Friday, August 31, 2012

Eastwood & Romney: Empty Chair, Empty Suit

Clint Eastwood was the perfect choice for the key spot just before Mitt Romney's acceptance speech.

Clint Eastwood IS the GOP!  Old, white and out of its mind!

For Romney's part, he did not drool on his tie.  He did not make a fool of himself during his acceptance speech. (For a change.)  He was a not-very-appealing suitor pleading for us to give him his hearts and break off with the guy we love.

He was actually rather pathetic.  Even his facial expression was pathetic.  The half-smile, the pleading eyes.  He was trying to be humble and show need of our love.

His mating call was "America".  He said "America" and "American" far more than any other words.  Like we don't know where we are or who we are?

I got very bored with his speech.  And nauseated with all that squishy stuff about parents and children and "community".  For heaven's sake! Romney and his ilk live in GATED communities.  And I really don't care about the struggles of his ancestors and those of the endless parade of his fellow Republicans who reeked of wealth and privilege.  We all had struggling ancestors, especially the Native Americans who have been helped more by Obama than by all prior presidents put together.  More to the point, the GOP is clearly anti-immigrant and doesn't want anyone else to have ancestors who came here and struggled.

I care about the struggles, not of someone's ancestors, but of today's families, the students, the elderly, the sick.  The housekeeping crews who cleaned the rooms of the GOP conventioneers.  The migrant workers who picked the fruit they ate.  The elderly who lost their retirement money in the Republican Crash of 2008.  The 55-year-old man and the 48-year-old woman who will never get a job again because the Romney-Bush economic policies just don't work and the GOP has blocked Obama's job creation efforts.

As for Romney as a suitor?  Forget it! I had a lot of boy friends and a lot of marriage proposals.  The great love of my life was the one I chose second time around.  I said "yes" because I knew I could trust him.  Trust his judgment.  Trust his loyalty.  Trust his goodness of heart and his intelligence.  And he was funny and had a great singing voice.  (Remind you of somebody else, whose initials are Barack Obama?)  He wasn't a big-time "success" but he was a success as a person.  He was a grown-up.  A man for all seasons.

Romney is still a boy.  In a primary debate, he cried out for Anderson Cooper to come to his rescue.  He leans on Princess Ann, exploiting her MS to get votes.  He gets petulant when interviewers question him.  He brags about his wealth.  He gratuitously insults people who bake him cookies or can't afford the "right" kind of rain coats.  He tells lies.  He wants to run out and start some more wars to show what tough stuff he is.

Romney's a kid.

Above all else this matters.  Just picture Mitt Romney being president instead of JFK at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.  JFK defied all his military advisers and his Cabinet and played it cool.  Thus avoiding a cataclysm.  We want a grown-up in the White House!

Romney is a spoiled kid.  That's the "real" Romney.  What you see is what you get.  Words well-delivered can't mask the reality.  John McCain was too old to be president.  Mitt Romney isn't old enough.

Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair.  Romney is an empty suit.  Clint Eastwood is 82 years old.
There is no excuse for Romney.
And, Mitt, there's no excuse for you not handing over the tax returns!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ann Romney, the Snob

Did you notice that it was principally male commentators who fell down at Ann Romney's feet in praise of her convention speech?

Not the women.  Even Peggy Noonan, one-time writer for Reagan and a staunch Republican columnist for the Wall Street Journal, was not impressed with Ann Romney's speech:  "She missed an opportunity."

No, Ann Romney didn't miss an opportunity.  You can't make a silk purse out of sow's ear.  She can't make her husband likable because he isn't.  He's the guy you avoid at parties.  

And  -  for women  -  Ann is too.  She's a snob.  She sees the rest of us  -  the unwashed, unmonied herd  -  as beneath her.  We women know this and not just from her having used phrases like "you people".

She's got That Look.  It flickers in her eyes and at the corners of her mouth.  It's a barely hidden disdain waiting to leap out and dismiss you.  It's the nostrils waiting to flare.  The eyes ready to glare.  The ever-ready cold snub.

Women notice these things about faces and demeanor far more than men do, so studies tell us.  Supposedly we women had to become good at this perception stuff because we were the "weaker sex" and had to read bad guys from good guys or get dragged off by our hair. Apparently we also learned how to read each other. This is a skill appropriate to the women-working-together pattern we supposedly follow in getting things done, as opposed to the male pattern of "play your own position" team work.


We can all pick up on the Ann Romney who doesn't want us working in HER group.  She's a PRINCESS, not one of us "people".  All the entitlement of her $20 million-a-year income floats around her like a shield.  She's so immersed in entitlement that she dared say out loud some months ago that "it's Mitt's turn to be the candidate."  So much for democracy.

Does it matter?  That she's a snob?


Because whither she cometh from, so does her husband.  These are a pair of real meanies, not to be trusted to take care of our poor and elderly and sick.  They give a relatively small part of their income to their church.  When you have $20 million a year in income to throw around, tossing one-tenth to the great unwashed isn't much.  Awash in wealth, the Romneys hardly miss that $2 million.

Also, they hardly miss it because it isn't really their money.  It's money they took from the working folks like YOU who had to pay more federal income taxes to make up for the Romneys slithering their way through tax loopholes only the rich can use.  Without the loopholes, they should have had a $6 million tax liability, not the 13% they paid. The tithing their Mormon church requires would be $2 million. Of course they didn't give away the additional $2 million that they had saved in taxes. They kept it. They took it from you, and they kept it.  And I'll bet they didn't even send you a thank you card.

Oh, and by the way:  Ann Romney forgot to mention in her convention speech that during their supposedly money-pinched, tuna-casserole years of Mitt's schooling they were living off a $328,000 hand-out from Mitt's daddy. In today's dollars that's nearly a million buckaroos.

Poor Mittsy and Annikans!  Boo-hoo?

Naw! Just say "Hooey!"


Stop being flinty with us about the tax returns, Mrs. Romney.  We want to see them, princess or not.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good News! The Bounce That Counts

In spite of Hurricane Isaac, the GOP convention in Florida may produce a bounce for Romney/Ryan in the national polls for a short while after the convention.  Forget it!

The bounce that counts is the one that just happened in Florida for Obama.  In spite of the GOP doing Florida the dubious honor of holding its convention there, Florida has just moved into Obama's camp.  The excellent poll-analysis site,, is now showing Obama at 50% in Florida to Romney's 46%.  Two significant things:  First, this is the first time, as I recall, that Obama has had this sort of lead in Florida. Second, he's hit 50%!  One tiny step from a majority!

The net result is that now forecasts Obama winning 326 votes in the Electoral College!

That's a big bingo, baby!  All he needs is 270.

And Nate Silver, the NY Times premier polls analyst, has just boosted Obama's likely electoral total to 299!

Nate Silver cautions us to disregard a new poll showing Obama trailing in Michigan, and he explains how that poll is basically flawed.  Indeed, he maintains that Michigan is not even a swing state. It's Obama-land!  And well it should be after the successful auto bailout that Obama courageously undertook while Romney said "Throw Detroit to the dogs!"  (The connection is that Romney believes in putting dogs on top of cars, a sort of replacement for old-time hood ornaments.)

But remember that it's not over until it's over.  Polls are just polls.  In the end, it's the votes that count, and the GOP is determined to suppress the Obama vote in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Not only have the GOP state governments taken such steps but you can bet your bottom that the GOP will be pulling every shenanigan they can think of on election day to steal this election by harassing Democratic voters, having too few polling places in Democratic areas, using faulty machines, "losing" boxes of ballots, etc., etc. etc.

There is one trick, however, that the GOP doesn't have. It's the one the Democrats hold, and it's called "Stay at home on election day."  We tend to do that, and this year the polls show voter turnout among Democrats is likely to be lower than what we need.  It's a strange trick because we play it on ourselves. Thus it's our fault if we lose.

"I'm sure as hell going to vote!", you say.  Well, good.  But that's not enough.  Do no more than that and you're wasting your vote because we are going to lose if we all don't help get our Democratic brethern and sistern to the polls. ("Sistern" is a lame joke, I know.)

So here's your nagging grandma pushing on you yet again.  I won't quit nagging you about helping Obama.  Never.  Nagging's in my job specs as a grandma.

Which reminds me of a great story about the Goldwater campaign of 1964 and the fabled Democratic trickster Dick Tuck.  (Grandma specs also include telling old stories.)  Tuck rounded up a bunch of elderly ladies and planted them around town with their canes.  As people walked by, the old ladies jabbed them with their canes and shouted in their crackly voices, "Vote for Goldwater!"

Now that's the kind of voter suppression I can live with!

Here's hoping Hurricane Isaac spares you and your loved ones.  And all our people.  Just remember that it's all the Republicans' fault.

More seriously, remember that it was seven years ago right now that George W and the "less government" philosophy left people to the harsh outcome of Katrina.  No rescue, no water, no food, no functioning bathrooms for day after day after day after day after day after day.  And every day we all suffered along with them.

