Obama Energy Policy – The Long Road Ahead

Obama Energy Policy – The Long Road Ahead

A long ways, from an economy driven by Fossil Fuels, to one that runs on Renewal Energy.

BUT it’s a transition that the majority of American People want …  So we had better get started, hadn’t we?
Section 1: Opinions About Major Issues

Pew Research Center, people-press.org — February 21, 2013

Climate Change: Public Favors Stricter Emission Standards

By a 54% to 34% margin, more Americans say the priority for addressing the nation’s energy supply should be developing alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen, over increased production of oil, coal and natural gas. Since 2011, the public has prioritized alternative sources over expanding production. Last October, the gap had narrowed: 47% said the priority should be developing alternative sources while 39% said the focus should be on expanding oil, coal and natural gas.

Further, fully 62% favor setting stricter emission limits on power plants in order to address climate change while 28% oppose this. Those who favor stricter emission standards are far more likely to want new climate change policies this year. Nearly half (46%) of those who favor stricter emission standards say new climate policies are essential this year. That compares with just 15% of those who oppose stricter emission standards; 41% of whom say new climate policies should not be done at all.
[...]

Question is, How in the world do we get from Point A to Point B?

From a world dependent on fossil fuels … to one basically free of them?
Maybe Fossil Fuels Regulation is the answer …
EPA imposes first greenhouse gas limits on new power plants

by Juliet Eilperin, washingtonpost.com — March 27, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency issued the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants Tuesday, but stopped short of imposing any restrictions on the nation’s existing coal-fired fleet.
[...]The rule, which is [was] open for public comment for 60 days, will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
[...]

Some advocacy groups, however, called the proposal too weak because it failed to cover existing power plants, which emit more than 2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, or roughly a third of the nation’s total.

Michael Livermore, executive director of New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity, called the failure to cover existing plants “a big problem,” noting that the move might encourage utilities to keep conventional coal plants operating longer.
[...]

Fossil Fuels Regulation is part of the answer, but it needs to have real teeth.

AND those Regs need to go into real-world effect. Someday … someday real soon, where those corporate smokestacks of easy-money, are.
 
How in the world do we get from Point A to Point B?

From a world that runs on fossil fuels … to one that has been re-tooled to run on Carbon-free sources?

Just like the American people want. Of course for Energy-incentivizing Regulations to work … they actually have to be enacted, in the real Energy world … without delay, after tedious delay.
What!?  The EPA must first find the “best compromise” — from among 2 million public comments. Ummm, that could take a while. We’ll get back with you. Maybe. Someday. Maybe not.
EPA may delay proposed greenhouse gas limits for power plants

by Juliet Eilperin and Philip Rucker, washingtonpost.com — March 15, 2013

[...]
The discussions center on the first greenhouse gas limits for power plants, which were proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly a year ago. Rewriting the proposal would significantly postpone any action and also might allow the agency to set more permissive standards for coal-fired power plants, which are roughly twice as polluting as those fueled by natural gas.
[...]Any retreat on the rules would be a blow to environmental groups and their supporters, who constituted a crucial voting bloc for President Obama and other Democrats in last year’s election.

White House spokesman Clark Stevens said suggestions of any sort of decision by the EPA was incorrect, noting the agency was still in the process of reviewing the 2 million comments it had received on the rule.

The move coincides with Obama’s call on Friday for a new federal fund to research clean energy alternatives for cars and trucks. The creation of an Energy Security Trust, which the president outlined in his State of the Union speech, would invest $2 billion in federal revenue from oil and gas leasing into breakthrough technologies.

“After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future,” Obama said.
[...]

How in the world do we get from Point A to Point B?

From a world “addicted” to fossil fuels … to one that is “quick fix” free?
SO, Maybe now more Clean Energy Research is the answer … (while the EPA does its due diligence and/or negligence.)
Obama proposes $2 billion plan for clean energy technology research

by Philip Rucker, washingtonpost.com — March 15, 2013

LEMONT, Ill. — President Obama on Friday proposed taking $2 billion in royalties the government receives from offshore oil and gas leasing to fund research into clean energy technologies designed to lessen the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels to power cars and trucks.Obama called for establishing an Energy Security Trust, which would divert $2 billion in federal revenue from oil and gas leasing toward clean energy research. The money would be invested in breakthrough technologies that ultimately, if successful, could remake America’s energy economy by weaning the transportation sector off oil.

“After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future,” Obama said. Speaking of scientific innovation, he added, “We have to maintain our edge. . . . We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward.”
[...]

