wants a successful career in politics, it is easier to fake having faith than to acknowledge being a nonbeliever. The result is that politicians appear significantly more devout than the general population. Once this taboo falls, which is likely to occur in the next decade, it will open the door to a more honest dialogue about the role of religion in public life.
When people see their own sons and daughters and friends and co-workers coming out, it creates a crisis of credibility for religious institutions. It leads to countless situations where mean-spirited men like Nienstedt demand blind, irrational obedience and say "take it or leave it" -- and more people are now following their consciences and walking away.  

Add to this premise the reality that science is proving that the Adam and Eve of the Bible are fictional characters and that, therefore, there was no Fall through Adam, and the whole literalistic approach to the Bible begins to collapse.   And it is happening most rapidly in the mainline churches which as I have noted before have the highest levels of education (see the charts below).  It is no coincidence that anti-gay bigotry and Bible inerrancy are increasingly confined to the most conservative denominations which also happened to be those with the lowest educational levels.    

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Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Break Up the Big Banks

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It is rare nowadays that I agree with George Will on much of anything.  The man has become almost as nutty as today's Republican Party for which he typically acts as an apologist.  But in a column today in the Washington Post he talks about an issue where in my view he is directly on point:  it is time to break up the big banks who have been given a "too big to fail" status and all kinds of special privileges but have not been held to any increased accountability or responsibility.  Dealing with some of these banks on behalf of clients regularly the picture that emerges is one of arrogance, incompetence, and an utter unwillingness to work with even meritorious customers - despite receiving huge bailout sums themselves that were intended to flow down to borrowers and customers.  Here are highlights from Will's column:

If in four weeks a president-elect Mitt Romney is seeking a Treasury secretary, he should look here, to Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Candidate Romney can enhance his chance of having this choice to make by embracing a simple proposition from Fisher: Systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), meaning too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks, are “too dangerous to permit.”

The problems posed by “supersized and hypercomplex banks” may, Fisher says, require anti-obesity policies equivalent to “irreversible lap-band or gastric bypass surgery.” The land of TBTFs is “a perverse financial Lake Wobegon” where all crises are “exceptional,” justifying “unique” solutions that are the same — meaning bailouts. This incurs “the wrath of ordinary citizens and smaller entities that resent this favorable treatment, and we plant the seeds of social unrest.” 

Endorsing the axiom (attributed to Napoleon) that one should “never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence,” Fisher says that TBTF banks “are sprawling and complex — so vast that their own management teams may not fully understand their own risk exposures, providing fertile ground for unintended ‘incompetence.’ ” 

Fisher’s rejoinder to those who impute “economies of scale” to such banks is that there also are “diseconomies of scale.” Fisher, among many others, believes the component parts of the biggest banks would be “worth more broken up than as a whole.”

“For all its bluster, Dodd-Frank leaves TBTF entrenched. . . . In fact, the financial crisis increased concentration because some TBTF institutions acquired the assets of other troubled TBTF institutions. The TBTF survivors of the financial crisis look a lot like they did in 2008. They maintain corporate cultures based on the short-term incentives of fees and bonuses derived from increased oligopoly power.”

Capitalism — which is, as Milton Friedman tirelessly insisted, a profit and loss system — is subverted by TBTF, which socializes losses while leaving profits private. And which enhances the profits of those whose losses it socializes. TBTF is a double moral disaster: It creates moral hazard by encouraging risky behavior, and it delegitimizes capitalism by validating public cynicism about its risk-reward ratios.

It is inexplicable politics and regrettable policy that Romney has, so far, flinched from a forthright endorsement of breaking up the biggest banks.

Paul Hirschbiel Calls Out Scott Rigell for Being an Extremist

While our Hampton home has been redistricted out of the Virginia 2nd Congressional District I am closely following the contest there between Scott Rigell - who was endorsed by hate group founder Lou Sheldon - and Paul Hirschbiel who, unlike Rigell, understands that religious freedom applies to others besides the Christofascists.   Hirschbiel also, unlike Rigell, opposes a return to the failed economic policies of Chimperator George Bush and the disastrous foreign policy championed by Emperor Palpatine Cheney.  In their first debate, things go heated, especially when Hirschbiel challenged Rigell on his support of a "personhodd" bill entitled the Life At Conception Act.  I have the added perspective of having formerly lived in the same neighborhood as Rigell, so that I know just how extreme Rigell's views are on nearly everything - including his utter contempt for LGBT Virginians.   If one wants an example of the Christian Taliban mindset, look no further than Scott Rigell.  Here are some excerpts from the Virginian Pilot on the debate fireworks:

In their first debate this election season, the two men competing in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District pointed out their sharp differences Friday night on health care, abortion and handling the federal government's fiscal problems.

The most aggressive exchange in the one-hour forum that was broadcast live on WHRO-TV came when Democratic challenger Paul Hirschbiel criticized U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell's support for anti-abortion legislation.
Hirschbiel, who favors abortion rights, noted that Rigell supported the Life At Conception Act. The bill, cosponsored by Rigell and 120 other lawmakers, would affirm that human life begins at conception and, from conception on, would be guaranteed full constitutional rights.

Hirschbiel criticized Rigell's vote in favor of the GOP budget plan, drafted by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin - the party's vice presidential candidate - that would reduce spending on programs including Head Start, make changes to Medicare benefits for those under 55, and reduce taxes for upper-income America.

Hirschbiel said a key to job creation and economic revival are strong educational programs.  He said he wanted keep intact the so-called Bush tax cuts for everyone except those earning $1 million or more each year. The tax on the high-earners, he said, would generate hundreds of billions to ease deficit spending but still allow federal spending on education and health care.

HRBOR's October Third Thursday - Trilogy Bistro

While the boyfriend and I will unfortunately, miss the event, HRBOR's October Third Thursday business networking event will be at the fabulous Trilogy Bistro in downtown Norfolk at the corner of Main Street and Granby Street.   Not only is the food amazing, but so is the setting in a gorgeous historic building.  I encourage local readers to make an effort to join HRBOR members for an evening of business networking and also find out what is going on in the Hampton Roads LGBT and allied community. Bring plenty of business cards or your company marketing materials and promote your business! To RSVP go to the HRBOR website: Event details listed below: 

Please join us Thursday October 18th as we visit new HRBOR member Trilogy Bistro in Norfolk for a night of Business Networking!

