Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A defective man leading with his chin

I'll say this for Mitt Romney: after the first debate in which, like Clint Eastwood, he debated an empty chair, Mitt has been going out of his way to get clipped. In the second debate he exhibited his first case of Romnesia when he claimed that Obama hadn't mentioned terrorism in remarks made after the assassination of our ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi. Then, to end that debate, he stuck out his chin again by saying he'd be president of 100% of Americans, thus enabling Obama to clip him with the "47%" rap as the last word.

Last night was even worse for the Mittster. He delivered up this utterly stupid comparison of our current Navy with that of 1916:

MR. ROMNEY: Our Navy is older — excuse me — our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917.

Did he think that this line, which he has been using for weeks, would catch Obama unaware? What could he have been thinking? He got clipped again very neatly by a line that I'm sure the President must have wished many times in his dreams he could have been set up for so neatly:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

One other moment also comes to mind. Romney chided the president:

MR. ROMNEY: Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to — to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to — to Turkey and Iraq. And — and by way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  ... when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors, I didn’t attend fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the — the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the — the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. 

And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of — of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles. 

(All quotes from the offical transcript of the debate.)

This would have been even better if Obama could have reminded the viewers that the "donors" Romney took to Israel consisted mainly of the infamous Sheldon Adelson,  the casino magnate who has given millions to the Republicans. A Romney victory is about all that stands between Adelson  and prison -- for using his casinos in a money-laundering operation. I suspect that Romney was too busy baptizing dead Jews to take in the significance of visiting Yad Vashem. "And by the way", I think some of the residents of Florida may also know something about this. We'll see.

Mitt Romney once again shows that he is a defective human being.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More of Romney's entitlements

In my blog "A Defective Human Being" (Sept 24, 2012) I pointed out that Mitt Romney's past history shows him to be a bully and snob -- a person whose anti-social behavior stems from a strong sense of entitlement based on his wealth and social status. The family financial cushion that sent him to elite schools also helped him get started in business; he parlayed aggressive Mormon proselytizing overseas into a military deferment during the Vietnam War; he took every advantage of financial dodges and tax loopholes to amass a fortune, much of which is hidden overseas. Throughout all, his attitude has been one of entitlement and disdain for others less fortunate or less rapacious.

It is no surprise, then, to see his character so clearly on display at last night's Presidential Debate. Rules of decorum that were agreed upon by both sides apparently don't seem to apply to Mr. Romney: if he wanted to get the last word and it wasn't his turn, why he simply just started to speak -- even over the objections of the moderator.  While both he and Obama went over their allotted time on several occasions, he did so more often, more arrogantly, and with more obvious a sense of entitlement. On several occasions this included simply speaking over the moderator as if she didn't matter or even exist.  Play it over and you'll see.

When asked what would happen if somehow his "numbers don't add up" (which is what non-voodoo economists have shown numerically to be the case), here is what he said:

"Well, of course they add up. I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the — the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years" 

Well, it's not "of course." Romney is used to bullying other, weaker companies and not being second-guessed by anyone -- he had no stockholders at Bain to get in his way or question him. In Massachusetts, he had to balance the budget: it's required by law. As a one term governor, who was already prepping for national politics before his term expired, he was not responsible in any way for Massachusetts' excellent educational record. In fact, he cut state aid to cities and towns for their schools, police and fire departments, and raised fees for state community colleges and universities and other citizen services.

In point of fact: The numbers don't add up. Even if all tax deductions are eliminated, that would only pay for less than 10% of the deficits that his tax cuts -- on top of the Bush tax cuts he vows to retain -- and his proposed increase in military spending would rack up. So what's the "of course" all about? The "of course" means "I'm Mitt Romney, I'm entitled to your belief in me,  and that's all the proof you need." Actually, it's all the proof we've gotten or will get from him or his party.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scott Brown and Republicans lie again

Here is the definitive word, from factcheck.org, on Elizabeth Warrens work for victims of asbestos poisoning:

Warren’s Role in Asbestos Case

Posted on October 15, 2012
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren are accusing each other of “not telling the truth.” Brown says Warren worked to “restrict payments” to asbestos victims, while Warren says she worked to “get more money” for them. We find Warren is correct; Brown’s ad is a distortion.
It may seem counter-intuitive that Warren’s work on behalf of an insurance company that covered an asbestos manufacturer could be work on the same side as the victims of the case. But Warren was brought in as a bankruptcy expert on a case before the Supreme Court to secure a $500 million trust to pay asbestos victims. As part of a settlement that Warren worked to preserve, the insurance company sought immunity from lawsuits in exchange for releasing the $500 million trust. Attorneys for most of the asbestos victims supported Warren’s efforts.
Here are the two narratives portrayed by the competing campaigns.

