Netflix Is Full Of Mitt

Yesterday I started seeing an online Netflix ad for a Mitt Romney documentary, “MITT”,  that it’s showing exclusively. It’s a chance to get to know the Mittens you never knew.  And boy– are they right! Mitt’s showing us—hey, I’m just like you—with mussed hair above a pair of tired,  faintly hopeful eyes looking at the camera as if saying, “Do you accept me now?”  Mittens allowed tousling of his perfectly coiffed and dyed hair? Wow, it’s the FIRST thing I now know that I never knew!

But once the afterglow of discovery fades away, a gnawing question replaces it: why this documentary showing the “human” side of Romney now? If he possesses any reason—as opposed to intelligence—he’ll never run for president again.  So, what could be behind this? Hmmm…Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is ending his term this year and has announced he won’t seek reelection.  Is Romney thinking that with the presidency forever out of his reach he just might try to return to the seat of his former glory? That would be very Mittens-like but since he hasn’t announced he’s running or set up an exploratory committee that I know of, it’s just conjecture on my part.

The Utah governor, Gary Herbert, just started his second term, but who wants to be the new governor of a state that officially refuses to recognize gay marriage and deprives little school kids of their unpaid lunches by throwing them in the garbage—right in front of them? That’s not the tousled-haired Mittens I know!

The House of Representatives is too small to hold a man of Romney’s wealth so that leaves the Senate.  No open seats in Utah and I think Massachusetts voters won’t be venturing back into the dark Right side any time soon. So, this leaves the Massachusetts governor’s office as his only possible target.  I mean, there had to be reason why Mitten’s guys paid Netflix all that money to run their vanity project.  And the director of this epic, inside look at the Mittens we preferred to stay far away from as opposed to wanting to get up close and personal? Greg Whiteley, with only two other credits to his name:  “New York Doll” which examined an ex-member of the New York Dolls who renounced his past when he became a Mormon, and “Resolved”, a documentary on high school debates that for some reason puts Koch Bros. employee SCOTUS Justice Sammy Alito front and center.  Either he was one of the high school debaters or that’s how he got his judging experience.

It took six years to make this documentary. Why did it take so long? It probably took that long for Whiteley to film enough footage to make Mitten’s life look interesting enough to fill 90 minutes.

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Who Fact Checks The Fact Checkers?

http://news.msn.com/us/fact-check-did-obama-get-it-right

My question is:  who fact checks the Fact Checkers? The Associated Press has printed almost nothing but criticizing or out-and-out hit pieces on Obama for years.

The author, Calvin Woodward, cites a number of surveys and quotes people associated with think tanks.  First, if you read the article, many times the Woodward states some data is unknown.   This unknown data is crucial in determining if Obama was speaking factually or not.  So, if even Woodward admits he doesn’t know everything, how can he decide that what Obama said wasn’t true? He can’t.

One glaring example (out of many) of how a “fact checker” can omit information that might disprove or at least question his conclusion that Obama was not being factual is his contention that Obama is wrong about “upward mobility has stalled”.  Woodward responds that according to a study by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty, “The most recent evidence suggests that mobility hasn’t worsened.” And how did PBS News reporter Jeffrey Brown summarize it in his interview with Chetty? “The ability to move up the income ladder hasn’t worsened, but it also hasn’t improved.” I’m just a college graduate, but didn’t Brown just confirm what Obama said (before Obama said it) in this Jan. 24, 2014 broadcast, that upward mobility has stalled? Yes, he did.

And besides that, how was upward mobility back in the ‘70s—what percentage of children were able to move up the social mobility ladder? Hmmm, Woodward didn’t touch on that one—maybe more of his “unknowns” at work.  And note that Woodward restricts his argument to social mobility and NOT to both social AND financial mobility as we all damn well know is what Obama was talking about.  And Woodward claims standing still is not stalled, just like someone claiming that just because you’re no longer breathing and there’s the total absence of brain activity it doesn’t mean you’re dead.