"Another award-winning establishment
from Chef/Owner Todd Leutner and
his partner, Vincent Ranhorn,
Trilogy boasts the clubby exclusivity of a time-honored New York eatery where
professional waiters move about smartly
with an almost choreographed grace.
High ceilings and a rich palette of
dark red and black create a
backdrop for the impeccable presentation
of fare prepared by Todd's culinary team."
What: HRBOR Third Thursday Business Networking Event
Event Host and Food Sponsors:

Trilogy Bistro/Owner Todd Leutner

Where: 101 Granby Street, Norfolk VA (757-961-0896)

When: October 18th, 6pm - 8 pm

Cash Bar

Parking: On Street (metered) and also surrounding parking garages at hourly rate.
Featured Non-profit : TBD
Third Thursday Cost: Free to Members, $15 Guest Fee for Guests and Prospective Members
Invite friends and colleagues.
Exciting Raffle Opportunity at each Third Thursday until November 15th for Two Tickets to EV Commonweath Dinner compliments of Tysinger Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Malvin, Riggins & Company P.C.

The GOP's Anti-Gay Senate Candidates

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As yet further proof in my mind that being gay and being a Republican is akin to being black and supporting the Klu Kux Klan, 12 of the GOP candidates for the United States have certified anti-gay credentials.  Leading the pack is George Allen who continues to slavishly grovel to the nastiest elements in the Christofascist far right both in Virginia and elsewhere around the country.  Equally frightening is Allen's support for a "personhood" amendment that ought to send Virginia women running into the arms of Democrat candidate Tim Kaine.  Think Progress has a run down of the "dirty dozen" as it calls them which ought to be required reading for every LGBT citizen and their families, friends and allies.  Here are some excerpts, starting with the comments on George Allen:

VIRGINIA: former Sen. George Allen (R). In a 1994 radio broadcast, then-Gov. Allen told listeners that he didn’t want his children “even seeing the news of some of these things here, thinking that, this is acceptable behavior.” He added: “I don’t think this is acceptable behavior… and as a matter of government policy I don’t think we should condone that sort of behavior.” In the same broadcast, he praised Virginia’s unconstitutional Crimes Against Nature law –which made private consensual sex between same-sex adults a felony — saying “It’s against the criminal law in Virginia, that homosexual acts are illegal, and I think should stay illegal.” Perhaps unaware that President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in 2009, on Allen’s current campaign website he bizarrely promises to “vote against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes, as he did in 2005.”

ARIZONA: Rep. Jeff Flake (R).  . . . . He refused to support the 2010 transgender-inclusive version of the bill because he claimed those protections made it “too nebulous” and said he thought gender-identity protections would be “too difficult to implement for business owners to respond to.” Worse, he refused to even adopt a non-discrimination policy against LGBT discrimination for employees in his own Congressional office. After spending a week alone on a deserted island, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he took the trip because he “felt like a pansy.”

 FLORIDA: Rep. Connie Mack IV (R). A May campaign press release touted a “Social Conservatives for Mack Coalition” including several leaders of the 2008 Florida anti-gay marriage amendment proponents’ group. The text slammed Mack’s then-primary opponent for allegedly being “an early and vocal supporter of the gay agenda.”

HAWAII: former Gov. Linda Lingle (R). In 2010, Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill that passed the state legislature, arguing that it was “essentially marriage by another name,” and should be decided by referendum. Making matters worse, she invited LGBT activists to attend her announcement ceremony, only to devastate them with her decision. 

MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. Scott Brown (R). In 2001, he told the Boston Globe it was “not normal” for two women to have children. His comments — focused at then-State Sen. Cheryl Jacques and her domestic partner Jennifer Chrisler — also belittled Jacques’ “alleged family responsibilities.” . . . .  and was one of just three state senators to oppose repeal of a 1913 anti-interracial marriage law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney used to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

MICHIGAN: Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R). At least nine times, he signed on as a co-sponsor of anti-equality measures including the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, a proposal to amend the U.S. constitution to prevent states from voluntarily recognizing same-sex unions, and a radical proposal to take away the right of same-sex couples to challenge discriminatory laws in state or federal courts.

 MISSOURI: Rep. Todd Akin (R). He argued on the House floor that marriage is only “about a love that can bear children,” and warned that “anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.” He called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal “an eclipse of reason” and “the imposition of somebody’s social agenda that they want to impose on the military,” and criticized President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality as an “unquenchable desire to tear down the traditional family unit brick by brick.”

MONTANA: Rep. Denny Rehberg (R). . . .  At his Senate campaign kickoff, he told supporters: “I will never, ever, ever be ashamed to stand for the life of the unborn child and the sanctity of traditional marriage.”

NEVADA: Sen. Dean Heller (R). In 2006, Heller said on his campaign website that he “supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman and will work to defend Nevada values in Congress.”  . . . .  He has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign for his House tenure.  

NEW MEXICO: former Rep. Heather Wilson (R). Throughout her career, Wilson has repeatedly noted that though she tolerates LGBT people, she doesn’t much like having to do so.  . . . . She has also opposed anti-bullying laws, comparing anti-gay bullying to mere “teasing.

OHIO: State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R). Mandel told a Tea Party rally in July that he would “protect the sanctity of marriage,” adding that “this is a fight that I will never, ever back down.”  . . . . . As a state representative, Mandel voted against a bill to made it illegal to discriminate against LGBT Ohioans in hiring, firing, and housing decisions based purely on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

WISCONSIN: former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R). Thompson’s opposition to LGBT equality dates back nearly three decades. In his successful 1986 campaign to for Governor of Wisconsin, he repeatedly pledged to eliminate his predecessor’s Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues. . . .  Thompson was asked whether employers who believe “homosexuality is immoral” should be allowed to fire gay employees. Thompson forcefully responded that “business people have to make their own determination” on whether to fire employees based on sexual orientation.