Brown’s Version
In recent TV and radio ads, the Brown campaign begins with a narrator saying, “Elizabeth Warren’s not telling the truth about her career.” It then cuts to a clip of Warren saying, “I’ve been out there working for people who have been injured by big corporations.”
The narrator then says, “But the [Boston] Globe says Elizabeth Warren was a key lawyer in an asbestos case working for a big corporation. Warren helped Travelers Insurance restrict payments to victims of asbestos poisoning. The results were disastrous for the victims. The insurance company saved millions. And Elizabeth Warren got paid 40 times what they paid victims. Elizabeth Warren’s just not who she says she is.”
Brown echoed those comments during a debate on Sept. 20, saying, “You chose to side with one of the biggest corporations in the United States: Travelers Insurance. When you worked to prohibit people who got asbestos poisoning, and I hope all the asbestos union workers are watching right now. She denied, she helped Travelers deny those benefits for asbestos poisoning, made over $250,000 in an effort to protect big corporations. There is only one person in this debate, right now, Jon, who is protecting corporations. She has a history of it.”
“It’s just not true,” Warren said at the debate. ”The facts speak for themselves.”

Warren’s Version
Although she didn’t elaborate during the debate, Warren’s camp later fired back with two ads featuring family members of victims of mesothelioma who describe Warren as a champion of their cause.
“I’ve been a widow since 1990 when my husband, Sam, died of mesothelioma,” says Ginny Jackson. “He was exposed to asbestos when he worked at the Quincy shipyard. It’s a terrible, terrible way to die. Elizabeth Warren went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to get more money for asbestos victims and families. Now Scott Brown is attacking Elizabeth Warren about her work. Scott Brown is not telling the truth. He’s trying to use our suffering to help himself. He outta be ashamed.”
Warren’s version of the case has been publicly backed by several attorneys representing the asbestos victims, as well as leaders of an asbestos workers’ union.
“He’s flat out misrepresenting the facts,” Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local No. 6 told the Boston Globe. “It’s offensive to all these people who’ve lost lives” to asbestos-­related illness, he said.

Warren’s Work
At the heart of this issue is an ongoing asbestos case involving the nation’s largest asbestos manufacturer, Johns-Manville Corp. The company ended up in bankruptcy, leaving some victims, who did not develop symptoms until more than a decade after others, seeking compensation from an ever-shrinking victims fund. By the time Warren entered the case in 2008, more than $3.2 billion had been paid out to over 600,000 claimants.

Warren was brought into the case by Travelers Insurance, one of the insurers of Johns-Manville. Specifically, Warren worked on the case Travelers v. Baily to preserve a $500 million trust from which current and future victims would be paid — part of a settlement agreement previously reached between lawyers for Travelers and the victims.

According to Warren’s financial disclosure forms, Warren was hired by Travelers in April 2008 and did work for the company through September 2010. By that time, Travelers and the asbestos victims were working together on a common goal: to preserve the $500 million trust both sides had agreed to. Another insurance company, Chubb, was contesting the settlement agreement, and Warren ended up making her one and only appearance before the Supreme Court arguing on behalf of Travelers to uphold the trust. As part of the deal, Travelers would be permanently immune from future asbestos-related lawsuits concerning Johns-Manville. Warren’s argument prevailed. According to the Globe, Warren was paid $212,000 over three years by Travelers.