And Chetty’s direct quote about social mobility? “Well, I think you shouldn’t interpret the lack of a decline in upward mobility as good news, in the sense that intergenerational mobility in the U.S., social mobility, is lower than virtually any other developed country for which we currently have data.”

Maybe the word “virtually” is up for interpretation because Woodward pulls out another study that directly conflicts with Chetty, who he had just used to prove his point: “In a study of 22 countries, economist Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa found that the United States ranked 15th in social mobility. Only Italy and Britain among wealthy countries ranked lower. By some measures, children in the United States are as likely to inherit their parents’ economic status as their height.”  Italy is no longer a wealthy country; you can ask them, the WTO, and the World Bank.  Great Britain has long been a class-based society, or has Woodward conveniently forgotten about the Queen, the Royal Family, and all those dukes, lords, and knights mucking about?

Again, who factchecks the “Factcheckers”? Well, there’s me, for one.

Maverick Meets Frankenstein: John McCain vs. The Tea Party

http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/arizona-gop-turns-mccain

The pundits who in 2012 predicted tea partiers would claim Mitt Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough have been proven correct.  I think this signals that tea partiers are positioning themselves to take over the GOP.  The Tea Party is indeed the Frankenstein’s monster of Karl Rove and Dick Armey.  They didn’t create it but infused it with a criminal but malleable brain.  Now, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary,  tea partiers feel Almighty empowered and invulnerable, exactly the way Walter White felt after he blew up Gus Fring.

At first it puzzled me why the Arizona GOP Party was firing the first Tea Party salvo at John McCain, who isn’t up for reelection until 2016. I think their strategy is to let him know that if he doesn’t fall into line and goosestep with the rest of them, he’s a lame duck.  But while they’re patting each other on their shoulders for their assertiveness and take-no-prisoners approach to partisan politics, they might just have reawakened the sleeping maverick in McCain.  If he decides that he doesn’t like to be dictated to by the likes of pipsqueaks who weren’t even born when he was in a Vietnam POW camp he’s gonna start sending messages “See how lame THIS duck is” by once again voting his conscience and not the directives handed down on high from the likes of Karl Rove and the Kochs or their agents—who have been the only GOPers McCain does answer to.

The Tea Party occupies a small tract of land at the very fringe of politics but still they believe that they can seize control of the GOP.  That’s like Maine thinking it can overthrow the federal government and set up the United State of Maine.  The Arizona GOP Party division of the Tea Party is gearing up for a fight with the GOP hierarchy as to who will control the party come 2016. The tea partiers will come armed with exaggerated feelings of supremacy and destiny, the GOP hierarchy will come armed with money boys ready to park north of $600 million, ruthless veteran strategists, Fox , and what they consider their own “mainstream” Republican candidates to primary and beat these upstart whippersnappers.  I think it’s possible that we may be able to sit back, watch, and enjoy the GOP Civil War, coming to an internet and TV near you.

But a word to the wise to the Tea Party: Never bite the hand that feeds you.  You’ll wind up with a mouthful of missing teeth.

Hillary Clinton’s “Wronged Woman” Problem

Many people think that Hillary Clinton is the right woman to be president.  I think the “wronged woman” is her problem.  I was thinking that if Hillary were to be the Democratic nominee, what weakness will the GOP attempt to exploit? What might they zero in on other than the standard “she’s a liberal” thing?  Then it became obvious to me: they will exploit the fact that she’s a woman, but not just any woman.  She is the wife of a man who while he was president was caught cheating with a much younger female White House intern named Monica Lewinsky who was barely out of college.  If this had been the only affair, the GOP presidential candidate surrogates—like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and the Fox babes (excluding Greta Van Susteren but not Laura Ingraham, of course) will say,

“I can see why she would have forgiven and stood by her husband. But, my gosh, Bill Clinton had at least three other affairs while he was the nation’s president and who knows how many he had when he was governor?  Did Hillary know about all these affairs? Well, if she wasn’t aware of what her own husband was doing behind her back, how can she possibly be aware enough to know what her own government is doing? And what about foreign leaders of countries like Red China and Syria and Iran–and the Soviet Union? (This is Sarah and Michele talking, after all.)