"Nice job, Brownie!"


Hey, Romney, where's those tax returns!  And don't tell us that they blew away in Isaac!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Sean Penn & Hurricanes 4 v. GOP 0

How is it that hurricanes keep whupping the GOP you-know-what?  The score is 4-0.

In August of 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated part of Florida, and George H.W. Bush sat in the White House and yawned.  Two months later the American public tossed him out of office.  No one bothered to poll about his bungling of Andrew relief, but the TV images of Florida's people frantic for water really bothered even the Republicans I live amongst.

His son Georgie didn't learn anything from his dad's being heartless and dumb.  In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, GW flew over the ruin of New Orleans in an airplane, gazing out the window while thousands of people suffered at the super-dome, some of them dying there. Brian Williams got in there with his NBC news truck, but GW couldn't get food and water to those people.  Nor could he rescue the people trapped on roof tops or afloat clinging to pieces of wood.  Instead he took time to commend the guy who messed everything up:  "Good job, Brownie."

It was disgusting. As a result, GW plunged in the polls and never recovered.  But that's small justice for the poor folks of New Orleans who had plunged into the flood waters and drowned.  Nearly 2000 of them.

I had intended to make this a light-hearted piece, branching off at this point into the idiocy of the GOP tangling with Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and now Hurricane Isaac in 2012.  But I can't.  Once the images of Katrina and our federal government's massive failure arise, you can't be light-hearted.

If ever there was an answer to the GOP-TeaPs-Libertarian anti-government ranting, Katrina is it.  Katrina is the dark outcome of Ayn Randomy. It is harsh reality smashing the sophomoric "philosophy" of the Paul Ryans and the "private enterprise" fixations of the Mitt Romneys.  Katrina tells us why we need a federal government and why we need a decisive president.  The man who issued the "kill Bin Laden" order is the man we want when all hell breaks loose.  Not some jerk like the befuddled one who kept reading a child's book to second graders even after he had been told of a jet crashing into the World Trade Center. A jerk who then took off in an airplane to circle Nebraska for hours.

Nor do we want a man like Mitt Romney.  He's a Republican, and Republicans despise government. (Except when there are government contracts up for grabs.)  Long before the nut-jobs took over the entire GOP, the GOP hated government.  They LOVE to shut down programs, love to reduce federal help, hate the federal government doing anything except starting unprovoked "preemptive" wars. (Plenty good contracts there!)

The federal government is US!  It's We the People!  It's our way of taking care of each other across a continent-wide country.  Someone is in trouble 3000 miles away across the mountains and the valleys and the fields of waving grain?  That's our neighbor!  We couldn't all rush down to New Orleans in 2005, but when we saw the feds had failed our neighbors many of us did go.  Sean Penn went and grabbed a boat and rescued people.  The Church of the Brethern here in my area piled trucks full of necessities and set off to relieve the misery.  Well, you remember the response.  And you remember the gut-deep disappointment at GW and his version of the federal government.

GET THIS STRAIGHT! It wasn't just George W!  It was Republicanism that failed the people of New Orleans. All of his management team was on the same page, the page that is entitled "Limited Federal Government".  I've worked in government and I know.  The management team follows the boss.

The post-Katrina Republican party has tried to curtail funding for NOAA. (Not the guy with the cubits.) NOAA is the federal agency that predicts weather, that predicts HURRICANES.

The GOP NEVER LEARNS!  They didn't learn from Katrina.  They haven't learned from FOUR hurricanes whupping their own personal a _ _.  They haven't learned from GW's failed economic policies.  They haven't learned from the horrors created by deregulation of the financial industry.  They haven't learned diddly from all the snow and ice melting in the Arctic, from the droughts, the floods, the weird winters and the other sure markers of global warming.  They didn't learn from the BP spill; Romney wants drill-baby-drill all up and down the East Coast!

Well, if four hurricanes can't teach them a lesson, then the answer is simple.  We will have to.  We will have to beat them this year or die.  Literally die.  Not right away but surely.  We can't live without clean air and clean water.  Without affordable medical care.  Without disaster relief. Without inspection of our food.  And our planet can't live unless the mindless rapaciousness of what's-good-for-big-oil is replaced by what is good for all of us.

It's up to us. And that skinny guy with the graying hair and the big smile.  He's sure doing his part  -  beautifully.

Are you doing yours?

P.S.  Paging, Mr. Romney.  Paging, Mr. Romney. Please bring your tax returns to the public information desk immediately.          


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bigfoot, Romney and Ryan

ABC/Yahoo News reports today several recent sightings of Bigfoot in Northeast Ohio. A second news article immediately following reports that Paul Ryan has just been in Northeastern Ohio.

Well, that explains everything!

Except, it is my opinion that Romney looks a lot more like Bigfoot than Ryan does.  Romney's got the heft and the head and the weird walk of a Bigfoot.  A sort of Hulkiness.  Ryan is definitely more of an Ichabod Crane, except when he's being Eddie Munster.

But Romney can't be Bigfoot, can he?  Isn't Bigfoot too smart to be a Republican?

After all, Bigfoot has managed to live all across the USA, from the Far Northwest and California to Idaho and now Ohio.  And he has done it for hundreds of years  (ask the Native Americans) without getting caught and without a credit card.

By contrast, the Republicans are so dumb that they can't even hold a convention without inviting a hurricane to join them.  These are the folks who want to manage America but can't manage to schedule  a convention without messing up.  Four years ago they had to shorten their convention ostensibly because of Hurricane Gustav.  Way up in Minnesota, they felt compelled to truncate because of a hurricane in the Gulf?  The real reason they collapsed their convention was so that George W wouldn't be there.  "Don't bother to come, George.  We're having a hurricane." They did NOT want to remind America of what a terrible president the GOP had just produced.

Not satisfied with a distant relationship with Hurricane Gustav, this time they chose to site their convention right smack dab in the ever-popular home of hurricanes.  Yes, FLORIDA!  And right smack dab in hurricane season!

Bigfoot wouldn't do something that dumb. He's been smart enough to avoid humans for centuries, so he sure would avoid hurricanes.

It's just too bad Bigfoot doesn't have a photo ID so he can vote.  He's smarter than the Republicans so he'd likely be a Democrat.  He'd appreciate the fact that Democrats think we should keep some forests and protect endangered species.  We aren't as gun crazy as the GOP either.  (I think we can assume Bigfoot doesn't like guns.)

Setting all this aside, however, Bigfoot and Romney actually have something important in common.

I'll bet neither of them pays any income tax.


Hey, Rommo!  Where's the tax returns?  And don't tell me that Bigfoot ate them!



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Leave It To Letterman? The Best Predictor!

He who laughs last wins the election.

No one has done a study of this (thank God!) but it seems over the years that he who is the consistent butt of comedy loses the presidential race.  People don't want a ridiculous president.  George W had to steal Ohio in order to scrape by in 2004 after being raked over by the comics. John Kerry helped GW by making himself more ridiculous than Georgie, which is an amazing achievement.  Wind-surfing in late middle-age?  Holding dead birds while parading in an obviously brand-new camouflage get-up?  War-hero Kerry became late night nonsense.

Look beyond the polls.  Look at late night TV.  Especially at the old-time "main stream" comedians like Letterman.  I usually don't because I prefer Jon Stewart, but we know where Stewart is coming from so he doesn't actually count. He's preaching to the choir.  Letterman and Leno, by contrast, go where they know the greater number of people are:  the people who don't follow issues closely but vote  the candidate they "like" best. These are the folks who decide elections.  And they don't want a ridiculous candidate being president.  

Get on the wrong side of Letterman and you are toast.  Remember John McCain standing him up as a guest in 2008?  That spelled the end of McCain.  Hell hath no fury like a TV host scorned!  And Letterman is a gold medal winner in fury.  Lose Letterman and you've lost the race.

Yes, Tina Fey doomed Sarah Palin in 2008.  Wasn't that great fun?  But Palin helped her a lot by being outstandingly stupid and nutsy.

Letterman works the edges a lot better.  He can reveal the superficially dignified for what they really are.  That's been the role of the court jester forever.  How about his depiction of Mitt Romney as the "closer" at a Mercedes dealership?  The phoney camarderie, the awkward gestures. Perfect!

And which comic called Romney and Ryan a "pair of dentists"?  Right on target!

More to the point, the comics make it obvious that they despise these GOP jerks.  (Or Democratic jerks when such are running.)  The television audiences love their comics and despise whom their beloveds despise.  Cowboy-comic Will Rogers knew this eighty years ago when he belittled Congress in his devastatingly gentle way over the radio.  Congress still hasn't recovered.

Obama is simply not comedy fodder.  He's cool.  He's got a terrific public persona.  Dignified, at ease, moves well, great smile.  He can sing, sink a basket, and make sense.  He's also killed a major bad guy.  In 2008 the folks at SNL complained that it was hard to parody Obama.  Oh, yeah!  It's hard to parody a gem.