“It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax, coming right out of your pocket,” Obama said of the increases. He added, “The only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas pricesis to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks off oil.”
[...]

Yes, Clean Energy Research is part of the answer … basic research is nearly always a good thing.

But does that mean we have to put everything else on hold, while we wait for that magic, silver-bullet to be discovered, to be patented, and hopefully commercialized into something most of us can afford?

Those magic break-throughs usually have that floating 5-10 year time horizon — that some how never seems to arrive!  Out here in the warming, oil-spiking world.
In the meantime, why can’t we pursue the things that we already know work?
Things like Regulations — they worked to end Acid Rain.

Things like a High-Capacity Grid — that works to move clean Hydro-energy from the Columbia River, all the way to smoggy L.A.

Things like Farming the Wind — it works to displace and replace those old school Fossil Fuel sources of ease.
Like I said:

It’s a long, long road from Here to There.  From Point A to B.


But at some point you actually HAVE to start traveling down that dusty Road. … Like the majority of American People want …

Have wanted — for about at least 2 Decades now.  SO, what’s with all this hurry up and wait, already?

The world’s climate is not getting anymore stable, you know;  The longer we delay.

via http://www.dailykos.com/user/jamess

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REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON AMERICAN ENERGY

Obama on American Energy Policy

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Hello, Illinois!  Hello!  It is good to be home!  (Applause.)

Well, let me begin by thanking Ann for the great introduction, the great work she’s doing, the leadership she’s showing with her team on so many different, amazing technological breakthroughs.  I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities.

It’s not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber.  (Laughter.)  I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber and they were pretty excited.  I told them I’d come out looking like the Hulk.  (Laughter.)  They didn’t believe that.

I want to thank my friend and your friend — a truly great U.S. Senator, Senator Dick Durbin — huge supporter of Argonne.  (Applause.)  An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that’s going on here — Bill Foster is here.  (Applause.)  Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne — glad he’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a number of state and local officials with us, including your Mayor, Brian Reaves.  (Applause.)

And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist, someone who has served our country so well over the past four years — our Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m here today to talk about what should be our top priority as a nation, and that’s reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class and an economy built on innovation.  In my State of the Union address, I said our most important task was to drive that economic growth, and I meant it.  And every day, we should be asking ourselves three questions:  How do we make America a magnet for good jobs?  How do we equip our people with the skills and training to do those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

Those of you who have chairs — I wasn’t sure everybody had chairs there.  (Laughter.)  Please feel free to sit down — I’m sorry.  Everybody was standing and I thought Argonne — one of the effects of the sequester, you had to — (laughter) — get rid of chairs.  (Applause.)  That’s good, I’m glad we’ve got some chairs.

So I chose Argonne National Lab because right now, few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy.

After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years.  We import less oil than we have in 20 years.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’re producing more natural gas than we ever have before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in America since the 1970s.  And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress across the board.  And it’s possible, in part, because of labs like this and outstanding scientists like so many of you, entrepreneurs, innovators — all of you who are working together to take your discoveries and turn them into a business.

So think about this:  Just a few years ago, the American auto industry was flat-lining.  Today, thanks in part to discoveries made right here at Argonne, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, pretty spiffy cars in the world are once again designed, engineered and built here in the United States.

And that’s why we have to keep investing in scientific research.  It’s why we have to maintain our edge — because the work you’re doing today will end up in the products that we make and sell tomorrow.  You’re helping to secure our energy future.  And if we do it well, then that’s going to help us avoid some of the perils of climate change and leave a healthier planet for our kids.  But to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making the right choices in Washington.

Just the other day, Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of our other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester — these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago — and specifically the effects it will have on America’s scientific research.  And one of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments.  They don’t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone — like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade, but also ends up creating all kinds of spinoffs that create good jobs and good wages.

So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that’s coming down the line.  And I’m quoting him now — he says, “This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the world races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities.”  I mean, essentially because of this sequester, we’re looking at two years where we don’t start new research.  And at a time when every month you’ve got to replace your smartphone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research, and we’re just sitting there doing nothing.

We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward.  We have to seize these opportunities.  I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs — whether it’s in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering — I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead.  (Applause.)

So I just want to be clear — these cuts will harm, not help, our economy.  They aren’t the smart way to cut our deficits.  And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth.  And if we do that, then we can move beyond governing from crisis to crisis to crisis, and we keep our focus on policies that actually create jobs and grow our economy, and move forward to face all of the other challenges we face, from fixing our broken immigration system to educating our kids to keeping them safe from gun violence.