“And what if she DID know about all those affairs? What does it say about her strength of character that she has stayed married to a serial cheater of a husband? How could she live with herself? And (here’s what is meant to be the killing blow) what kind of message did this send to your little daughter?  That it’s ok to stay married to a man who would rather cheat with other women than be at home with his wife and child? Bill’s no longer president—why doesn’t she divorce him?  Has she no self-respect? If she’s too weak to leave a philandering husband, how can she be possibly strong enough to run the most powerful nation on earth and stand up to the enemies who want to destroy us?”

This opens the door to planting another visual label on Hillary to add to that of the wronged wife: the battered wife.  They won’t have to come out and say that Bill beat her but they will definitely raise the point that there had to be some reason why she stayed with him all those years through all those affairs. It wasn’t like she didn’t have her own money and her own career to fall back on to support her and her little girl.

I think that Hillary stayed with Bill not out of loyalty or weakness of character but out of pragmatism. To divorce Bill would have just served to give the media two circus tents to cover.  Bill and his advisers probably assured Hillary that he would weather Hurricane Monica and successfully but it behind him. Divorce would add to the scandal and effectively bring his second term to a standstill while overshadowing everything he had accomplished.  And besides, divorce would be their twin legacies. Bill would be remembered by history as the only president to be divorced while in office.  But Hillary may have been formulating plans even then to run for public office, perhaps even for president. She could not afford to carry The Woman Who Divorced Bill Clinton stigma into the political arena.  Everything about Hillary’s past up to that point as a high-powered attorney, activist for children’s rights, First Lady, senator, would be blanketed over by that stigma. But Hillary must have known that if she decided to stay with Bill, at some point she would be asked the question:  “After all his extramarital affairs, why didn’t you divorce Bill Clinton?”  And she must have realized public opinion would center on her loyalty, concern for her child, weakness, or a calculated, politically-motivated plan.  The Democratic Party might refuse to endorse and support her bids for public office as punishment for helping to bring down the most popular Democratic president since John F. Kennedy.  If she remained Mrs. Bill Clinton, she would have earned the Party’s backing for any political office for which she chose to run.

Hillary running for Senate or being appointed Secretary of State didn’t bother the Republicans much, especially after she voted to fund and authorize the invasion of Iraq.  But running for president and the chance that could actually be elected is something entirely different to the GOP.  They will throw everything they can at her and first and foremost will be the Character issue. But by opting to remain married she will be given the question “Why didn’t you divorce Bill Clinton?” How she answers this question—or refuses to—may define how well Hillary attracts the women’s vote outside of her base in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. I think her answer to this question will be as important as how she answers the Benghazi question: What did she know and when did she know it? I think these are twin issues the GOP will hit her hardest on since they may believe she can show as being vulnerable on honesty and strength of character, and independence.

I don’t consider myself smarter or more intuitive than anyone else.  What I’m saying is that if I’m smart enough to think of this whole scenario you can bet that the GOP powers-that-be, guys like Karl Rove, the Koch boys, Ed Gillespie, Ed Rollins, etc., have already thought of this. The best way to take the women’s vote away from a female candidate is to cause women voters to lose respect for the woman candidate.  And the best way to beat this female candidate is for the opposition to run a seemingly stronger of character woman candidate of their own, someone in a long-term marriage to a husband who has never cheated on her, someone younger than the other woman candidate and who is also experienced at running a state for more than one term, someone who has name recognition and is beautiful to boot and someone who is all this and also very popular in the South, someone named Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina—unless she’s sunk by her own scandal—and there might be a couple of them in incubation like they were for Gov. Chris Christie and now ex-governor and newly indicted Bob McDonnell.