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Friday Male Beauty

Complaint Filed to Challenge Illinois ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapist’s Professional License

In a move that needs to be undertaken around the country, several organizations have filed a complaint in Illinois seeking revocation of the professional license of clinical social worker (pictured at left) who practices scientifically-discredited “reparative therapy.”  Given that every legitimate mental health and medical association in the nation condemns so-called "reparative therapy" - a/k/a "pray away the gay therapy" - the thrust of the complaint is that the clinical social worker is acting unethically and endangering his clients.  Reparative therapy has recently been banned in California for those under 18 years of age and a similar ban effort may be launched in New Jersey.  Until such bans spread nationwide, complaints such as this one in Illinois may be the way to shut down the lies and snake oil peddled by the "ex-gay" ministry crowd and Christianist therapists who put their extremist personal beliefs (and money) ahead of the well being of their clients.  A copy of the complaint can be found here.  Here are highlights from Truth Wins Out:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, and the American Psychoanalytic Association filed a complaint today against Paul McNulty, a state-licensed clinical social worker who practices scientifically-discredited “reparative therapy” in Bloomington, Illinois. The groups lodged their complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency that oversees professional licensing in that state.

In the complaint, SPLC Deputy Legal Director Christine Sun notes that the department “has the authority ‘to suspend or revoke a license, refuse to issue or renew a license or take other disciplinary action, based upon its finding of unethical, unauthorized, or unprofessional conduct.’” She also points out that bringing bias into the patient-counselor relationship is is prohibited, concluding:
“By offering and embracing scientifically unsound and potentially harmful services that reflect prejudice, Mr. McNulty appears to be in violation of the State’s licensing standards.”
McNulty’s profile boasts of his memberships in Exodus International and NARTH and says that he is “passionate” about his therapy with males “ in the areas of relationships, sexuality, same-sex attraction, and various addictions.”

I applaud this set in shutting down these therapists and bogus "clinics" like that of Michele Bachmann and her husband "Marcia" Bachmann.  A voodoo practitioner or witch doctor has just as much likelihood of "changing" someone's sexual orientation as this therapists who in my view are nothing more than unethical, parasitic quacks who prey on gays or more frequently the parents of gays.   Not by coincidence, frequently these merchants of the ex-gay myth receive financing from virulent anti-gay organizations and SPLC registered hate groups.

The Annihilation of GOP Moderates

I often bemoan what has happened to the Republican Party - a party that once had many social moderates and rational fiscal conservatives.  Indeed, it is the political tradition that I was raised in and which led me to be a city committee member for eight (8) years a number of years ago.  But that was in the past.  That political part no longer exists and, in my opinion, to be a Republican nowadays requires that one either a racist, motivated by greed and keeping as much of "what's mine" as possible, a homophobe, a religious extremist or some mix of the foregoing. In a lengthy review of a new book entitled "Rule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party" The New Republic pinpoints the insanity and sickness that has overtaken the GOP.  Here are some highlights:

[T]here is another way to make at least some sense of the Romney nomination.

IT HAS TO DO WITH the strange and sad fate of Republican moderation. After all, moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way. They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, the conservative movement, far from holding a monopoly on acceptable thought within the GOP, was merely one tribe vying for power within it, and not even the largest one. Geoffrey Kabaservice’s fine book tells the story of the slow extinction of the party’s moderate and liberal wings. The conservative movement, he shows in often gruesome detail, took control of the party in large part due to an imbalance of passion. The rightists had strong and clearly defined principles and a willingness to fight for them, while the moderates lacked both. Meeting by meeting, caucus by caucus, the conservative minority wrested control of the party apparatus. 

The moderate Republican tradition had always leaned heavily on elitism, which abhorred demagoguery and the crude appeals to self-interest that they correctly identified with the machine hacks and Southern racists of the Democratic Party. Nixon’s strategy of counting upon white resentment began to identify the party as a less congenial place for thoughtful, educated people.

[T]he conservatives won out by packing meetings, staying until everybody else was exhausted, and other classic methods of organized fanatics. The moderates lacked the ideological self-confidence to wage these fights with equal gusto, and battle by battle they lost ground until finally there was nowhere left to stand within the party.  Republican moderates in the early 1960s held a place of influence and comfort within their party that is hard to imagine today.

The transformation is now so complete that Rick Santorum can proudly announce “we will never have the elite, ‘smart’ people on our side”—“smart” referring not to native intelligence, but to those who aspire to a certain level of intellectual respectability. The party’s ideological and sociological evolutions have run in tandem, driving a progressively wider gulf between the Republicans and the technocracy.

What remains of “moderation” within the party has taken on a definition very distinct from the meaning that it held originally. Unlike the moderate and liberal Republicans of yore, today’s “moderates” generally identify themselves as conservative. They are simply less so.

Columnists such as David Brooks, Michael Gerson, and Ross Douthat have formulated a serious and often stinging critique of the GOP’s radical direction, and, with varying degrees of seriousness and specificity, laid out an alternative path. What they have failed to do is to face up to the cold reality that the alternative they propose diverges wildly from the actually existing Republican Party.

By the time the rightward migration of the party has finally halted, the definition of Republican “moderate” will likely have corroded beyond all recognition. Already the extremism of the party has advanced to such a point that its most fervent elements are identified less by their ideology—which is nearly impossible to distinguish any more from that of the mainstream—than by the degree to which their detachment from reality departs from paranoia as a mere figure of speech and approaches actual, clinical 

It [Romney's 47% statements] was a horrifying peek into the intellectual state of one of our two major parties, but only a peek. The changes in a party remain largely obscured when it is out of power. . . . . the final results awaiting only the party’s chance to exert power once again. 

Far too many Americans who do not follow politics daily simply do not realize that the Republican Party has become the home for lunatics and extremists.  It is not the party it once was and the sane and rational have largely fled the party voluntarily or have been forced out as the inmates took over the asylum.  Should Romney/Ryan win next month, we will all soon learn just how sick and deranged the GOP has become.    