So it’s true, as the Brown ad says, that a Boston Globe headline on May 1 described Warren as playing a “key role in an asbestos court case.” But the subhead of the story  — “Worked for insurer on fund for victims” — belies the ad’s claim about her opposing the interest of the victims.
Specifically, the ad leaves out this pivotal paragraph from the same Globe story:
Boston Globe, May 1: Travelers won most of what it wanted from the Supreme Court, and in doing so Warren helped preserve an element of bankruptcy law that ensured that victims of large-scale corporate malfeasance would have a better chance of getting compensated, even when the responsible companies go bankrupt.
Unfortunately for the asbestos victims, the Supreme Court’s decision wasn’t the final word on this case. After Warren left the case, it took a “disastrous” turn for the victims when a lower court issued a ruling on Feb. 29, 2012, that, as the Globe reported, took Travelers “off the hook for paying out the $500 million settlement.”

The Globe noted that according to one judge who tried to preserve the settlement, Travelers received “something for nothing” — immunity from future lawsuits without having to pay out the $500 million trust.

Warren has said she believes the lower court erred. The ruling is still under appeal.

Bruce Carter, an Ohio attorney whose firm has worked on behalf of over 19,000 claimants in the case, told us Brown has simply mischaracterized Warren’s role. The idea that Warren was working against the interests of the victims, he said, is ”not true.”

“During the period she worked with Travelers, the claimants (the victims) and Travelers were working together to do what was necessary to get these funds approved and established,” Carter said. “We were all working together for the benefit of the victims. We were working together toward a common goal.”

The trust established through a settlement with Travelers avoided further legal wrangling that “could have taken many, many more years, if ever, to succeed,” Carter said. In other words, he said, the trust provided a mechanism for victims to actually get paid.

In an interview with the Globe in May, Warren said, “The issue I was focused on like a laser was the constitutionality of preserving the trust, because the trust is a critical tool for making sure that people who’ve been hurt have a fair shot at compensation. Without it, millions of people who’ve already been injured will get nothing, and millions more in the future will get nothing.”

How close was the relationship between Travelers and victims? Before the Supreme Court, the attorneys representing the victims gave Travelers’ attorneys their time so they could provide a more complete argument in favor of the settlement agreement, Carter said.

“That tells you, we worked together toward a common goal,” Carter said. “We gave them our time to argue to the panel.” It was only after Warren left the case, he said, that Travelers “tried to back out of the deal and try to get something for nothing.” Another lawyer representing victims in the case, Edwin L. Wallace with the law firm Thornton & Naumes in Boston, echoed Carter’s assessment.
“She was working for the victims,” Wallace said. “In order to pay the victims, we needed a settlement trust,” said Wallace, who has contributed to Warren’s campaign. “She represented Travelers for that argument.”

Warren’s work for Travelers was over by the time a lower court ruled that Travelers would not have to pay the $500 million trust. So no one — including Ginny Jackson, the woman featured in the Warren ad — has been paid yet.

Carter and Wallace both said that — contrary to what the Brown campaign is now saying — neither they nor Warren could have foreseen the lower court ruling that let Travelers off the hook for the $500 million trust.

And Wallace is confident that ruling will be overturned. “They will get paid,” Wallace predicted.

– Robert Farley

Monday, October 15, 2012

Careful what you wish for

The Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well in the Middle East. Arms that we send to supposed "allies" more often than not end up in the hands of future enemies -- who may very well be the same people. This was apparent when we armed the Mujahedin in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, only to have the weapons turned on us when the "freedom fighters" were reborn as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden. It happened again when we backed the Shah in Iran who was deposed by the Ayatollahs; they turned the Shah's weapons to face us (and Israel). At the same time, we were arming Saddam to fight the Iranians, and a lot of the military support we gave him became the Improvised Explosive Devices and small arms that murdered and maimed American troops there.

Now, to make an election issue, Romney and company think we should be doing more for the Syrian rebels. They don't specify exactly what, but the implication is military aid and not water purification tablets. Never mind that these people, should they depose Assad, may very well share their weapons with Jihadists, who seem to be everywhere. You can find more about this HERE and HERE.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The VP debate: Part II (Libya)

I think this issue of the American Consulate debacle in Libya, which figured in last Thursday's VP debate, will be an important one in the remainder of the campaign. Congress is already roiled in investigations of the issue.