And Obama can get a laugh right alongside those comics.  He's got an incredible sense of comic timing, very rare in a non-pro.  They pros admire him for that.  Only they know how tough it is to achieve good comic timing.  And he did one of his best routines  -  scorching Donald Trump at the White House Press dinner  -  while simultaneously killing Bin Laden.  Man, that is show biz beyond the beyond!

So this next week when the highest-paid operatives in stagecraft will be trying to produce a "new" Romney at the GOP convention, don't fret.  Maybe they'll succeed and maybe they won't.  But will they fool all of the comedians all of the time?  Probably not.  Romney is an absolute jerk and great material.  Comics and their writers are not about to let go of that, especially when they know the real Romney.  Truth is what makes comedy funny.

As the GOP convenes, it has a lot more to worry about than Hurricane Isaac.  The winds of comedic truth are more powerful than the fiercest hurricane.

Go get him, Letterman!

And while you're at it, Dave, get those Romney tax returns too.

Come on, Mitt!  Hand them over!




Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Fasten Your Seat Belts"

We hear so much in the media about the idiots among us that we forget that most Americans are not idiots and are not easily deceived. At least I forget sometimes. Therefore, I apologize for beating the drum so hard recently on the frightening prospects of the Romney plan for Medicare.  I never worried that YOU would be deceived by Romney, but now it turns out I needn't have worried at all. The majority of American voters aren't being duped.

Per a new NYT/CBS/Quinnipac poll, sixty percent of likely voters in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin trust Obama more than Romney with the future of Medicare.  Less than one-third want Romney's voucher plan. About 75% believe Medicare's benefits are worth the cost.

Voters in these same three swing states place Medicare in their top three issues.  The other two issues are the economy and health care.  Is it too much to expect that those who trust Obama on Medicare  also trust him on heath care?

As for the economy, an NBC poll this week shows a majority are not impressed with Obama's handling of the economy but not also are not willing to hand it over to Romney.  Can it be that the majority  of American voters are realistic enough to perceive we are on an upward path, albeit a slow one, and that President Obama can't do much about it because the GOP House keeps blocking him?  Do they perceive that Romney merely promises more of the same GOP policies that brought on the Great Recession and the eight years of middle-class stagnation before that?

Not all the polling news is good, however.  Obama's lead in the twelve swing states has narrowed from about six points to only three.  But that's okay.  He's reached 50% in Ohio!  And the Eleventh Commandment is "Thou GOP shall not win the presidency without Ohio".

I just checked my journal from 2008 for mid-September.  By then the 2008 Crash had occurred, the shine had rubbed off Sarah Palin, and polls should have been tipping wildly for Obama.  Surprisingly, they were not!  In mid-September he was leading by only a couple of points in swing states, and the then-King of the Polls, Chuck Todd of MSNBC, was screeching that Michigan and Wisconsin were "slipping away from Obama".  On election day both of these states, lots of others, including even less likely ones, dropped neatly into Obama's lap, e.g. North Carolina, Virginia, and  -  of all places!  -  Indiana.  (Indiana was home to the 20th century revival of the KKK and is still a state blown north from the Deep South by a long ago hurricane.  Obama will not win Indiana in 2012.)

The moral of the story is that there will be ups and downs and downs and ups. Let's hope we end on an up note.  We can  -  if we help get out the vote.  No matter how well Obama does campaigning  -  and he's very good at it  -  it's up to us to bring in the votes.

Meantime, we know it will be lots closer than 2008.  It may be downright scary.

Indeed, we must remember the immortal and sage advice of Bette Davis in "All About Eve":  "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy seventy-five days."


Tax returns! Tax returns!  Any old tax returns for release, Mr. Romney?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Romney Plan Kills Medicare by 2016

That should be the headline on today's NY Times story about Romney's plan to "restore the Obama cuts to Medicare."

Buried in the second paragraph after a bunch of blah-blah is the projection that Medicare will be "insolvent" by 2016 if Romney ends Obama's cost cuts.

That's called "burying the lead".  And it's a big no-no in journalism.

The sad thing is that Romney has blind-sided the NYT twice. Twice the NYT reporters have laid out a bunch of facts without grasping their significance.

I've been stupid too.  Twice I've tried to explain the NYT stories.  Today's NYT story and one on August 14.  Twice I too have gotten into the weeds.

The simple picture is this:

1. Without Obama's $700+ billion cost CONTAINMENT, Medicare goes bust in JUST FOUR YEARS.

2. TODAY'S seniors will then have to buy PRIVATE insurance.  God help us all!

3. Romney is lying when he says his plan will not affect current Medicare recipients! Affect them? It bankrupts their beloved and vitally needed Medicare!

4. Romney is PERSONALLY benefitting from the over-billing of Medicare that is bringing the insolvency.  He still gets profits from Bain which gets huge profits from giant hospital chain HCA through gouging Medicare.

5. Bain initiated the gouging at HCA after purchasing the financially troubled chain several years ago.  Bain has since made billions off HCA!

6. Romney and Bain will make even more from HCA when Medicare is dead because there will be no Medicare policing of what providers can charge the elderly.

7. Why hasn't the present HCA/Bain/Romney claims-gouging been stopped?  The head of Medicare is a former HCA executive. Since she is an Obama appointee, either she doesn't know what's going or is still loyal to her old employer.

8. Does the Obama administration or the campaign understand what's going on?  Does anybody except this old lady in PA who has always "followed the money" in journalism, politics, government and law?


10. So far the NYT has failed to point out that Romney is personally benefitting from HCA's raid on Medicare.  Their stories have seen all the trees and missed the forest.  Folks, the forest is on fire and your life will soon be ashes.

Above are the "Top Ten Reasons You Will Need to Refinance Your Home In Order to Pay Your Parent's Medical Expenses After 2016".

Good luck with that. You're going to need it!

P.S.  Mitt Romney, release the tax returns that show how much you have gouged out of Medicare!


Romney/Bain Screws Seniors!

"Hand over that $342, you stupid Senior", says the masked Mitt Romney.  "And I'll be back for more! I also want that $700+ billion from Medicare! It's been going into my pocket, and that's the way we're going to keep it. Now, down on the floor so I can kick you! "

That's what's behind Romney's false claim that Obama is "cutting" $700+ billion from Medicare. Obama is actually cutting unwarranted "wasteful" payments to people like ROMNEY!

It's Romney who is stealing from Medicare AND from each individual senior.  He and the insurance companies and Bain Capital and the hospital chain HCA are right now pocketing a large chunk of the $700+ billion Obama wants to cut in unwarranted payments to hospitals.  He and Bain, insurance companies, and HCA are the ones who will lose out  -  NOT SENIORS!  -  if Obama's cost-cutting prevails.

That's why Romney and Ryan are divided on the $700+ billion.  Ryan's budget kept the Obama cuts to providers.  Ryan didn't know that Romney is personally pocketing some of that $700+ billion RIGHT NOW!

How do I know about Romney's robbery of Medicare?  Because the New York Times told me so. Or at least it explained how Bain was soaking Medicare, though the Times failed to mention that Romney's still pocketing big bucks from Bain.

In my blog on August 14, I wrote about that day's NYT top front page story on Bain Capital acquiring HCA and then immediately "coding-up" the giant hospital chain's claims for reimbursement from Medicare. "Coding-up" is a soft term for price gouging. Or fraud.  Under Bain's new ownership, suddenly all the HCA Medicare patients were  -  on paper  -  a whole lot sicker and needing a lot more expensive procedures.  At the same time, bed sores  - the recognized indicia of inadequate nursing care  -  soared through HCA's collective ceiling.  Bain was cruelly cutting nursing care costs while defrauding Medicare by upping its claims.

Was I the only one in the world who read that NYT story?  It was on the top spot of the NYT front page for only about five minutes and then disappeared into the business section which is read only by the rich guys who figure Bain deserves a cigar for its sharpster practices.

No one  -  not the NYT, not anybody in major media that I can find  -  picked up on the fact that Romney still pockets earnings from Bain.  In fact, the media let the Bain/HCA story just blow on by.  The story got no play.  And it should have!  I'm a journalist by training, and this is a big story!

But now Romney is being so shrewd (hard to think of him that way, isn't it, but he is) that he's using Obama's planned $700+ billion savings in Medicare to attack Obama.  Romney will "save" Medicare, he claims, by "restoring the Obama cuts".

NO, NO, NO!  Romney is restoring the "cuts" to his own wallet!

In reality (again per the NYT front page today) NOT cutting the $700+ billion in costs means Medicare runs out of bucks by the end of 2016!  How about that, President Romney!  You will have milked the Medicare cow dry!  But you and the GOP have always wanted to kill Medicare anyway.  And now, having bankrupted Medicare, your hospitals can charge whatever they want without the policeman Medicare setting limits!  Cool move, Mitt!

