Romney Wins!

What a great day for Mitt Romney. His signature health care plan will be implemented nationwide as he had hoped. The nation took heed of his message that it’s “poppycock” to blame the president for an economic downturn which is caused by a “perfect storm” of unfortunate events, and gave the president credit for all the jobs created during the financial crisis. While his positions on women’s choice and gay rights were defeated, he should be pleased to know that is other positions on those same issues were victorious. And he learned that a candidate can win even when the other side appeals to fundamentalist bigots by questioning if he’s Christian enough. Indeed a wonderful day for Mitt Romney. Congratulations are in order.

Veterans for Romney

I have a little trouble accepting the fact that such a group as Veterans for Romney even exists. When I see an older veteran shaking Mitt Romney’s hand, I wonder, “Did this guy call Clinton a draft dodger?”.

Veterans with Mitt Romney, taken from mittromney.com

The difference between Clinton and Romney in terms of avoiding the draft is Clinton tried to end the war that he believed Americans were killing and dying in for no reason that anyone understood. Romney, while on a deferment, argued with people who tried to stop the war, than achieved more deferments for missionary work and retreated to the safety and comfort of a mansion in France.

If someone is about to get into a deadly fight, a bellicose friend might say, “I’m coming with you.” A peaceful friend might say, “We should try to stop the fighting.” A fearful friend might say, “I’m not getting involved and you shouldn’t either.” But what kind of friend says, “I long to be with you, but I’m too important to be sacrificed so I’ll stay here and yell at people who try to stop you.”?

Mitt Romney is trying to paint Obama and congressional Democrats as those who don’t support the troops by blaming them for the sequestration, a bi-partisan agreement which will cut defense spending along with discretionary spending. It is an agreement that his running mate praised. As the Washington Post notes:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), now Romney’s running mate, was one of the many Republicans who voted for the agreement. In fact, he was one of its biggest cheerleaders.
“The Budget Control Act represents a victory for those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy,” he said in a statement issued after the measure passed.

The cuts specified in the sequestration deal are not meant to be enacted. They can be avoided by Republicans agreeing to compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy. The position Republicans have taken so far is not to budge at all on that issue. Republicans would rather cut defense spending and blame it on Democrats. This is the same kind of chicanery that Republicans engaged in when they voted down Democratic proposals to fund troops through the government shut-down that they almost caused, then wrote their own proposal laced with anti-abortion legislation to prevent Democrats from voting for it. It is a pattern that Republicans continue to follow. They are willing to harm our troops as long as they can blame it on Democrats.

Mitt Romney doesn’t support the troops. He forgot to mention the troops in his acceptance speech and forgot about the troops again during the presidential debate on foreign policy. Mitt Romney supports military spending, but that’s not the same as supporting the troops. Republicans have repeatedly voted down bills that support the troops.

Even a sandal wearing hippie with flowers in his hair who calls soldiers “Baby Killers” is a better friend to military members than a chicken hawk hypocrite who advocates for an unnecessary war in which he refuses to serve. It’s time to throw the chicken hawks out, not elect them to the presidency.

Paxus on Ryan: It is Money

Paxus says that the Ryan pick is not so much about attracting votes from tea-party extremist:

… Don’t be naive. It is money.

Ryan is promising billions to oil companies, tax cuts for the rich paid for by the poor and middle class, $228 billion military build up. Who wants these programs? Very rich people do …

Possibly. The Booman Tribune lists items which are not good reasons for Romney to have picked Ryan:

1. It didn’t help Romney with women.
2. It didn’t help Romney make any inroads with blacks, Latinos, Asians, or Muslims.
3. It didn’t boost confidence in a Romney administration’s preparedness to handle foreign policy, a la Dick Cheney.
4. It didn’t force the Obama administration to defend new territory.
5. It didn’t deflect attention from Romney’s tax returns/avoidance.
6. It didn’t help Romney move to the middle.
7. It didn’t isolate Romney from the wildly unpopular House Republicans.

So Paxus may be right. The last thing Romney’s wealthiest supporters want is a bunch of healthy, educated commoners reaching for their gold after being lifted out of poverty with their tax dollars. But Romney’s been so inconsistent that some of them might worry about him reversing himself again and giving poor and working class people access to education and medical care. Ryan, at least, has been consistent in his intentions support the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. He doesn’t have much else going for him, but that little bit will greatly help Romney’s credibility with the big donors.

A Campaign of Lies

I’m disgusted and angry that the Romney camp is still running the “You didn’t build that” sound bite. It’s been debunked by a wide range of sources, and yet Romney believes that enough Americans are so ignorant of current events that they will digest what his campaign feeds them without even sampling the few sentences that preceded the bite.

At one point, it represented an uncommonly low level in the field of dishonest campaigning. But now Romney has sunk even lower by falsely accusing the Obama administration of trying to block early voting for military members. Mitt Romney is developing quite a pattern of lying to military members and veterans.

Mitt Romney is running the most dishonest campaign that I can remember. He has a record of taking multiple sides of several issues, continues to break campaign tradition by withholding his tax returns, and denies that his tax plan will raise taxes on the middle class while refusing to explain a $360 billion gap which economists have concluded can only be paid for by cutting deductions which help middle class taxpayers. Romney’s lies are so numerous that it’s hard for fact-checkers to keep up.

But still, people will see the “You didn’t build that” bite over and over, and believe it. They’ll believe it because they don’t read anything other than opinions from pundits who reiterate their own beliefs, and tune out arguments which challenge their own views.