Surely there was a failure of the intelligence community -- once again! -- on this one. The consequences were not as great as on 9/11 of course, but grim nevertheless. Even worse was the failure of Obama -- once again! -- to take a situation seriously. A furrowed brow and a very "thoughtful" response was not enough.

Joe Biden tried to make things look better in the debate by saying that Congress had cut a lot of money requested for security. I think he mentioned $300 million but that figure didn't appear in the transcript I read, since I think it was an "interruption". Rep. Darryl Issa (R, CA), appearing on Bill Maher's RealTime show (broadcast the next day), claims that the cuts from the request were bipartisan, with essentially the same number of Dems voting for them as Republicans. Also, it seems that the request for additional security was for the Embassy in Tripoli, not for the Consulate in Benghazi.

Of course, we know that all of Congress has been lead around by the nose by the GOP budget-cutters; the State Department appropriations are pretty easy targets. (The Republicans look down of the State Department as sort of effete internationalist do-gooders, not real fighters like the Defense folks.) Nevertheless, Obama has to defuse this issue since Romney & Co. are making competence a big issue in the campaign, and saying that the administration was at the mercy of the intelligence community does not seem all that competent. When Romney says "We can do better" that is probably exactly true, since basically a failure, no matter how explicable, is always worse than doing better. Whether Romney can, in fact, do better remains to be seen -- a hopeful claim is verbally hard to dismiss.

Since Romney will undoubtedly launch some attack on this issue in the next debate (and certainly in the final one devoted to foreign policy),  Obama will have to come up with something about the Libyan attack that will be plausible and, even more important, that will sound telling and convincing. I'm not sure that is possible. The intelligence community is pretty much independent and self-sustaining. If, in fact, it did not see Al-Qaeda as threatening in Libya, and did not immediately see that the actual attacks were planned by terrorists, that is their failure; however, it will be hard, in a public debate, for Obama to cast that blame without sharing in it. Nuances and legalisms don't go over well on TV; if he claims to be dependent on his intelligence briefings, that can be seen as a weakness and lack of executive strength and acumen -- something that many people, rightly or wrongly, see as Romney strengths.

Perhaps Obama can explain the inherent danger of a diplomatic posting in an unstable country such as Libya. Perhaps he can quote the many diplomats who say that they don't like to conduct their business from within a "fortress mentality", where anything they do, or any place they go, can be nixed by the security detail. Perhaps he can add up the number of troops or private contractors that would be needed to secure all of our 200 plus embassies and consulates, and pull up some quotes from Republicans about the need to spend more on tanks and aircraft carriers than on diplomacy. Whatever, he must come up with something before the debate or he will -- once again! -- pay dearly for his lapse.

Oh, one last thing. Bill Maher had a great quip about the first Presidential Debate: "Liberals were freaking out.. borderline suicidal -- which is tough on them: when you lock yourself in the garage with the Prius running -- nothing happens!"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Romney, Bain and China

This is a quote from an article that appeared in the New York Times several days ago:

"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."

I pretty sure, in addition, that Bain has taken over companies and then shipped their jobs to China (among other places). I may have mentioned it in a previous blog, but I am too lazy to look it up now.

Typo fixed

Ryan quote on faith got cut and pasted badly in yesterday's blog; it's now fixed. More later.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The VP debate: part I

1. Abortion

During the Vice-Presidential debate on Thursday, the candidates were asked about how their religious beliefs affected their views on abortion (both Biden and Ryan are Catholics). Ryan said the following:

REP. RYAN: I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.

 This is exactly the opposite of what John F. Kennedy said in response to the same question. Biden, like Kennedy, said that he wouldn't impose his religious views on other Americans.

Ryan also went on to say: The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

While such an administration most-likely couldn't pass any sweeping anti-abortion laws, it is likely that it would have at least one Supreme Court nomination during its first term. Since Roe v. Wade is hanging by a one vote thread in the Court, this would almost guarantee its overturn.

Incidentally, Ryan has always opposed abortions in all cases -- even for rape and incest (I'm not about saving the life of the mother). Among most anti-abortion people, this is a radical position -- so much so that, at least for the moment, Ryan is suppressing his true feeling on the issue in order not to damage the ticket. Ryan, following official Catholic doctrine, also opposes contraception, a position he also dares not air too publicly. Since, as he says, he can't separate his faith from politics, we can assume that he will actively work to limit the availability of contraception.