Bloomberg Tears Apart the Romney/Ryan Tax Plan

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I've noted previously that the math behind the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan tax plan simply does not add up.  Therefore, one can only assume that Romney and Ryan view the American electorate as so stupid that we cannot figure out that we are being sold a bunch oh snake oil or worse.  As for what they would actually elected, it is simple impossible to know whether they would back away on the tax reduction promise or move forward and make the nation's budget deficit explode even more.  A column on takes apart the "studies"  that Ryan and Romney claim support their smoke and mirrors tax proposal.  As you will note, some of these "studies" are in fact merely blog posts or opinion pieces.  True studies, these pieces are not.  Here are some column excerpts:
Mitt Romney's campaign says I'm full of it. I said Romney's tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can't simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies -- six! -- that "have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan," and so I should stop whining.  Let's take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.

The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as "analyses," since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I'm not hating -- I blog for a living -- but I don't generally describe my posts as "studies."

None of the analyses do what Romney's campaign says: show that his tax plan is sound. I'm going to walk through them individually, but first I want to make a broad point.

The Tax Policy Center paper that sparked this discussion found that Romney's plan couldn't work because his tax rate cuts would provide $86 billion more in tax relief to people making over $200,000 than Romney could recoup by eliminating tax expenditures for that group. That means his plan is necessarily a tax cut for the rich, so if Romney keeps his promise not to grow the deficit, he'll have to raise taxes on the middle class.

The piece then goes on to debunk each of the "studies" cited by Romney/Ryan.   In closing, the piece makes the following points:

Finally, I would note one item that the Romney campaign does not cite in support of its tax plan: Any analysis actually prepared for the campaign in preparation for announcing the plan in February. You would expect that, in advance of announcing a tax plan, the campaign would commission an analysis to make sure that all of its planks can coexist. Releasing that analysis now would be to the campaign's advantage, helping them put down claims like mine that their math doesn't add up.

Why don't they release that analysis? My guess is because the analysis doesn't exist, and the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible.

What's so troubling is the fact that I know people who are planning to vote for Romney simply because they want to reduce what they pay in taxes.  Most of them, unfortunately, have no idea that the Romney/Ryan tax plan is a sham and that if the GOP ticket wins, either the tax cut proposals will not be implemented or, if they are, the budget deficit - which these people claim to be worried about - will explode.  The math simply does NOT add up.  What does that make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan?  Liars.  Deliberate liars.

Headed to Nassau on Sunday

I suspect that it will not be as upscale as the cruise of the Western Mediterranean that the boyfriend and I did last year at this time on Royal Caribbean, but on Sunday we sail out of Norfolk headed to Nassau in the Bahamas aboard the Carnival Glory (pictured above).  Booking through BJ's Travel the price made the cruise too good to pass up (the over 55 discount made the deal even sweeter).  I suspect that there may be local and other readers of this blog on board and, if that's the case, I hope folks will touch base with me.  Nothing would be more fun than to get together for drinks or an evening in the ship's dance club or one of the other bars.

Since I have to stay in contact with my law firm, I will be using satellite Internet while on board and I will be doing some blog posting over the six days that we are on board ship.   Needless to say, unless something really gets me riled up, the volume of post will likely be reduced.  I will be posting some photos through out the trip.

Fortunately, we have the Obama campaign staffer that we are housing through election day to house sit for us and keep an eye on things while we are gone. And since we sail right from Norfolk, it will be a simple drive to Norfolk and my daughter or son-in-law will simply drop us at the cruise terminal  It can't be much easier.

In any event, it should be a welcomed get away.  Again, I am serious about the offer that if there are any blog readers going on the cruise, we'd love to get together and chat in person.  Drop me an e-mail or leave a comment.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Joe Biden Delivers - Shows Paul Ryan is a Liar

I have been a political junkie for decades and grew up in a family where politics were discussed at the dinner table and family gatherings as far back as I can remember.  The discussions could be heated at times but always focused on the facts and the truthfulness of the candidates and politicians being discussed.  In the context of the 2012 election, one thing that strikes me the most is how for Republicans lying has become standard operating procedure.  Not coincidentally the move towards out right dishonestly correlates directly with the rise of the Christianists in the GOP and the sleazy dishonest tactics rose to further prominence under Chimperator Bush and his Joseph Goebbels equivalent, Karl Rove (Rove's Crossroads ads currently plying in Virginia are among the most dishonest I've ever heard).  Now, with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, et al, the truth simply no longer matters.   Last night Joe Biden did perhaps the best job possible when faced with an amoral opponent who has lied so often that he likely believes his own lies.  Several pundits have described Biden's performance in a manner that is consistent with my reactions.  Here are a couple that sum it up. 

First this from Jubilee Blog:

Biden does a good job of interjecting himself into Ryan’s time, usually to say a quick dart like "Not true" or "Nope" and the like. Ryan isn’t doing the same — I don’t know if it’s been decided that he’ll come off as presumptuous or disrespectful. The end-result: He’s been defending himself the entire night, both his arguments and the veracity of the factual statements that are cited to support them. Joe attacks, talks, chuckles, often goes a little too far. Ryan tries to respond and turn the attack into a reckless, cynical, and desperate gambit by a flailing Administration. It works sometimes, but — perhaps I’m a blinded partisan — I can’t help but avoid concluding that Biden has come right up to the precipice of calling Ryan a "liar" without paying the price. It’s a hard thing to do, but if you can do it to your opponent, it’s devastating. 

Talking Points Memo had this:

Biden made the whole Democratic argument -- on policy and values and he hit Romney really everywhere Democrats wanted him to. He left nothing unsaid. You can agree with those points or not. But this was exceedingly important for recovering the damage from last week's debate when many Obama supporters simply felt that Obama wasn't willing or able or something to make the case Democrats around the country are hyped up to make. Why didn't you say this? Why'd you let him get away with that? Biden said it all. And for Democrats around the country that was extremely important.

And Ezra Klein in the Washington Post looks at Ryan's lie on unemployment levels:

Paul Ryan began his comments on the economy by asking Biden if he knows where unemployment is today in Scranton, PA. Ten percent, Ryan said. When Obama and Biden came in to office, Ryan continued, it was 8.5 percent. "That’s how it’s going all around America," Ryan said. That’s not actually true, The national unemployment rate is now 7.8 percent. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, unemployment was 7.8 percent. In February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office, unemployment was over eight percent. So it’s simply not the case that a 1.5 percentage point increase in unemployment is "how it’s going all around America."