And between now and the death of Medicare, medical out-of-pocket expenses for seniors will keep going up without those Obama cost cuts. Each senior will on average pay an extra $342 yearly in increased co-pays and insurance premiums. This will rise to $577 by 2022, should Medicare somehow survive that long.

Whoa, you say! "Doesn't Medicare pay full freight for seniors?"  No, sweeties, it sure as hell doesn't.  We seniors still have to pay premiums to private insurance companies for "supplemental" insurance or get stuck with horrendous hospital bills.  These supplemental plans used to cost about $100 a month but have soared to about $3600 to $4800 per year, depending on where you live.  And we seniors pay a percentage of all Medicare services, not a flat rate.  Absent Obama's  $700+ billion cost cuts,  we will be paying higher and higher co-pays and higher and higher premiums for the absolutely necessary supplemental insurance.

PLEASE explain this to the seniors you know.  Not all seniors are complete idiots.  A vote for Romney is a vote to cut our own wrinkled necks.

But why has the media turned its back on the story of Romney/Bain/HCA stealing from Medicare?  Why isn't the media making the connection between Romney "restoring Obama's cuts" in order to line the capacious Romney pockets?

Meantime, Obama's edge in the swing states is dropping, and Nate Silver, the premier stats analyst, keeps lowering the likelihood of Obama winning.  This down-trend emerged right along with Romney's attack on the "Obama cuts to Medicare."

I am today a very gloomy old woman. Frustrated too as an old fire horse who can't respond to the clanging alarm.  In the old days before I got old, I'd be doing press for a candidate, and right now that candidate would be in front of the TV cameras explaining the Great Romney Ripoff.  In fact, I did press work for candidates not for the money (which was pathetic) but to advance good causes and get some truth out there before the American public.  I dug out real stories and spoon-fed them to the media.

Where's my counterpart now?

P.S.  And where's the tax returns, Mitt, that would show your Bain/HCA income?  Your money from bedsores?  Your money stolen from Medicare?  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOP's Right? The Campaign Is Over?

Forget it!

All the brouhaha about Ryan as a veep pick.  A naked GOP Congressman cavorting in the Sea of Galilee.  A GOP candidate for Senate making idiot remarks in Kansas.  The GOP ending Medicare.  Forget it all

Remember also to forget that Romney has 50% more funds on hand right now than Obama.  That the GOP super pacs have many millions more.  That the economy is middling and muddling along.

Forget everything but this one thing, the one thing that the GOP is betting the farm on. And rightly so.

It's voter turnout.

That's what Romney's pick of Ryan means. That's what his lie about Obama cutting Medicare means.  That's also what's behind his lie about Obama ending the work requirement for welfare.  And that's why he's virtually given up focusing on Obama's "failure" to improve the economy.  He banked everything for a long time on this last argument, and it failed.  Polls show folks aren't happy with the economy and don't think it will get better, but they still like Obama better than Romney.

So Romney's gang know they have only one hope:  gin up their base to vote and count on the Democrats and the Dem-leaning to stay home on election day.

This is why they are seemingly fumbling around and throwing everything in the kitchen sink at Obama.  The pundits are wrong when they say this is a desperation strategy.  In a close election like this one, Romney's strategy makes sense.  GET YOUR PEOPLE TO THE POLLS!

So he's stoking his far-right party  -  and the GOP is now entirely a far-right party.  Contrary to the pundits, his attacks on Obamacare and Obama's plans for Medicare are working.  So is his racist-based claim that Obama is reinstating "the welfare queen".  His base is thrilled with this garbage! Just as they are thrilled with Paul Ryan.  And Romney's so-called base is his ENTIRE PARTY.

And how do I knowthe Romney voters are ginned up?  Because   -   like the words of a silly 1940s song  -  I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.  I live in that part of central Pennsylvania that is so red that it's Alabama without the accent.  My Republican born-again friends and neighbors are really fired up!  They will be voting in greater numbers now.  They are out there registering everything that moves, including the cows and the John Deere tractors!

At the same time, the polls still show that the Democratic voters are not enthusiastic, especially the younger ones.  Of course, we can't expect the intoxicating roar of 2008.  In fact, you will likely never see again in your lifetime such a wonderful spectacle as the Obama campaign of 2008, with its adoring crowds of 40,000 and 100,000, with its transporting wave of enthusiasm.

But we've got to get our people out to vote.  We have a wonderful man as a candidate.  He's done a damn fine job as president against horrible odds.  And he is now fighting like hell to win.  And we have everyting to lose, including the Supreme Court for a lifetime. Meantime the GOP has erected barriers to voting in two key states, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  We've MUST do all we can to get out our vote.

So don't sit around chortling at the seeming GOP screw-ups.  Forget the pundits who think Romney has doomed himself.  (Few pundits have ever worked in a political campaign or understand elective politics.)  Sure, Romney's an idiot.  BUT HE IS CRAFTY.  He can COUNT.  (He's had lots of practice by counting his money.)

He and his party are counting votes.  Theirs v. ours.  There are very, very few undecideds any more. In fact, I can't recall any election ever before in which, at this still early point, there were only 3% undecided.  And yet that's what some polling is showing! (Normally it's about 10%.)  FORGET THE UNDECIDEDS!  They don't exist!

So it's not a battle for hearts and minds.  Romney has won that battle among his voters by picking Ryan.  Now it's a battle for feet.  Feet that will walk precincts.  Feet that will walk to polling places on election day.

So forget the ad money.  Forget the conventions and the debates.  It's over, kiddies.  We are tied and in the last inning.  And YOU are coming up to bat!

Can't you at least get us a WALK?  At least get on first?  Do it!  Walk into the nearest Obama headquarters and sign up to help.  Then go for second base:  Walk a precinct to find our voters and rev them up.  Then break for third:  Help with get-out-the-vote on election day.

That's the winning run, sports fans!  The winning run is YOU!


Hey, Romney, we are NOT forgetting your tax returns!  Where are they, mister?



Friday, August 17, 2012

Romney Gouging Medicare! Where's Coverage?

The New York Times story about Bain Capital gouging Medicare is not taking off in the rest of the media.  I posted a blog about this gouging on August 14.  If you haven't read it, please do so.  And read the August 14 NYT story it refers to.

Let's be clear!  The Romney's are still getting wealth from Bain Capital.  Bain Capital's gouging of Medicare through its ownership of the hospital chain HCA, as detailed in the NYT, is clearly benefitting the Romneys.  We know Romney still gets money from Bain!

In plain language, Mitt Romney is ROBBING MEDICARE!  And also making money on BEDSORES!  And bedsores aren't funny nor trivial! They are the key indicia of inadequate care, plus they HURT!

Why isn't the media following up on the NYT story?  Three reasons:  First, the NYT story missed a big point. It didn't mention that Romney is personally benefitting from the Bain/HCA gouging of Medicare. That's because the NYT writer is from the Business Section of the paper.  In fact, the story was quickly pulled from the front page and consigned to the business pages.  Which mostly the well-to-do read.  And the well-to-do applaud HCA/Bain/Romney slurping up Medicare money.  (In the view of too many GOP businessmen, the sole purpose of government is to run programs the rich can loot with government contracts, etc.)

Second, the more politically-hip NYT reporters aren't keen on tackling a "financial" story".  They don't feel competent.  Plus it's work.  Plus it may be complicated.  Who wants to "get into the weeds"?  But, darlings, that's where the action is!  Those who mind the cash register run the store!  Back in my law school days, I noted that none of my Democratic or female fellow-students took the courses in tax law or business law.  I was the sole woman in those classes!  Why must women and Democrats feel business is "beyond them"?  Too many reporters, male and female, still do.

Third  -  and this may be the biggy  -  a provident universe just gave the political reporters Paul Ryan!  With little Paulie to run with, the reporters are not inclined to switch horses until they have beaten this story to death.  That's show biz these days, folks!  I mean, "the media".

So how do we get the media to pursue this Bain/HCA/Romney story?

Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC "The Last Word" is our best bet. As a former chief counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, O'Donnell isn't afraid of business-type stories. And he's the one commentator who has most consistently and convincingly pursued Romney's tax returns.

You can email him at

Do it!

This Romney-loots-Medicare story could be the election!  AND we need to stop the theft of Medicare money that's needed for our elderly.  We also need Bain/HCA to reverse the profit-increasing nursing cuts that have caused a horribly high rate of bedsores, infections, and deaths.

The bedsores you stop may be your own!  Or your dad's.  Or your grandma's.  Plus, the Medicare money we keep from Bain-Romney may someday finance YOUR medical care!

So email O'Donnell!  Right now!

And then again three days from now.  And then again three days after that.  And then again.  And then again.  And then again.  Keep up the pressure and persuasion!

Can we get O'Donnell to push this story?  You betcha we can!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FLASH! Mitt Gouges Medicare, per NYTimes

Right this minute, go the NY Times front page and read its top story describing how Bain Capital is making enormous profit from the giant hospital chain HCA. How? By upping its charge codes to Medicare! By cutting staff and care! By BEDSORES!