But he is such a cute fellow, isn't he? Kind of elfish...

Of course, Ryan's adherence to Church teachings doesn't extend to other facets of morality. As I pointed our previously,  the Ryan budget, which is the official document of the Republican Party on matters economic, is so grossly anti-poor that even the quite conservative Conference of Catholic Bishops declared it immoral. Like so many abortion ayatollahs, Ryan believes that life begins at conception and ends at birth (in the words of Barney Frank).

2. The Romney Tax Plan

Both Romney and Ryan claim that their tax plan, which includes re-upping  the Bush Tax Cuts when they expire, as well as elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, elimination of the Inheritance or Estate Tax, and "across the board" 20% cuts in income-tax rates, would not lead to deficits. The Democrats have claimed that, on the contrary, they would produce, on face value, a $5 trillion dollar deficit over 5 years. Part of this discrepancy results from a poor agreement on what each side is talking about. The Democratic figure is taking the budget cuts alone, while the Republicans claim that they will counter them with closing of various loopholes, eliminating certain deductions, and, of course, spending cuts. The Democrats -- and most economists -- claim that these countermeasures would at most partially offset the cuts, and that severe deficits would still result. The Republicans claim 6 (count them: six) studies show otherwise. Some of these so-called "studies" have been debunked as simply blogs and not real studies. You can read a summary of the Six Studies debunking in a recent article by Josh Barro in Bloomberg News. (Barro is himself a blogger and not an economist, but he does summarize the debunking material pretty well. I'm waiting for Paul Krugman to take up the Six Studies.) Pretty much every defense of Romney's plan, however, makes the assumption that these lower taxes will so stimulate the economy that deficits will vanish like fairy dust. Of course, the Bush Tax Cuts and the rest of conservative dogma led to a very weak recovery in 2003, and, to put it mildly, didn't do so well when the economy went south in 2008...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maureen Dowd in today's Times

While it's still online, check out Maureen Dowd's column in today's NY Times.

I believe there is a lot of truth in what she says, though it's always dangerous to play shrink (even if you are a shrink!).  Humans are really pretty complicated. Anyway,  see what you think.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Romney's deficit plan

I was going to suggest that if Romney claims, again, that his budget won't result in a 10 year additional deficit of $ 5 trillion, that Obama might begin a reply like this:

(The President takes the "T" for "Time Out" sign with his hands):

Wait just a second. We should be able to do the math here, and I for one am not afraid of numbers. (He pulls out a calculator from his pocket) In this case, it's not rocket science, so here goes. The total amount of income taxes Americans pay is (quotes the figure). Mr. Romney wants to cut taxes by 20% ...

However, I started to look at the financial analysis from the Tax Policy Center I realized that the math was not a simple as I had hoped. If one simply looks at the amount paid by Americans in Federal income tax last year -- about $1.1 trillion -- and cut that by 20% and multiply by 10 (for ten years) you don't get $5 trillion -- only somewhat half of that. But that's not the whole story. First of all, Romney's plan includes continuation of the Bush Tax Cuts, will will soon expire. There is little chance that they will be renewed in toto since the Dems won't agree nor will Obama if he is still President. So, the $1.1 trillion in income tax revenue will be a much higher figure to reduce by 20%. But the Romney budget has lots of other cuts -- to inheritance taxes and to certain charges on the health plans for high income people under ObamaCare. Also, there's the Alternative Minimum Tax on millionaires which Romney's plan would eliminate. There's lots more technical stuff as well. If you click on the link above you can read it yourself. The upshot is that, although the $5 trillion seems correct, it's not easily demonstrable.

So, whipping out a calculator won't really work. Nevertheless, nearly all sources I've read agree with the results of the TPC analysis. Even the Cato Institute can only dispute the TPC analysis by complaining that it doesn't take into account the boom in the economy (hence in tax collections) that they claim will result from more tax cuts. Of course, this is not fair for two reasons: (a) the TPC is just analyzing the cost on paper of the cuts because (b) neither it nor the Cato Institute can predict the future. Yes, certain tax reductions can stimulate the economy -- that's what some of Keynesian theory can be applied to -- but that isn't always the case. In fact, the Bush Tax Cuts, in conjunction with a lot of other bad policy, led to busting not booming the economy, and to one of the slowest and briefest recoveries from a recession ever; it also converted a Clinton tax surplus into years of terrible deficits.