Sadly, I fear that too many voters do not understand that they are faced with a Republican Party unlike anything seen previously.   Among today's Republicans - and certainly among its Christianist base - lying is perfectly acceptable.  Anything that that furthers one's political or theocratic agenda is acceptable.  The goal justifies the means.   I truly don't believe we have seen such a level of deliberate dishonesty in a long time.  What makes things all the more frightening is the fact that much of the mainstream media is afraid to challenge the GOP on its rank lies and dishonesty.   It's the same phenomenon that led to the Iraq War.

Paul Ryan's Roe v. Wade Bombshell and Why Women Need to Wake Up

There's been talk among the pundit class and elsewhere that Mitt Romney has been narrowing the gender gap in some states because of his utter lies and disingenuous statements during last week's debate and the follow up.  Particularly because of Romney's dishonesty on what he would really do with respect to abortion and the availability of contraception.  Last night, Paul Ryan exposed Romney's dishonesty on this issue for all to see.  While I am not pro-abortion, I do believe that it should be safe and rare.  Outlawing abortion completely and shutting down agencies that provide contraception and abortion counseling is not the answer.  Yet that is precisely what Romney/Ryan will seek to do either legislatively or through the appointment of Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.  It ought to be a clear wake up call to women: if you want religious extremists and angry, chauvinistic men making your most private health care decisions, vote Republican.  If not, you had best get yourself to the polls and vote Democrat.  Michelle Goldberg looks at Ryan's bombshell for women in a piece in The Daily Beast.  Here are highlights:

Abortion was discussed only briefly during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, but the exchange about it was, I think, an important moment, because it drove home the likelihood than a Republican victory in November will mean the end of Roe v. Wade.

 In the last week, as Mitt Romney has cultivated a new, more moderate image, it looked like he was having some success catching up to President Obama among female voters. Neither reproductive rights nor equal pay figured in the first presidential debate, which almost everyone agrees that Romney won. When it was over, Romney continued his lurch to the center. Contradicting everything he said in the primary, he told an Iowa newspaper that he knew of “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” While his spokeswoman walked it back, conservatives, happy that Romney finally seemed to be winning, didn’t demand any loud mea culpas. A person paying only sporadic attention to the campaign probably wouldn’t realize that Romney has pledged to work toward a wide-ranging abortion ban.

In general, Americans are ambivalent about abortion, but they don’t want to make it illegal. By speaking in religious terms, Biden was able to combine his personal opposition to abortion with a strongly pro-choice stance. In his own life, he says, he accepts Catholic doctrine. “But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others. Unlike my friend here, the congressman, I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that—women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.”

Ryan, by contrast, reminded the country that he opposes abortion in all circumstances, and that Romney intends to severely restrict it. “[I]f you believe that life begins at conception … That’s a principle,” he said. “The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.” When Raddatz asked him if abortion-rights supporters should fear a Romney administration, he sort of harrumphed, and then responded, “We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.” In other words, they want to overturn Roe.

Ryan was admirably clear about his ticket’s intentions. None of this, of course, will be news to those who have followed the campaign closely. In general, though, swing voters haven’t been. It will be interesting to see whether women start moving back away from Romney after hearing what he and Ryan have in store. 

The fundamental difference between the Democrats and the Christofascist dominated Republicans is that Republicans - including Romney and Ryan - believe they DO have the right to force their religious beliefs on everyone else.  And that mindset isn't focused solely on women.  Gays are particularly within the scope cross-hairs if one takes the time to look at the GOP party platform which was largely written by far right religious extremists.Voters need to not allow themselves to be lulled by Romney's lies and debate performances.  What he and Ryan would do in office is what really matters and to understand that plan, one need only look at the GOP platform which is the most extreme in over 50 years.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Reflections On the Vice Presidential Debate

Unfortunately, I missed the live debate tonight because a long schedule dinner with some amazing clients of the boyfriend.  Once I have viewed the debate and made my own analysis and come to some of my own decisions, I will comment further.  In the short term,  from what I've seen on various news channels, it looks like the majority believes that Joe Biden won the debate.  Here's Andrew Sullivan's closing comments:

I have to say that Biden did to Ryan what Cheney did to Edwards in style and demeanor and authority. Ryan was hampered by an insurmountable problem on the impossible mathematics of the Romney budget. I think his inability to answer that question - how do you pay for it? - has to be the driving question now. The only way to afford it is to cut middle class deductions and middle class entitlements much more than Obama-Biden would. I'd love radical tax reform - but I'm not crazy enough to believe you can actually tackle the debt by cutting taxes and increasing defense spending and leaving Medicare basically alone (no ACA-style cost-controls) and only removing deductions for the very rich. It doesn't add up. They know it. And when challenged - even by Fox News - he cannot provide the details. 

So this was a solid win for Biden, I'd say; as well as a competent performance by Ryan. The star? Raddatz - the woman the far right just tried to intimidate. She was tough on both, controlled the debate, and knew her shit cold.
As for my own view, I will note however, that if one wants a poster girl for the idiocy that now passes as leadership and logic in the GOP, look no farther than Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee who was just interviewed by MSNBC.  If this disingenuous, answer avoiding blond bimbo can be a spokesperson for the GOP, then this nation is in VERY serous trouble if the GOP regains the White House.   I'm not anti-female by any means.  I have two bright talented daughters who deserve to make their own decisions about their lives.  Ms. Blackburn is a mental midget and would hand these decisions over to chauvinistic, bigoted white men.