NOTE: You can read ten stories in the NY Times free each mont without being a subscriber. THIS IS A MUST-READ!!

Yes, we know Romney isn't running Bain any more, but he and his family are still raking in the big income from Bain.

And the income from HCA through Bain is enormous!  Bain and two other private equity firms bought HCA in 2006 with mostly borrowed money (typical Bain) and then goosed up profitability so much that now the value of their HCA holding has TRIPLED!  We are talking BILLIONS here, folks!  TRIPLE the original $33 billion invested!

Paid for in large measure by YOUR tax dollars. By the paycheck withholding you pay for Medicare.  By your income taxes that go into Medicaid.

Romney has been gouging YOU!

"Code-upping" is Bain's magic marker. The codes describe the illness and level of treatment needed, i.e. what a hospital is charging Medicare for.  All of a sudden, under Bain, HCA's patients got a whole lot sicker, according to the HCA coding.  Has Medicare jumped on this upping the codes? No! The head of Medicare is a former Bain executive!  As we used to say, "How do you like them apples, Shirley?"

Bed sores?  The Bain-HCA hospitals include 8 of the nation's worst 15 for bed sores!  Bed sores are considered the leading indicia of poor quality care and inadequate nursing staff. And the HCA doctors are complaining about HCA pressure on the MDs to reduce care.

So no wonder Medicare is going broke while the quality of USA medical care is sinking as compared with other countries.

AND THE CHUTZPAH!  Romney and Ryan are running around saying that Medicare is doomed unless they destroy it to save it!  At the same time Romney has been milking the moo out of Medicare moola!  Romney is like the guy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan!  He's been making money on the problem!  He's been making the problem!

This news story could  -  and should  -  be the election.

Good-o for the New York Times.  Journalism still means something.  It means a lot! Now let's see if the rest of the media pays attention.  Or are they going to continue to smarm over Ryan's "cute" cowlick?

Good-o for the Times, not just because the story could win us this election. It's good-o too because maybe it will save Medicare from the vultures like Romney.

Oh, people!  What kind of evil makes money off the sick and the old by cheating them, by damning them to the torture of bed sores and infection? By robbing the poor working stiffs who give up part of each paycheck to be sure their parents and grandparents have medical care?  What sort of filth slops up such ill-gotten gains?

Did Romney have a duty to know why his wealth from Bain was shooting up?  Yes, he did.  

We must do everything possible to stop this evil man.  Can we?  Oh, yes we can.  Because we must.

 And maybe now we know why Mitt isn't handing over those income tax returns.  

Stop GOP Theft of Election; Pt.2

Okay!  This is Part 2 of how to get the media spotlight on the voting process in your area.  To recap prior posts:  absent the glare of the media, the GOP will be trying to steal this election by suppressing the vote in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.  And in your state too. They've done it before and have set up measures to do it again.  But YOU CAN STOP THEM!

At the end of Part 1,  you were scheduling your first press conference.  And you're nervous.  That's all right.  Even old pros always get butterflies before the curtain goes up.  Just remember that the media is on YOUR SIDE. You're giving them some news, and they pray for news stories.  Plus yours is a "sexy" story. It's about the little guy (the voter) versus the BIG BUREAUCRAT (the election official).  And you are clearly on the side of the angels because you are not (yet) accusing the official of any bad practices beyond a failure to respond to the citizens who pay his salary.  All you are demanding at this point is INFORMATION.  You are ASKING the most important question in a democracy:  WILL PEOPLE BE ALLOWED TO VOTE?  (The media should be asking this question and will be on your side because you're doing their work for them!)

In the press conference  - and ALWAYS  -  STAY ON POINT!  You mustn't let your effort become partisan. You are a concerned as a CITIZEN, not as a Democrat or Republican.  Obviously you should get a Republican to stand next to you if you can.  But if the issue comes up and you have no handy Republican, just say "We want Republicans and Democrats and Independents to be able to vote.  This is about the right to vote, not about parties."

Keep your sentences short. Be firm and concerned but not angry.  Anger comes across badly on TV.  Before the press conference, practice a lot.  Out loud and with a friendior family member.  And you KNOW how press conferences go  -  you've been watching them all your life on TV! Go pee just before the press conference begins. (That part has not been on TV.)  Have a drink of water before you begin speaking.  (There should be coffee and donuts on hand for the media.)  Begin by thanking the media for coming, and close by thanking them at the end.  Smile before you begin. Be serious when on topic.  Be bravely determined when you end.  Chin high! Ready for the fray!

GIVE YOUR STORY LEGS!  Media people want a story that "has legs", meaning it will continue to unfold.  In your press conference make it clear that you are going to pursue this effort. Tell the media what your next step will be to get information out of the recalcitrant official.  Say you're going to seek the help of your elected officials, and NAME THEM. Go for the state and local ones, and name several of DIFFERENT PARTIES:  the local assemblymen, the state senators, the town mayor, etc.  (Don't tip these elected officials ahead of time. Let the press go after them and thus set them competing to get on your side!)  Or say you are consulting attorneys regarding court action.  Or that you'll file a complaint with your state's election board or the federal Department of Justice if necessary.

DON'T SAY you are going to picket the election official's office or do a sit-in.  That's great action but it should come later.  You want to space out what you do.  You want to give actual legs to your story, announcing things one after another.  That way you are keeping the pressure on the media to keep pressure on the election official. And if the elected official caves and agrees to meet with you after you get press attention?  That's for PART 3 of this political seminar, coming in a few days and with time-out for ragging on Romney-Ryan!

Still scared?  Well, they were scared at Bunker Hill. They were scared in Mississippi when they went to register. They were scared in California's Central Valley when they had to face the guns outside the polls.  And how about that election in Iraq with those people holding up a purple finger after dodging Al Queda to get to the polls?

If it isn't worth being scared in order to get it, it ain't worth having!

When in your life will you again have a chance to take history into your two hands?

So get ready to fight to protect the vote. Now is the time. You are the one.  Can you do this?

Yes, YOU can!


Hey, Mitt, can you produce those tax returns? YES, you damn well better!  And little Paul "Eddie" Ryan's too. We want to see how much he's earning on his oil interests.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Grandpa Munster Whups Paul Ryan!

You can fool some of the grandparents some of the time.

Heaven knows the GOP has been fooling a lot of grandparents a lot of the time.  Seniors are typically the  GOP's most reliable voters.

But Paul Ryan, aka Eddie Munster, is the deal-breaker!  Ryan has been consistently proposing we get rid of Medicare "to save Medicare".  Gosh, that sounds a lot like when the U.S. generals in Vietnam said we were "burning villages to save them".

A lot of my fellow seniors may be foolish or reactionaries, but most of them aren't anywhere senile enough to believe that you can "save" Medicare by replacing it with vouchers.  Remember the exceedingly ill-informed gray-haired old lady who said in 2009, "Tell the federal government to keep its hands off my Medicare!"

Though she was in the wrong church fact-wise (it is, of course, a federal program), she sure as hell had nailed down the right pew!  Medicare WORKS JUST FINE for us seniors.  And we NEED it!  JUST AS IT IS, with only the twitches necessary to make it solvent for longer, e.g. means-testing for the wealthy; federal bargaining for RX prices, etc.

For us Medicare is life and death.  Literally.  

And we want it there for our middle-aged children and their children.  We worry enough now about how they are going to get or keep the health insurance they currently need.  We want to be very sure that when they are old, they won't suffer as did our parents before there was Medicare.  I remember the Gray Panthers fighting for a federal program that would prevent seniors from having to choose between starving to death and getting medical care. Those were the BAD old days!

It was a hideous, uphill fight against the conservatives just so we could get Medicare.  And now they want to take it away!  They always want to take it away!  We've seen this film before!  The conservatives HATE our social-conscience programs.  The only "entitlement programs" they love are the parts of the tax code that entitle the rich to better breaks than the rest of us get.

We are not in a generational war with younger people, selfishly wanting benefits that load them with future debt. That's nonsense!  We don't want to load them with the burden of paying our medical bills NOW!  And it's nonsense that the choice is (a) screw seniors out of Medicare or (b) load their kids with too much federal debt.  This is the richest country in the world!  People are buying apartments for $15 million!  Yes, apartments!  They are buying $1000 shoes and multiple pairs of them!  They are buying islands!  And they are building elevators for their cars in their beach-side homes.

Don't tell me this country cannot afford medical care for the elderly!  EVERY country in the so-called developed world has medical care for everyone.  A lot of "undeveloped" countries do too.  What do we have?  Tax rates and loopholes for the wealthy that allow them to escape their fair share of supporting the society that built the schools and roads and ports, etc. that make businesses possible. And we are stuck with a debt-creating, GOP-engineered  Medicare prescription benefit that prohibits the fed from controlling outrageous pharmacy prices. That alone is adding a trillion bucks to the fed debt, baby!