Friday, October 5, 2012

To win a debate

Even Attila the Hun could win a debate if he were allowed to make up things that go unchallenged by either the opponent or by the moderator.

Even the Romney campaign was forced to admit that there is no meaningful protection for people with "pre-existing" conditions in his healthcare plan.

He also told a bald lie that "half" of the green companies helped by Obama's stimulus package had gone bankrupt. Not only was this is a gross exaggeration -- the figure was less than 1/4 of that -- but the plan, passed by Congress, had a reserve fund built in that more than covers the firms that have experienced bankruptcy (e.g. Solyndra) or severe financial difficulties. Of course it was too bad that Obama didn't challenge this, but the facts remain.

Claims about job losses were equally false. When Obama took office we were losing over 800,000 jobs per month. In the last 30 months we've be adding tens of thousand of jobs each month, for a total of over 4 million.

When the Romney campaign said: "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers" I guess they meant it. I hope that the Democratic publicity machine can effectively set the record straight.

With due respect to Attila, even I could win a debate if I were allowed to make up things that go unchallenged by either my opponent or by the moderator.

In my next blog I will present my daydream of an Obama response to a Romney claim about taxes...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's tax cuts all the way down

Here's a point that is rarely mentioned: Republicans keep talking about cutting federal spending and moving costs and control to the states. However, they are also campaigning in the states to cut state spending. For example, here in Massachusetts they were saying for years -- at least before the current economic disaster -- that the state had a surplus and that we therefore had to cut the income tax. They even managed to do it. When Romney was governor, state aid to cities and towns (for education, hospitals, snow removal etc.) was cut very drastically (25% - 30% as I recall), while fees and surcharges for education and class sizes soared. Of course, there was no surplus, simply a lack of interest in fixing  bridges, tunnels, and school systems in disrepair -- the very parts of a decaying infrastructure that now haunt us.

So this "leave it to the states" is HUMBUG -- a word I'd like to see a straight-talking Obama use more often. The Party for The Rich (PTR, formerly GOP) wants to cut government at all levels, and leave the grindstones of Social Darwinism to eliminate the poorer or weaker of our brothers and sisters. Is that the kind of country we want?

Oh, one other thing. Telling current retirees that the evisceration of Medicare should not worry them, since it will only be applied to their children and grandchildren is, when you think about it, not a very nice appeal to the "better angels of our nature". Let's hope our seniors have more generosity in their hearts than to buy that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Once again, Obama disappoints

Has he learned nothing?

He was boring, repetitive, and unresponsive. Romney made point after point that Obama left unchallenged, or answered with generalities and platitudes. He never answered statements about transferring money out of Medicare; he never pointed out that leaving medical care to the private sector and competition has up to this point resulted in astronomical increases in expenses and a healthcare system that is twice as expensive with poorer results than every system in every developed country.

Obama never explained why Romney's tax plan benefits the rich, but left unchallenged Romney's assertion that he would not cut taxes for the wealthy. Obama claimed that Romney favored a $5 trillion dollar tax cut, but was unable to answer Romney denial or explain how where the $5 trillion figure came from. In fact, he fell back on a very weak "the arithmetic doesn't add up" -- a pale reflection of Bill Clinton's rhetoric.

Never once did Obama mention the obstructionism and radical nature of the Republican party in both houses. It was the Republicans who scuttled any sort of compromise on the debt ceiling, yet Obama refused to pin it on them. He seemed hardly ever to mention Republicans.

Obama never challenged Romney's assertion that Dodd-Frank created a class of banks too big to fail.

Obama let Romney repeat, over and over again, all sorts of things that he should have been able to refute.

I would have to say that Romney wiped the floor with the President, and with no evident "zingers" needed.

I hope that Obama can recoup his losses in future debates, but once again he has proved a disappointment, and a tiresome one at that.