Romney Still Clueless: "No One Dies Because They Don't Have Insurance"

One of the biggest failings of healthcare in America is the huge number of Americans who do not receive preventive medical care.  As a result, medical treatment is not sought all too often until the situation becomes serious and as a consequence the medical costs of treatment too late are not only catastrophic but often the patient dies from the illness that might have been curable/treatable if addressed earlier.  The other consequence is that because hospitals have to treat so many uninsured patients, the costs for everyone else skyrocket and vastly exceed the cost of similar treatment in virtually every other advanced industrialized nation.  Sadly, through his latest statements it is evident that Mitt Romney - who has never in his life had to forgo medical treatment because of cost worries - does not understand the reality that most Americans face daily.  Even with decent health care insurance many still think twice about seeking preventive or early diagnostic testing because of deductibles and/or copays.  Likewise, he doesn't grasp that its the millions of uninsured who do precisely what Romney describes that cause our medical cost to be so exorbitant.  Think Progress looks at Romney's utterly out of touch  statements as he talks about repealing "Obamacare."  Here are excerpts:

Mitt Romney doubled down on his suggestion that uninsured Americans can find the care they need in emergency rooms, telling The Dispatch that people will always receive the treatment they need, and do not die or suffer because they can not pay for care. He pointed to federal law that requires hospitals to admit emergency patients, repeating his advice that patients rely on the most expensive form of care reserved strictly for emergencies. Romney told the Columbus Dispatch:
“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’  ” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.
“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
He pointed out that federal law requires hospitals to treat those without health insurance — although hospital officials frequently say that drives up health-care costs.
Emergency rooms serve as a place of last resort, but 45,000 Americans still die every year because they lack health insurance, or one every 12 minutes. Uninsured adults under age 65 are also at a 40 percent higher death risk. Hospitals may treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay, but patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference are often unable to access needed care.

Romney’s health care proposal would leave 72 million Americans without health insurance and wouldn’t provide all uninsured Americans with a stable source of insurance.
Romney is not only a shameless liar but totally out of touch with the reality that most Americans face ever day of their lives.  Those born to wealth like Romney AND Paul Ryan simply have no clue because neither they nor their families have ever had to worry about how necessary medical care will be paid for.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Encouraging News From Gallup Tracker, etc.

Many Democrats are in a funk right now over last week's poor debate performance by Barack Obama and the improvement of pathological liar Mitt Romney's numbers.  However, there are some indications that things are shifting back towards Obama as hopefully the truth sinks in with voters that Romney gave a lie filled performance last week and that he's still the same nasty man that they though he was before the fantasy land performance last week.  What those of us who oppose the backward looking, racist and discriminatory agenda of the GOP need to do is redouble our efforts and snap out of the funk.  Turn out will still make or break this election and the anti-GOP voters need to be encouraged to get to the polls rather than sit at home in a funk.  Blue Virginia is reporting the following positive news:

President Obama's still the favorite on November 6 in Nate Silver's model and elsewhere. Need more cheering up? How about the following numbers from Gallup, which just posted them at 1 pm.

*Obama has a +11 (53%-42%) net approval rating. It's VERY hard to see how a sitting president with a +11 net approval rating loses his bid for reelection a few weeks later (although I suppose anything's possible).
*Obama leads Romney by 5 points (50%-45%) among registered voters. That's a 2-point improvement from yesterday. So much for Romney's post-debate "bounce?"
*Obama and Romney are tied (48%-48%) in Gallup's likely voter model (up 2 points from yesterday). We'll see if that's accurate or not, but here's where I'm thinking the Obama "ground game," which they've invested huge resources in, should pay big dividends.
*According to Gallup, the unemployment rate has fallen again and is now at 7.3% (compared to 7.8% as of late September, according to Gallup, and also BLS). So much for unemployment being "above 8%," as lying liar Karl Rove and other right-wing SuperPACs keep FALSELY claiming on TV.
*Gallup's Job Creation Index, at +22 (up 2 points from yesterday), is close to the highest levels it's seen since early 2008, well before the collapse of Wall Street led our country into the Great Recession.
*Gallup's Economic Confidence Index (up 3 points today) is now 80 points (!!!) above where it was 4 years ago at this time.

Look at all these statistics from Gallup, and please explain to me how a sitting president with numbers like these loses his bid for reelection? I don't see it.

P.S. More good news on the polling front: Obama's up 49%-45% in Florida, an absolute must-win state for Romney.
UPDATE: Another good poll, this time of Minnesota by Public Policy Polling, shows "Barack Obama expanding his lead to 10 points over Mitt Romney at 53-43."

Today is National Coming Out Day

Unwittingly, eleven years ago almost to the day I came out to my former wife.  It was the first step on what would prove to be a long turbulent journey.  Admittedly, I was clueless at the time on many gay rights issues that I write about all the time now.  All I knew was that I could not go on living my life like some actor on a stage playing a role that wasn't the real me.   The stress of always maintaining a glass wall between myself and the world was becoming simply too much to handle.  Add to that the emotional and psychological damage done to me being raised Catholic and my foolishly believing the "pray away the gay" myth, and suicide really looked to be the only alternative to finally trying to face who I really was.  Since taking that first initial step, the intervening years have certainly seen triumphs and tragedies.  But I have accomplished one thing: a level of self-acceptance and peace with who I am that had eluded me for nearly five decades.

I know from the e-mails I receive or even from venturing into gay chat rooms, that there are still so many individuals who are not "out" and still living their lives in various levels of fear of discovery.   It is a scary place to be.  I've been there.  But coming out is not only liberating, it is also the strongest form of activism that one can undertake.  Living out and proud is a daily testament that the lies and smears told about LGBT individuals are not true.  Being out is truly the most powerful way to alter hearts and minds.   It's not always easy and, yes, it can be terrifying at times.   But it beats the hell out of staying in the closet.


Mitt Romney's Tax Mythology Made Simple

Mitt Romney's not only telling opportunistic lies about his meeting with the lat Glen Doherty.  He is also lying when he talks about his fantasy land tax plan.  Simple math demonstrates that the numbers do not add up.  Even elementary school level math proves it easily if one adds it a 20% tax cut across the board and massive increases in military spending - spending at levels even the Pentagon has not requested.  A column in the Washington Post looks at Romney's dishonest approach to tax policy - his lies, if you will - that he repeated again during last week's debate.  The fact that most in the mainstream news media are not hammering Romney on this issue is akin to the same abandonment of journalistic responsibility that got the nation in the fool's errand known as the Iraq War.  Liars need to be exposed to protect the nation's well being.  Here are some column excerpts:

I’ve said this before, but Mitt Romney’s new formulation of his tax plan — one he used at the debate, and which he repeated to Wolf Blitzer yesterday — makes it absolutely clear that he’s lying about something. You don’t need complicated Tax Policy Center analysis, or for that matter anything beyond basic logic, to see why his pledge of revenue neutrality doesn’t jibe with what he’s saying. Here’s his quote to Blitzer:
“Well, I’ve made it pretty clear that my principles are, number one, simplify the code; number two, create incentives for small businesses and large businesses to grow; number three, don’t reduce the burden on high income taxpayers; and number four, remove the burden somewhat from middle income people.”
Now, in real life, we know that Romney’s actual specific pledges would yield a big tax cut for the rich. But even if you accept this version of Romney’s plan — even if you accept that Romney would cut the wealthy’s tax rates, and then offset that by taking away loopholes and deductions the rich enjoy — the overall math of his plan simply can’t work.