Grandpa Munster shuffled over here this morning for a cup of coffee. ( He always gets his cape hem in the coffee.)  He was not at all happy this morning. As I had reported yesterday, he and Herman and Lily had originally been delighted that Mitt Romney picked their boy Eddie to run for veep on the GOP ticket, but now they're having second thoughts.

Part of it is Eddie changing his name. "Why, is he calling himself Paul Ryan?" Grandpa Munster mused.  "We aren't Irish. The Irish have had their problems but we werewolves and vampires have never been on that scene.  We're Middle European, not Celtic. Is Eddie ashamed of his roots?  Why the Clancy Brothers instead of Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff?"  He wiped his eyes with his coffee-damp cape.  "The worst of it is, he has turned against me!  Me! His own grandfather! "

And then he put his head back and wailed:  "He wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system!"

How do you comfort a vampire?

I slipped a bit of Jack Daniels into his coffee. (No blood being to hand, alas.)  After a few more cups of coffee and J.D., he staggered out the door, vowing "to take little Eddie to the woodshed".  The J.D. had fired him up wonderfully well. (Maybe the Munsters are a bit Irish after all.)

In any case, Paul Ryan had better be running damn hard.  Because here comes your Grandpa, Paul-Eddie, and he's hopping mad!  And the lots of us grandparents will be right behind him!  You are going to get a whupping!


We haven't forgotten those tax returns, Mitt.  Nor Little Paul-Eddie's.                                                      




Stop the GOP Stealing the Election!

One of the readers of this blogspot has offered information on how we can fight back against the likely GOP attempt to steal this election.  As I've noted in the prior two postings, voter suppression by the GOP in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida could lose us those three key states.  And the election!

Reader Bennnenji has suggested we do as he's doing and write emails to the federal Department of Justice at urging federal protection of the vote. He also has provided a phone number for help at 1-866-MyVote1, plus an address for the NAACP at

When you contact these organizations, please let me hear about your experience by posting a comment to this column. I know posting comments is work, but we have to do something at the grassroots level to fight off the fiends.  Let's share ideas and information!

What else can we do?

Bad stuff happens when no one is looking. Do whatever you can STARTING NOW to turn the spotlight on this issue in your own location.  GOP voter suppression can hit anywhere through lack of enough polling places, shortened hours, inadequate polling staff, badly done purging of registration lists.  But it won't happen if you push the media into keeping an eye on things.  AND HERE'S HOW in broad terms. (If you need models of press releases, etc., let me know by commenting on this posting.)

FORM A GROUP NOW!  If it's only a handful of you, that's fine. Just call yourself something like "Protecting Our Votes".  Two of you would actually be twice what you need to be "a watchdog".  Remember there was only ONE Ralph Nader hounding the auto industry!  In this kind of effort, numbers don't matter.  One LOUD voice is what matters.

ISSUE A PRESS RELEASE saying you will be watch-dogging the voting preparations.  The press release should state some of your "concerns" in the form of questions, e.g. Will there be enough polling places? etc. Don't make accusations at this point unless you have hard evidence of problems. Accusations come later.)  In the press release, justify your concerns by saying that the reporting in the media has "raised serious concerns".  The media loves to think someone is paying attention to stuff they've already put out.  And your statement gives the media a second bite at an apple it's already picked. Keep the press release short and include you as "Contact", with phone number, address and email address.  FOLLOW THROUGH with a phone call to be your media outlets "to be sure you folks got our press release."  Chat them up, saying the media has done a great job alerting the public to the  issue. Get the name of the reporter, write it down and USE IT thereafter.  

SEND A LETTER from your "group" (hard copy) to your state's official in charge of voting (typically the "secretary of state").  Ask for a meeting about your concerns.  Then simultaneously send out another  PRESS RELEASE saying you have asked for this meeting.

HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE if you haven't heard back from the state official in ten days.  NOW YOU CAN START SOUNDING TOUGH! This "public servant" won't even meet with "worried citizens"!  What an outrage!  (Always grab the high ground after first being ever so polite and reasonable, as you were in that letter.)

HOW TO HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE?  Get a room in a public building or bank conference room, church room or whatever.  Notify the media a couple of days in advance by email, then follow-up with a phone call. Set the time for about 10 a.m.  In notifying the media, grab attention with something like this:  "Secretary of State So and So is ignoring citizen concerns about voting rights."  Don't get into specifics that the official can reply to before your press conference.  To add real sex appeal to your announcement of the press conference, add that your group will seek "federal intervention" if the state official continues "to stonewall".

BEFORE THE PRESS CONFERENCE prepare a written handout  stating your gripe:  that the official is failing to hear citizens concerns and that this raises your concerns even further!  "What's going on behind official closed doors?"

Now, honey, you have the upper-hand!  And are you still nervous about what to do exactly at the press conference and what your subsequent steps are?  TUNE IN NEXT TIME for more on how to tear apart tyrants.

I did this stuff to Nixon, Reagan, Congressmen, big corporations, etc. IT'S FUN. And IT WORKS!  We few  -  we blessed few  -  can make a fight that can change anything!  IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!

Remember that the Tea Party  -  which has just had its doll baby chosen as the GOP veep candidate  -  started with a handful of people doing an April 15 tax protest in 2009.  And the rest is history.

So can we turn the spotlight on the voting process in our own area?  YES WE CAN!

Mitt, we're still waiting for those tax returns!  Give us at least as many as you demanded from Paul "Eddie" Ryan when vetting him for veep.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eddie Munster, Paul Ryan, and Catholic Bishops

Lily and Herman Munster must be ecstatic!  

In accordance with the American Dream that any child can grow up to be president, their little boy Eddie seems to have grown up to be Paul Ryan, Romney's pick for being "a heart-beat away from the presidency."

The name is different but it's the same guy. Paul Ryan IS Eddie Munster.  You can tell by the strange, dramatic hairline across the forehead.  That deep dark dip of ever-so-black hair, that mark of the werewolf/vampire.  Yeah, it's Eddie all right.

You can also tell by Paul "Eddie" Ryan's politics. The infamous Ryan Budget will suck the blood out of the middle class, the elderly, and the poor in order to lavish further tax cuts on the wealthy.  This is not a Hollywood-created horror plot; it's the real thing.  The diabolical Ryan scheme actually exists on paper and has been twice adopted by the GOP-controlled House.

Enter the Catholic Bishops!  It's time for an exorcism!

Last April, when the House was about to adopt the Ryan vampire scheme, the Catholic bishops wrote a letter to the House, decrying the draconian Ryan attack on the poor and on families.  But the House GOP members ignored the plea of the bishops to act humane and instead persisted in being monsters.  Cut those school lunches for hungry kids!  Cut those Pell grants for struggling college kids!  Heads still spinning around gleefully, the House GOP joined Ryan in dancing on the coffin of the American people.  (Where's Richard Burton when you need him?)

Of course the Senate rejected the killer plan, and the American public (and the media) promptly forgot it like a nightmare on wakening.  But now Paul Ryan and his "Menu for Devouring the People" are going to be front and center in the presidential election. Not only will this wrap a lot of garlic around Romney's neck, but it may also win the House back for the Democrats.  All those House members who took Democratic seats in 2010 and then voted for the Ryan Budget are stuck with the mark of the beast.  Until now their snooting the bishops and their cruel proposals have gone unremarked among the sleeping, vulnerable American people.  But no longer!

Paul Ryan and his budget may not only cost Romney the election but may take the House GOP down with him. The old TV show "The Munsters" may turn into "Titanic" with Paul Ryan starring as the iceberg.

Sorry, Lily and Herman. Sorry, Grandpa Munster.  Your dream for your little Eddie is our nightmare.  Paul Ryan cannot be vice-president.  We Americans may be a bit idiotic but we are not complete idiots.  

The only way little Eddie can become Vice President Ryan is for the GOP to steal the election through voter suppression in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  We Democrats won't let that happen, will we?  This won't be like Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004, will it?  (Democratic voters had to wait 22 hours in line to vote in Ohio cities in 2004, and many gave up.  Ohio thus gave GW his second term.)

How can we put a stake through the heart of the GOP plan to steal this election?  Volunteer for registering voters and for get-out-the-vote!  Send Obama a few bucks to hire lawyers to fight the voter suppression. (Even volunteer lawyers have to meet the expense of staff and court filings.)

Richard Burton is not coming to our rescue as the brave priest in "The Exorcist".  Hollywood is not going to write a happy ending for our current morality play.  Ryan and his fellow Catholics of GOP persuasion are not going to heed the social-conscience cries of the Catholic bishops.

The ending of this nightmare is up to us.  Is Grandpa Munster going to dance on our coffin? Or can we defeat The Forces of Darkness?

P.S. Hey, Romney, where's your tax returns?  And little Eddie's?




Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ryan for VP Means GOP Will Steal This Election?