Mitt Romney hopes that the percentage of voters who only get their news from sources which support his lies is greater than the percentage of those who get their news from other sources. If you’re cocooned in a right wing echo changer or even a left wing echo chamber, you can break out by considering the possibility that even those who disagree with you might have a valid point that should be explored. Often, you’ll learn that the other side really does have a point, although that’s not very likely when the other side is listening to Romney. At least you’ll know what the other side is hearing and be more prepared to defend the truth.

Romney’s lies are more important than his bungles

Romney’s week of gaffs has steered attention away from the lie he told to the VFW recently, and the dishonest sound-biting of President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quote. Gaffs can be forgiven more easily than blatant lies, and Romney’s untruthful jabs at the President will continue to reverberate through the right wing blogosphere while fact-checking of his statements gets lost among jokes about his diplomatic errors. And those errors will be excused by apologists who actually see it as a sign of strength for an American to go around the world insulting our allies and carelessly violating protocol, as long as the violator is a Republican.

But let’s not forget the lies. Mitt Romney blamed Barack Obama for a bi-partisan congressional budget agreement that will result in defense cuts. Remember, last year congressional Republicans threatened to shut down the government if they didn’t get tax cuts for the rich and cuts to vital services for the rest of us. Their willingness to cripple the nation’s economy in order to get their way prompted a downgrade in Standard and Poor’s U.S. bond rating, and despite S&P specifically citing Republican “brinksmanship” as the cause, Romney was one of the first Republicans to blame Obama for the downgrade. Still, Democrats and Republicans worked out a short-term budget deal with a rider that if they couldn’t work out a follow-on deal, across-the-board budget cuts would automatically kick in, including cuts to the military.

Those automatic, pre-negotiated, bi-partisan budget cuts are the ones Romney refers to as “the president’s”. I wrote earlier that across-the-board budget cuts was a bad deal for Democrats. The idea that cuts in the military balance out cuts for programs that help the poor and middle class is ridiculous. Democrats don’t actually want to defund the military, but Republicans don’t care about defunding the poor and middle class. The pressure that Romney is putting on the president and Democrats indicates that when Republicans agreed to the budget cuts, they were lying, and always felt they could scuttle the agreement by accusing Democrats of not supporting the troops if they adhere to it.

The other big lie was the sound-bite, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”. “That” was referring to an example of a bridge, a road, or some other improvement provided by the people as a whole, which is clear from the full quote. Romney can claim “soundbiting” for “I like being able to fire people”, but while the statement is less harsh in context, ( he likes being able to fire people because the ability to do so encourages performance ) at least nobody is being mislead about what the words, themselves, actually mean. Even though context softens his words, Romney does, in fact, like being able to fire people. Obama does not, in fact, believe that entrepreneurs don’t build their own businesses. Romney’s sound-biting of Obama’s speech isn’t just putting a negative slant on something Obama said, it’s making people think Obama said something that he didn’t say, and it demonstrates severe level of dishonesty. Romney is more honest than that when he just plain lies.

So by all means, let’s talk about Romney’s diplomatic blunders. They’re more than just funny, they’re an indication of Romney’s ability to represent the United States of America to our allies. But let’s not forget the more important fact: Mitt Romney isn’t just a bungler, he is a liar.

Lying about Employment with Charts and Numbers

In response to Mitt Romney’s boldface lie that Obama is a “job destroyer”, Greg Sargent has been calling on Romney to explain himself. The truth is, as soon as the stimulus took effect, the hemorrhaging of jobs that occurred as a result of deregulation and lack of oversight started to turn around, and jobs have been created; not destroyed. How can so many people be fooled when the numbers are readily available and how can pathological lier like Mitt Romney be hailed as the Republican candidate most likely to beat Obama?

Take a look at these two charts:

Series Id: LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status: Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over

Series Id: LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status: Employed
Type of data: Number in thousands
Age: 16 years and over

Both are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One was pointed to in a Hot Air article to suggest that Obama’s policies, specifically health care reform, destroyed jobs (The article is titled “ObamaCare, the Job Destroyer”). The other is similar to a chart in Paul Krugman’s blog demonstrating that Obama has created jobs.

How can two charts about employment data look so different? Because only the second chart, “Employment Level”, shows whether jobs have been created or destroyed after the President’s fiscal policies took effect.

The other chart represents a problem and is concerning, but it does not indicate what Hot Air wants you to believe and does not undermine the fact that after the stimulus passed, the job decline turned around and our economy created over two million new jobs.

What the first chart, titled “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate”, shows is the percentage of U.S. population who are either employed or looking for work. Employed or looking for work means you’re part of the labor force. How does a person fail to be counted as employed and also fail to be counted as looking for work? Certainly, when someone gets fed up after weeks of not finding a job and becomes discouraged, that person drops out of the labor force. Like I said, it’s concerning. But also people who stay in school rather than finding a job, stay at home parents, and retirees are not in the labor force.

The baby boomers are retiring, and that’s having a real effect on labor force participation, as are discouraged workers.

To get a feel for the meaning of employment level vs labor participation, and whether a drop in labor force participation makes Obama a “job destroyer”, imagine a group of 10 people. 8 are working, and 2 are looking for jobs. One new job appears and one of the job-seekers snatches it up. The other gets discouraged and stops looking. Has employment improved or have jobs been destroyed?

When someone says that Obama is a Job Destroyer, they are mistaken or lying. And you cannot trust any news source or presidential candidate that promotes such a fallacy.

Update: I had the first chart labeled incorrectly, and incorrectly referred to the second chart in the text when I was talking about the first chart. I had mislabeled it “(Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level” instead of “Civilian labor force participation rate”