For some people, Romney says he’ll keep taxes the same. For everyone else, he’ll lower them.
I’ll repeat that just to make sure everyone gets it. Some have the same taxes; some have less. I’ll even put Romney’s pledge in equation form, for those mathematically inclined:
0 + (-X) = 0, where X > 0
That simply can’t work. Romney can’t do what he says and yet keep revenues the same. At least, not unless he’s using one of those spells that Hermione bothered learning while everyone else was hanging out on the Quidditch pitch.

There’s just no excuse for reporters to ignore this glaring, central impossibility. Hey, reporters! Next time you interview Mitt Romney and he repeats this formula about lower taxes for some and the same taxes for everyone else, ask him how that goes with his pledge that he won’t increase the deficit with his tax plan.

And while you’re at it, push him on the real key question: if it turned out that his fantasy math falls short and the experts are correct, what would he give up: the big cut in rates? Tax levels for the middle class? Or revenue neutrality? It has to be one of them. Because not even Dumbledore could make Romney’s basic “principles” work.

Disingenuous Mitt: Romney to Stop Mentioning Navy SEAL After SEAL's Mother and Friend Slam Him

Proving yet again that he's a sleazy liar who will stoop to virtually anything in his quest for the White House, Mitt Romney had been mentioning a former Navy SEAL killed in the attack on the American consulate in Libya.  Or he was until the dean man's mother and a friend slammed Romney for politicizing the man's death and his shallowness at the time he actually met the former SEAL.  Glen Doherty's friend stated on Rachel Maddow's show last night that when Romney had met Doherty at a function, Romney had introduced himself four times not even remembering that he'd already introduced himself just minutes earlier.  The friend described Romney as shallow and insincere.  With Mitt, it's all about Mitt and no one else.  Doherty's mother summed it up well when she said "I don't trust Mitt Romney."  Neither do I.  The man is truly reprehensible.  The Washington Post looks at Romney's slap down by Doherty's mother.  Here are highlights: 

Mitt Romney will stop mentioning a former Navy SEAL killed in the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month in his campaign speeches, according to aides, after the man’s mother said the GOP presidential candidate should stop invoking her son’s name.

“I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda,” Barbara Doherty said in a statement broadcast Wednesday on WHDH-TV in Boston. “It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”

Barbara Doherty’s son Glen was killed last month in the consulate attack.

Think Progress reports on what Glen Doherty's friend had to say about Romney which is equally bad:

Romney’s not only telling the story against the wishes of Doherty’s family, he’s also mischaracterizing his encounter with the former SEAL. According to Glen Doherty’s longtime friend, Doherty said Romney had introduced himself four times in the span of less than 30 minutes, saying it was”pathetic” that Romney didn’t know the two had just met:
“He said it was very comical,” [Doherty friend Elf] Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.” [...]
He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
Ellefsen said it makes him “sick” that Romney is using the story out on the stump. “Glen would definitely not approve of it,” he said, adding, “He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
I suspect that most prostitutes have more integrity than Mitt Romney. I can only hope that voters open their eyes to the shallowness of this man and his rank dishonesty before November 6th.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Pat Robertson Legal Group Fires Senior Attorney for Possibly Being Gay

As a number of news outlets are reporting, Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice fired James Henderson on September 25, 2012, apparently because of Internet rumors that Henderson might be gay and having some type of relationships with younger men.  Having met Robertson - who is regarded by many in Hampton Roads as a major embarrassment to the region - and his then minion, Ralph Reed, in person several times years ago during my GOP activist days I have to laugh.  Ralph Reed set my gaydar off into the dangerous overdrive zone.  While Reed isn't as nellie as "Marcia" Bachmann, in my opinion, if the man is straight, then I'm Queen Victoria!!   But that apparently was fine with Robertson so long as Reed was helping to wage the culture wars.   The Advocate reports on this bizarre story.  Here are highlights:

A senior attorney has been fired from the conservative American Center for Law and Justice for reportedly having multiple relationships with younger men.

Metro Weekly reports that James Henderson was fired September 25, one day after two blogs, Exposed Politics and The Patriot-Ombudsman, posted reports that Henderson may be gay. The reports showed that Henderson created a Facebook account solely to communicate with at least two men he was involved with.

While it is unclear whether the men are at the age of consent or old enough to consume alcohol, it appears that Henderson provided them with alcohol and marijuana. One of the reports alleges that one of the men was 17 when he began communicating with Henderson in 2010.
Henderson is married with eight children.

The American Center for Law and Justice was founded in 1990 by Pat Robertson as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union. Representatives of the organization confirmed to Metro Weekly that Henderson had been fired but would not make any further comments. His attorney, Christopher Zampogna, told Metro Weekly that he would not comment on Henderson's termination, but also confirmed that he was fired.

Henderson previously taught undergraduate religious studies at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., also founded by Pat Robertson.