Romney has hit the panic button and picked Paul Ryan for his running mate. It's "McCain Picks Palin" all over again, and Ryan can't even see Russia from his front porch.

Why would Romney pick a running mate who has done the biggest no-no in politics:  threatened Medicare and Social Security?  The Ryan Budget ends Medicare and replaces it with a voucher system that  -  at minimum  -   would cost a senior an additional $6400 per year. That's about half of what the average senior gets in Social Security per year, and many seniors have no other income because the 2008 crash destroyed their investments or drove interest-earning down to pennies. The 2008 crash also shows why privatizing Social Security is idiocy.  After 2008 if you still want to privatize Social Security, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

The Democrats are now in the gleeful position of shooting fish in a barrel (though I've never understood why someone would want to shoot fish).  Here comes that ad showing a Ryan-look-alike pushing Grandma over the cliff in her wheelchair.  Remember that one?  Or how about one that depicts a Romney-Ryan bus with the sign, "Throw Grandma Under Here"?

And how about an ad explaining that YOU will have to pony up FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS in order to pay for the Ryan Budget tax cuts for the rich-and-getting-richer?

And how about ads telling America to kiss goodbye to its National Parks, its food inspection, its airport control, etc. etc.? The entirety of our domestic spending! That's what happens by 2024 under the Ryan Budget!

So why did Romney  -  cautious to the point of being a wus  -   pick the worst VP choice in the universe?

Because he's losing and he knows it!  That's what his choice of Ryan really tells us.  (It also tells us what the GOP's real plan is for winning the fall election, but more on that later in this piece.)

Fox, CNN, and Reuters polls all gave him bad marks this past week. He's down nationally by seven to nine points among these three polls that usually lean a bit GOP (except Fox, which leans a lot).  Nate Silver, the super analyst, gives him only a 26.7% chance of winning.

His "don't like Mitt as a person" number is way up above his personal positive.  He's the most disliked major party candidate ever to run for the presidency!

Only one-fourth of voters would be "comfortable" with Romney winning.

When losing, go "bold".  That's what McCain did.  But Romney has gone even further.  McCain didn't know a damn thing about Palin so he couldn't know how bad she'd be, that she'd scare off all but the 24% who were as dumb as she was.  In Romney's case, he KNOWS that Ryan is a gift to the Democrats.

So why do it?  Panic.  Panic means a rush to the exits where everybody gets trampled.  It doesn't make sense.  It ends badly.  But fear makes it feel right.

All that's left for the GOP now is to hope the economy crashes or  -  far, far likelier  -  that they can steal this election.

That's always the GOP fall-back plan.  It worked in 2000 in Florida.   It worked in 2004 in Ohio.  It almost worked in 1960 when armed "gringos" kept Latino voters away from the polls in California's agricultural Central Valley and gave Nixon the state in the belatedly counted absentees, thereby holding JFK to one of the narrowest national victories ever.

And they've got it rigged for this year.  That's the purpose of the voter-suppression laws in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  (The GOP enacted such laws in a lot of other states too, but most of them are darkly red already.)

Ryan's VP candidacy won't win this election for us.  Nothing will win it for us if the GOP can steal it.  We've got to have volunteer poll-watchers at every precinct.  We've got to fight hard to get our voters to the polls and to be sure they can vote when they get there. Now  -   MORE THAN EVER  -  you must sign up to help because now we know that the GOP will have to fall back on stealing this election.

ONLY YOU can prevent that happening!

Romney's panic choice of Ryan is not enough.  His hoof 'n mouth campaigning is not enough.  Obama wiping the debate stage floor with him is not enough.  YOU have to be there on election day to make sure they don't steal the election and our future.  Can we prevent another such steal at home plate?

With your help, YES WE CAN!

And, Mitt, we haven't forgotten about your tax returns?  And what about Ryan's while you're at it?      


Friday, August 10, 2012

YOU Just Got the Gold!

More accurately, you just awarded the gold to Obama!

And how did you and he become such champions?

98% v. 24%   -    that's how.  And what a win-in-a-walk that is!

The 98% is the percentage of Obama's contributions last month that were $250 or less. The 24% is the percentage of Romney's fund-raising that came from $250 or less. (This disparity holds even excluding super pac money!)

We small donors who support Obama outnumber Romney's by almost a 4 to l ratio.  I love it!

More than anything else this shows how Obama is the champion of "the little guy".  And we little guys know it!

It also shows that Obama has some volunteer troops out there while Romney may not have as many. This being America, people tend to follow their own money.  Where they have "some skin in the game", that's where their heart is.  She who plunks down her $10 or $100 contribution is likely to plunk down her feet on the precinct sidewalks on election day and ferret out those Obama voters who haven't yet voted.

That's where this election will be won or lost.  It's ALL about voter turnout this time.  In 2008 Obama had such a big edge, voter turnout wasn't as key.  Face it:  this time we don't have that margin.  We've GOT TO get our voters to the polls!

And in key states we have an uphill fight. GOP-controlled Ohio has cut down the early voting period that was a big help to Obama in '08.  GOP-controlled Florida has purged Democratic voter registrations  in massive numbers.  GOP-controlled Pennsylvania has adopted a voter ID law so bad that it will likely keep 750,000 of our Democratic voters out of action.

Unless we win a court case (argued last week) to overturn this noxious PA law, we may have to kiss Pennsylvania goodbye.  And thereby kiss the presidency goodbye too.  Obama can't win re-election without Pennsylvania.

Thus we may have to find hundreds of thousands of new voters in PA or get IDs for those who don't have the ones the state requires.  That's a lot of work and will take a lot of volunteers.

So here's the punch line:   Have you taken your vacation yet?

If not, come to Pennsylvania for a week or two of fun and games.  Help register voters and help get out the vote.  Campaigns ARE fun.  And the fight to win this year's election is the greatest game of all!

Or go to Ohio or Virginia or Colorado.  These are three more swing states that will determine the outcome, and each is hanging by a thread.  Plus the Senate seat in VA, one we now have but could lose to GOP George Allen.  Remember him  -  the "caca" man, the potty-mouthed racist of 2006?  We beat him in 2006 by a whisker, but now he's back!  If we get a good turnout for Obama in VA,  we put "Caca" Allen away again!

(I don't know if I'm spelling "caca" correctly or not.  Guess I'll have to ask a three-year-old kid.)

Or send money.  The dollars can pay for the Obama HQ on that Main Street in that town in PA or VA or Ohio.  The Obama sign on that HQ will attract that local volunteer who can do the work you can't do because you're not there.  Maybe you're already working in your own town in a relatively safe state for Obama.  Or maybe you're an ex-pat.  Lots of you ex-pats are reading this blog.  Wherever you are, GET IN THE GAME!

Meantime, here in Pennsylvania, please come help!  Day or night.

We'll keep the light on for you.

Attention, Mitt Romney! Calling Mr. Romney! Where are those tax records, Mr. Romney?  


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Romney Wants YOU to Buy Him Another Horse!

You want to buy Mitt Romney another dressage horse? Only $77,000!

Here's the deal. Under his tax plan, Mitt Romney wants to collect $2000 from each of you.

He will keep at least $87,000 for himself, get another horse, and have $10K left for feed. And he will give every average millionaire $87,000 of your money. That's $87,000 of YOUR money going to each of those who already earn a million a year, the ones among us who DO NOT need it.

How's that for a deal?

Rotten, you say? Well, pal, THAT is Romney's tax plan.

He wants to cut tax rates "across the board" by the same percentage for everyone. He says he will make up the cost by "closing loopholes". Two things are very, very wrong about this plan.

First, using the same percentage to cut taxes means the people at the top get the biggest amount of dollars. In this world, dollars are what count, not percentages. If Romney gets a 20% reduction on his income of $20 million a year, that's a BIG pile of moola! And remember, he's already paying only 13.9%. If you get the same percentage cut, it's small potatoes by comparison.

BUT you won't even get that! That's because of the second very bad aspect of this plan:  the "loopholes"Romney would take away are the "deductions" YOU now use to reduce your taxes. Goodbye, deductible home mortgage interest! Hello, taxes due on employer-paid health benefits! Etc. Etc. So you'll end up paying $2000 more on average in order to finance the $87,000 give-away to Mitt and each of his wealthy friends.

Such is the analysis of a non-partisan study group co-chaired by a former George W. Bush White House staffer.

Though Romney hasn't come out and admitted that he wants to take away your deductions (he's awfully secretive about tax stuff, isn't he?), the study group points out that only by closing off these deductions for the middle class can there be enough taxes collected to pay Romney and his pals their $87,000 gift.

Let's hope that Romney does indeed use his $87,000 gift from you to buy another dressage horse. That would fit right in with the creaky old GOP "trickle-down" economic theory: "Give the rich more money and they'll invest it and the benefits will trickle down to the masses." (Except this doesn't work. We tried it beginning with George W's tax cuts, and it's been downhill ever since.)

