Poor Newt

Poor Newt. No, really, I mean, poor Newt.  Reuters is reporting that Newt’s network of intertwined  consulting companies and associated book and DVD sales is mired in debt, alongside the $4.8 million in campaign debt.  Consequently, Newt’s empire is facing bankruptcy in Atlanta bankruptcy court.

Reading the reporting, one can’t help but wonder how much advantage Newt and his various wives have taken of the American legal system in order to build out the empire.  One also can’t help but wonder how much Newt will actually suffer as a result of his fast-and-loose wheeling and dealing.

Read the Reuter’s reporting:

112th Congress: Lowered Expectations

The Sunlight Foundation released a study today that shed some light on the speaking ability of our members of Congress. It used standard measures of language complexity to identify, by individual and by party affiliation, which members of congress had the highest and lowest scores. Additionally, it compared those scores with the scores of 2005.

The infographic may be pretty but the results of the comparison are not:

A couple of notable points:

  • The lowest point on the chart in the infographic is in 2011, the first year that all the tea party freshmen took to the floor.
  • The overall grade score has gone down a full grade since 2005.
  • The bottom ten scores all belong to Republicans; eight of those ten lowest scores belong to first-term Republicans.

The complete results of the analysis are available at the Sunlight Foundation website.

 

Main Street vs. Bain Street

When President Obama, speaking today in Chicago at the NATO Summit, was asked about Cory Booker’s comments on Meet the Press on Sunday, he used the opportunity to question the applicability of Mitt Romney’s record and experience at Bain Capital.

The President sums it up:

“When you’re President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

I’ve been harping on this for a while now.

There is no logic that I can think of that justifies Romney’s assertion that experience managing a private equity firm is the skill set needed to be President of the United States. Are there significant components related to finance that are part of a president’s job? Of course. But if one makes the same decisions as a president that one would as a private equity firm manager, one excludes most of America from the mix.

On the campaign trail, Romney is hiding from his record as Governor of Massachusetts so, if anything, the single-focus of business experience that Romney is touting as his primary selling point only proves how well rounded he isn’t.

Virtually lost in today’s hubbub about Cory Booker’s statements and President Obama’s response to them is the fact that the President was addressing a NATO summit.  Although this barely got reported on today, he spoke of strengthening the commitment of our NATO partners with regard to Afghanistan, he reminded us of the U.S. and NATO role in helping to overthrow Gaddhafi and to get Libya farther down the road to peace and prosperity, and he addressed the subject of European missile defense and the role that it plays in combating terrorism.

Considering the import of the issues being discussed at that conference, could a more stark contrast be drawn with the myopic campaign tactics of Mitt Romney?

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Boundless Disingenuousness

Politicians are known for playing fast and loose with the truth, and they do it so frequently that our media often don’t challenge them on the spot. But sometimes they say things that are so outrageous, so patently false or skewed, that leaving it unchallenged is an outrage in itself.

Cut to today’s Face the Nation, in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch (“the Turtle”) McConnell made the following statement:

“We’d like to do something about the nation’s biggest problem, spending and debt, which is, of course, the reason for this economic malaise and this high unemployment. And whenever the President is willing to engage, we’re ready to go.”

Someone please hit the pause button.

Does anyone else interpret this statement as blaming the problem for the problem?

How many times does it need to be said?  The debt came from two unfunded wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  And no matter how much Republicans complain about the current administration not fixing the mess, it doesn’t change the fact that the mess that they’re complaining about is largely of their own making.

There were eight years – two complete terms – of a Republican administration that got us into this mess.  And now they’re complaining because Obama hasn’t fixed it all in less than one term (a term during which Republicans did everything in their power and then some to obstruct any progress that might be made).  The “reason for this economic malaise and this high unemployment” is that the policies of the previous administration plummeted our nation into the worst economic situation since the great depression.  Republicans now try to distance themselves from the previous administration — so much so that they don’t even want to say the previous president’s name.

Well, I’ll say it.  George W. Bush.  George W. Bush.  GEORGE W. BUSH!

When children behave in such an irrational way, they get grounded or sent to the naughty chair.  Why isn’t there an equivalent punishment for this kind of hypocrisy?

Mitch McConnell, I hereby take away your cell phone and your internet privileges.

Boehner Champions More Tax Cuts for the Rich

Speaker of the House John Boehner has gained the reputation for allowing the most extreme elements of the Republican Party to control the agenda in the House.  And while he tries his damnedest to put up a good public front, it’s less and less believable.

His latest public statement was made in relation to what appears to be another politically motivated debt ceiling battle:

“I’m not threatening default.”

But in the same speech, he ominously and erroneously claims that “the largest tax hike in American history is scheduled for the end of this year.” No, John.  At the end of the year, the tax cuts that were put in place by a Republican administration ten years ago are set to expire.  Those are the very same tax cuts that significantly contributed to the very debts and deficits that Boehner and the GOP/Tea Party claim to be so vehemently opposed to.

But facts are troubling things to the GOP.  It’s much easier to claim – through Speaker Boehner and others – that they’re don’t want to threaten default, all the while threatening default by bringing up all the same things they used to threaten default with before.

And while approval numbers for Congress are at an all-time low, most people blame the Republicans for the legislative brinksmanship that led us to the edge of the precipice and that was responsible for the lowering of federal bond ratings with Standard and Poors.  The consequences of that maneuvering are well known; our economy took a significant unnecessary hit

If one were of a cynical frame of mind, and I have often been rightfully accused of that, one might think that this is political maneuvering in an effort to precipitate another hit to the economy, just in time to conjure up more “proof” that Obama is bad for the economy.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and cries like a duck …

Today's Numbers

Today’s Numbers

The number of cents per gallon that gasoline has dropped since this time last month.

The number of cents per gallon that gasoline has dropped since this date last year.

The number of Republicans who previously blamed Barack Obama for rising gas prices who sent Barack Obama a note of congratulations or thanks for now lowering them.

* This number is not official, but it’s a pretty safe bet.