Or, the GOP could go traditional and run a candidate whose last name is still highly respected, is a solid family man free of scandal, and has a squeaky clean image outside of Florida—Jeb Bush.  The only reason why Bush has a squeaky clean image is that reporters for the corporate media gave him a free pass after there was evidence his hands were knee deep in fixing the 2000 presidential votes in Florida by purging tens of thousands of legally eligible voters from the roles and getting away with it. They were his hands but he was smart enough to cover them up with Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ fingerprints, for which the Bush family awarded her a two-term stint in Congress.

Of course, Hillary may not run in 2016 and Bush and Haley may not run, either separately or together.  But anyone who supports Hillary Clinton for president has to keep the scenario I presented in mind and ask themselves: What will Hillary do?

The Republicanization Of The American Consumer

http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/10-things-not-to-buy-in-2014-1

More typically elitist and wrong advice from MSN Money.  Wasting money on dying technologies?  How much does it cost in monthly smart phone data plans to access movies, TV shows, and music stored in online clouds?  How much are the monthly cloud charges for this stored data? What are the monthly membership fees for Hulu, Netflix Spotify, Pandora, gaming, etc. ON TOP of the monthly data package fees (minimum $30 a month) you pay your wireless service for downloading all these things to you smartphone? And the costs of apps to download to your smartphone?   Increase those costs if you also have an internet service that you connect to access and download entertainment stuff (and gaming for a separate monthly fee), including additional fees for increasing your allotted bandwidth.

Do you know why these technologies are dying? Because just like there are people dumb enough to vote Republican, there are people misguided enough to pay through the nose for the convenience of accessing data and entertainment on the run.  This article never tells you to add up all the monthly fees you pay for the “birthing” technologies (as opposed to dying) and that’s the point. Most people don’t even think about all those fees because they’ve been conditioned not to.  If I buy a DVD (or burn a copy of one FOR MY OWN USE ONLY), it’s a one-time cost and I own it for the life of the disc and I can still watch it on my home TV anytime I choose to take the disc off the family room DVD shelf.  If I buy a desktop computer with a DVD burner, that again is a one-time cost, and the cost of a pack of blank DVDs is negligible in the long run.  With my dumbphone, I have no data package costs at all. I have no cloud storage costs at all. With my desktop, I don’t have to worry about losing or stepping on my phone every day and then having to frantically replace it right away.  With my dumb HDTV not connected to the internet, I can watch all the channels (satellite TV, not cable) I choose to pay and not worry about anyone hacking into my home network through vulnerable internet ports in my TV or smartphone.

Disconnect my landline? Then what do I do during the 3-4 power outages we suffer through in my area annually which cuts off cell phone service? And cell phone reception in my area is spotty and inconsistent at best?

Smartphone cameras instead of a digital camera? If taking pics is important to you, you can buy a much better digital camera than you can a cell phone that happens to have a camera at the same price point. And it’s much easier to download photos from a digital camera to a computer than it is from a cell phone. MUCH easier.

Say no to hotel rooms and pay someone to stay in their apartment or home instead? That’s fine if you’re a single, 20-something college student who is OK with sofa surfing and such in a stranger’s home, but if you’re family with kids or if you’re in your more mature years (like me),  I’ll take a private room in a hotel or motel anytime.

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I didn’t care about the other wasted money stuff in the article it didn’t apply to me.  You are free to consider them as you will.

Again, MSN Money is joining in the con of convincing people that the hands picking their pockets are making deposits instead of withdrawals.  It’s the same successful con that has convinced Republican voters to vote for the politicians that intend to rob them of their cheaper health insurance, Social Security benefits, voting rights, middle class wages, jobs, freedom over their own bodies (for the ladies), clean environment and safe food, affordable education, the right not to be shot to death when at the movies while in a public school kindergarten class.  You pay the hidden costs either way.