If Romney gets another $87,000 from you and buys another $77,000 horse and spends $10,000 on feed   -   well, you can see what's coming! You can smell it too. What "trickles down" on us is horse piss and horse poop!  And we'll be the same old stable hands we have been these past years, trying to clean up the financial mess made by our "betters".

After all we are just "you people",  disdainfully labeled such by Anne Romney. We don't have lots of homes. Some of us have lost the one home we had. We don't drive multiple Cadillacs or have elevators for our cars. We're just peasants in the Romneys' eyes, people who wear cheap raincoats and can't bake cookies to Mitt's tastes. "Dressage" to us means how-on-the-hell are we going to pay for the kids' school shoes this month?

If we do buy Mitt that horse, let's make him promise not to tie it to the roof of his car.

Or how about this? Instead of giving Mitt your $2000 next year, why not send Obama $200 now or even $20 or even $2? What a bargain! Help a guy who is on YOUR side and thereby avoid Mitt Romney picking your pocket. BE SMART!

And, hey there, Mitt! Speaking of taxes, where's those tax returns of yours?



Friday, August 3, 2012

Why The Olympics

Sometimes politics aren't everything. Sometimes what counts is just people. Like in the Olympics, present and past.

I was born the year that Jesse Owens wiped Hitler's eye at the Berlin Olympics.

When I was fifteen I went to a high school track meet and got hooked forever on track and field.

When I was in college I saw Bob Richards clear 15' in the pole vault in a practice vault at the LA Coliseum in the 1956 Olympic tryouts. It was the old-fashioned pole. No whip from it as from its successor, the fiber glass pole. We all held our breath as he motioned for the bar to be raised and then started his run. He soared! No one had ever made 15' before. There were only a couple of hundred of us track and field fans in the stands that beautiful June day. Seats for 100,000 people, and we few  -  we blessed few  -  had the place to ourselves. Track and field was not widely popular then as it is now. You could go right down and talk to the athletes that day at the Coliseum. For heaven sakes, we knew some of them from school!

I knew the first American to beat the four-minute mile. Don Bowden. June, 1957. I knew him at Cal Berkeley. Every afternoon I'd leave the Daily Cal offices and walk past Hearst Field where he was running, rain or shine. We always waved to each other. At the end of that school year I was in New York as a Mademoiselle magazine guest editor when Don broke the 4 minute. There he was, front page of the New York Times. He was a very nice guy, and I was so glad for him. Besides I'd just got to New York and was homesick. Hometown boy makes good! Do people still remember this great athlete?

Little Max Truex of USC was all heart. He didn't have the height and long stride for distance running but  -  God!  -  he gave it everything. He was only 5'5".  When he made it to the Olympics in 1956 he was the smallest American ever to be an Olympic competitor in track and field. But he was sidelined with an injury before his event and had to fight his way back to the Olympics in '60 as the only American to qualify in the 10K. He finished sixth in a field of nineteen of the world's fastest, longest- stride, distance runners. Then came Parkinson's and a struggle of another kind for Max. Half a century after I watched him in collegiate races battling against the odds, I still remember him for his courage. And still borrow from his example.

There were so many who were so wonderful. Wilma Rudolph, Olympic track star who had worn braces on her legs until she was ten years old. Her story inspired my youngest son, who had epilepsy and needed all the inspiration he could get. I told him about her when we went to the LA Olympics together in 1984. That boy and I had a fantastic time! It took me a year to pay off the credit card, but it was worth every penny!

He died before the next Olympics having in the meantime become a cross-country runner. He was sixteen years old when he died. The doctor said that the running probably kept him alive longer than would otherwise have been the case. The night before he died, we sat at the kitchen table while he worked on an essay assignment: "The Thing That Changed My Life".  He told me he'd chosen to write about cross-country running and how hard it was and how he just kept going no matter what.

"I've never won a race, Mom, but I finished every one."

We put that on his tombstone: "He finished his race."

May we all finish our race and do it in good form. With the inner grace of a Jesse Owens running in a racist world, the dignity of Bob Richards, the modesty of Don Bowden, the courage of little Max Truex, the determination of Wilma Rudolph. And the sweetness of my boy, who never complained about his illness.

Enjoy the Olympics and the beautiful things they have to teach us. Ignore the schlock and commercialism. Ignore the supposed competition between nations. It's not about nations. It's about individuals  -  young people and not so young  -  doing their best and doing it beautifully, often having overcome great odds just to get there.

We are each the star of our own Olympics. We are each the hero of our own story. Life is our event. Let the games go forward!    

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GOP Medals in The Long Throw!

This next week we will get to see the world's greatest throwers of the discus, the hammer, and the javelin. But this past week we have already witnessed the GOP out-throwing even these world champs.

And what are they throwing? You guessed it! Colossal BULL!

First throw: John McCain and his GOP cohorts are claiming  -  get this!  -  that Obama is to blame for the deal cut last summer to reduce defense spending and non-defense spending equally beginning (in stages) after January 1.

Obama is to blame? They've gotta be kidding!

Only they aren't. They really expect people to believe this nonsense.

The trillion in cuts, including the $500 billion in defense, was the result of the House GOP refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Remember? It was hostage money! Now the terrorist GOP who extorted the deal are complaining. And blaming Obama! That's like kidnappers blaming the victim's family for paying the ransom!

What are these GOP Senators smoking?

Second throw: And this one comes from the Romney campaign and is even more ludicrous. A new Romney ad claims that jobs were LOST because of Obama's bailout of the auto industry. These Romney people are not only smoking stuff; they must be on the sauce! The auto industry rescue SAVED a million jobs! But Romney's people found an auto dealer that had to shut down after the bailout. Turns out GM denied him further credit, and he had thirty cars on the lot. Do you see any reasoning in this that would explain GM's decision? A decision that seems to have had nothing to do with Obama? Somehow Romney & Co. don't see the real reason?

And Romney is supposed to be the guy who really understands business. Tell me, please, what would have happened to this erstwhile auto dealer if Romney's "let Detroit go bankrupt" had prevailed?

Third throw: And how about Jack Gilchrist, the "businessman" in that other Romney ad? The one who claims he built his business by himself and is so incensed that Obama  -  so Romney falsely claims  -   is suggesting that he didn't.

This Jack the Entrepreneur had FOUR different government handouts!

He is such a fake that he makes Joe the Plumber look like  -  well. a plumber. Which Joe wasn't.

Are the Romney folks desperate? They are sure acting like it. And it's understandable. It is just awfully hard to run a campaign without a candidate.

Moral of the story: if you haven't got a viable candidate, tell lots of lies.

By the way, Mitt, what about those tax returns?


You Control the One Percent

No, not the one percent with all that wealth. Apparently no one controls them.

I'm talking about the one percent that will decide this election. This one percent is ENTIRELY within your control.

Here's how you get your power. First, it's going to be a very, very close election, according to all the calculations. But there is one calculation that shows how really close it will be. That calculation is the one utilized to adjust current polls (which are based on registered voters) to results for "likely voters".

As of now, most pollsters are still polling registered voters. When they switch to just polling likely voters, Obama will probably take a hit in the numbers. So say the experts. That's because Democrats don't turn out to vote with as much reliability as do GOP voters. Sad, but true  -  and it has always been that way. So we already know that.

Now, however, master statistical analyst Nate Silver of the New York Times, who has the most sophisticated analysis program of all, has announced that the figure he normally uses to adjust current polling of registered voters does not use a large enough reduction to represent likely Democratic turnout, given the other data he has. This is a long-winded way of saying that he sees signs the Democratic stay-at-homers will be nearly TWICE as numerous as usual. The difference is one per cent versus a two percent adjustment.

Oh, folks, this is really bad news! It's so obviously bad news that I need not carry on about it.

But this is also what delivers this election into YOUR hands!


Make your plans now to be in Pennsylvania or Ohio or Virginia for the Obama get-out-the vote effort. That's where this election will be decided, by all present and historical indications. Without two of those three states, Obama will LOSE. Most important of the three is OHIO because, without Ohio, Romney CANNOT win.

No excuses. Just get yourself to one of those three states. Planes, trains and automobiles. Or buses. Even hitchhiking. Get some folks to go with you. Maybe the local campaign can get you a place to bunk in. JUST DO IT!

And if you can't go  -  because you're in prison in Algiers or you're having a baby that week  -  SEND MONEY! The Obama campaign is overspending to hit Romney hard now with ads to show people how inadequate the man is. But the Obama campaign also needs money for more organizing at the grassroots level. Even grassroots need some feeding.

Can we get that critical one percent to show up and vote for the man? Oh, baby, yes we can!

But will we? Let me put it like this:  We damn well better! Or we can kiss tomorrow goodbye. For us, for our kids, for our grandkids.

And that other one percent who now have all the money and much of the power? On election night they will drink a champaign toast to those of us who let them win this election. And that toast will be our curse to bear for a long, long time to come.

P.S. Hey, Mitt! Where's those tax returns?