How Does Obama Expose Romney's Lies? blistering than Bill Clinton today comes Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Shows the Path

How do you take down a flip flopping liar like Mitt Romney?   In my view, the way to do it is to challenge them on their current lies/story line and contrast it with their previous statements which are utterly in consistent with whatever self-serving bullshit they are peddling at the moment.  Sadly, last week Barack Obama failed to take down Romney.   Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (shown in the video clip above) demonstrated how it is done when she engaged in brutal take-down of a conservative political opponent.  How did she do it?  She simply compared the supposed current position of the opposition leader with direct quotes from his past statements.  Would that Obama had done the same last week when Romney lied 27 times in 38 minutes.  Here's Andrew Sullivan explains what Obama could learn from Gillard:  

Obama has trained his whole life not to be angry, so as to deflect and foil the raw racism of Hannity et al. But Gillard keeps her cool in tone while the rhetoric is brutal. Biden and Obama need to calmly but relentlessly tear into the inconsistencies, lies and cynicism behind Romney-Ryan. Expose the abortion reversal; expose the Medicare reversal; expose the pre-existing conditions lie; demand to see the math behind Romney's ludicrous budgetary plan, and if he won't provide it (because it's impossible), call him out as the principle-free, chameleon salesman he is.

Obama let Romney shape-shift without rebuttal. Never again. The idea that the same policies that brought this country to its knees by 2009 should be put on steroids for the next four years should provoke outrage, not gentle disagreement. The fact that we cannot even know if Romney would actually do any of it because he is such a shameless liar and shape-shifter should also provoke amazement and incredulity, not good manners. Bill Clinton exposed the empty center of Romney with a wide knowing grin. But however he decides to do it, Obama needs to Gillard Romney in the next debate. To his face.
 As I have noted a number of times: Mitt Romney is amoral and will say and do anything to further his personal goals.  Truth and honesty are nowhere on Romney's radar screen.  Chimperator George Bush and Emperor Palpatine Chaney took the nation to war in Iraq based on lies.  Sadly, Romney makes Bush and Cheney look like the height of honesty.  When the Hell are American voters going to wake up?

Quote of the Day: Bill Clinton on Romney's Lie Filled Debate Performance

I have not endeavored to hide my view that Mitt Romney lied through his teeth during last week's presidential debate. The man will say and do anything to win - probably even sell Ann Romney into prostitution if it would guarantee that he secured 50.1% of the vote on election day. Apparently, former president Bill Clinton likewise views Mr. Romney as a lying piece of shit and took some shots at the ever flip flopping, chameleon like Romney. Here are some highlights of Clinton's comments via Towleroad

Said Clinton:

I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did. I mean, I thought, “Wow! Here’s old Moderate Mitt. Where you been, boy, I missed you all these last two years!” But I was paying attention these past two years. And it was like one of these Bain Capital deals where, you know, he’s the closer. So he shows up, doesn’t really know much about the deal and says, “tell me what I’m supposed to say to close.”

Now the problem with this deal is, the deal was made by Severe Conservative Mitt. That was how he described himself for two whole years. Until three or four days before the debate they all got together and said, “hey Mitt, this ship is sinkin’ faster than the Titanic…but people are still frustrated about the economy, they want it fixed yesterday, so just show up with a sunny face and say I didn’t say all that stuff I said for the last two years. I don’t have that tax plan I’ve had for the last two years, you gonna believe me or your lyin’ eyes here? Come on. What are you doin’?” And if I’d been the President, I might have said, “well, I hate to get in the way of this, I missed you.” 

Here's the video clip. Clinton's delivery makes the comments quoted above even more cutting:

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Mitt Romney's Trade Policy Claims Versus Bain Capital's Practices

One of the things that Mitt Romney claims that he would do is "get tough on China" should he win election.  The sound bite plays well with the Christofascist/Tea Party element in the GOP.  The problem is that the claim isn't even consistent with what Romney's former buddies at Bain Capital are doing as they help ship American jobs to China.  The New York  Times looks at example where automotive manufacturing jobs have been and/or are soon to be outsourced to China.  As seems to always be the case, Romney says one thing yet reality is something very different.  Here are some story excerpts:

The tale of Asimco Technologies, an auto parts manufacturer whose plants dot eastern China, would seem to underscore Mitt Romney’s campaign-trail complaint that China’s manufacturing juggernaut is costing America jobs.
Nine years ago, the company bought two camshaft factories that employed about 500 people in Michigan. By 2007 both were shut down. Now Asimco manufactures the same components in China on government-donated land in a coastal region that China has designated an export base, where companies are eligible for the sort of subsidies Mr. Romney says create an unfair trade imbalance. 

But there is a twist to the Asimco story that would not fit neatly into a Romney stump speech: Since 2010, it has been owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mr. Romney, who has as much as $2.25 million invested in three Bain funds with large stakes in Asimco and at least seven other Chinese businesses, according to his 2012 candidate financial disclosure and other documents. 

As a candidate, Mr. Romney uses China as a punching bag. He accuses Beijing of unfairly subsidizing Chinese exports, artificially holding down the value of its currency to keep exports cheap, stealing American technology and hacking into corporate and government computers.  . . . . .  But his private equity dealings, both while he headed Bain and since, complicate that message. 

Among the companies in which the Bain funds have invested is a global auto parts maker that is in the process of closing a factory in Illinois and moving most of the equipment and jobs to Jiangsu Province, where the Chinese government has built it a new plant; a Chinese electronics retailer accused by Microsoft of selling computers with pirated software; and a Hong Kong-based Chinese appliance maker that was sued for copying another company’s design for a deep-fat fryer. 

Mr. Romney continues to have money in Bain funds with sizable holdings in China. He has as much as $250,000 in the Bain Capital Asia Fund and as much as $1 million each in Bain Capital Funds IX and X, all Cayman Islands entities used by Bain to make sizable investments in China . . . . 

Bain’s interest in China dates to when Mr. Romney ran the firm. During a panel discussion at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston in February 1998, he told of touring an appliance factory in China where 5,000 employees “were working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour.” 

Mr. Romney also has millions invested in a series of Bain funds that have a controlling stake in Sensata Technologies . . . . Two years ago, Sensata bought an operation that made automobile sensors in Freeport, Ill. At the first meeting with the plant’s 170 workers, Sensata managers announced that by the end of 2012 all the equipment and jobs would be relocated, mostly to Jiangsu Province. 

There is more to the article, but the foregoing paints a clear picture: Romney says one thing on the campaign trail, but his own investment strategy and that of his former Bain compatriots tells a very different story.  Is Romney a liar?  Draw your own conclusions.  I've drawn my own: Romney is a pathological liar and money is his only real god.