And few pieces of business are more important for us than getting our energy future right.  So here at Argonne, and other labs around the country, scientists are working on getting us where we need to get 10 years from now, 20 years from now.  Today, what most Americans feel first when it comes to energy prices — or energy issues are prices that they pay at the pump. And over the past few weeks, we saw — we went through another spike in gas prices.  And people are nodding here.  They weren’t happy about it.  The problem is this happens every year.  It happened last year, the year before that.  And it’s a serious blow to family budgets.  It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.  And every time it happens, politicians — they dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas, but nothing happens and then we go through the same cycle again.

But here’s the thing:  Over the past four years, we haven’t just talked about it, we’ve actually started doing something about it.  We’ve worked with the auto companies to put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history.  And what that means is, by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  And the standards that we set are part of what’s driving some of the amazing scientists and engineers who are working here at Argonne Labs.  We’ve set some achievable but ambitious goals.  So in the middle of the next decade, we expect that you’ll fill up half as often, which means you spend half as much.  And over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump.  That’s worth applauding.  That’s big news.  (Applause.)

In fact, a new report issued today shows that America is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles.  You walk into any dealership today, and you’ll see twice as many hybrids to choose from as there were five years ago.  You’ll see seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more.  And as costs go down, sales are going up.

Last year, General Motors sold more hybrid vehicles than ever before.  Ford is selling some of the most fuel-efficient cars so quickly that dealers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.  So by investing in our energy security, we’re helping our businesses succeed and we’re creating good middle-class jobs right here in America.

So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil.  That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.

Now, I’d like to take credit for this idea because it’s a good idea, but I can’t.  Basically, my proposal builds off a proposal that was put forward by a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs.  And these leaders came together around a simple idea — much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So what they’ve proposed is let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.

We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; support scientists that are developing cheaper batteries that can go farther on a single charge; support scientists and engineers that are devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast to coast without using a drop of oil.

And the reason so many different people from the private sector, the public sector, our military support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money; it’s also about saving the environment, but it’s also about our national security.  For military officials — like General Paul Kelley, a former Commandant of the Marine Corps — this is about national security.  Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile.  For business leaders — like Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx — this is about economic security, because when fuel prices shoot up, it’s harder to plan investments, expand operations, create new jobs.

So these leaders all say we need to fix this.  This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea.  This is just a smart idea. And we should be taking their advice.  Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all.  (Applause.)  Let’s do that.  We can do it.  We’ve done it before.  We innovated here at Argonne.

And in the meantime, we’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years, where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power.  We’re working to make sure that here in America we’re building cars and homes and businesses that waste less energy.

We can do this.  The nature of America’s miraculous rise has been our drive, our restless spirit, our willingness to reach out to new horizons, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to innovate.  We are not satisfied just because things — this is how things have been.  We’re going to try something that maybe we just imagine now, but if we work at it, we’ll achieve it.  That’s the nature of America.  That’s what Argonne National Lab is about.  That’s what this facility is about.  (Applause.)

Two decades ago, scientists at Argonne, led by Mike Thackeray, who’s here today — where is Mike?  There he is right here.  (Applause.)  Mike started work on a rechargeable lithium battery for cars.  And some folks at the time said the idea wasn’t worth the effort.  They said that even if you had the technology, the car would cost too much, it wouldn’t go far enough.

But Mike and his team knew better.  They knew you could do better.  And America, our government, our federal government made it a priority, and we funded those efforts.  And Mike went to work.  And when others gave up, the team kept on at it.  And when development hit a snag, the team found solutions.  And a few years ago, all of this hard work paid off, and scientists here at Argonne helped create a lithium ion battery that costs less, lasts longer than any that had come before.

So what was just an idea two decades ago is now rolling off assembly lines in cutting-edge fuel efficient cars that you can plug in at night.  Well, imagine all the ideas right now with all of these young scientists and engineers that 20 years ago — or 20 years from now will be offering solutions to our problems that we can’t even comprehend — as long as we’re still funding these young scientists and engineers; as long as the pipeline for research is maintained; as long as we recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it — and, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive.  It’s too risky.  They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines.

So we’ve got to support it.  And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it.  That’s who we are.  That’s been the American story.

We don’t stand still, we look forward.  We invent.  We build.  We turn new ideas into new industries.  We change the way we can live our lives here at home and around the world.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  That’s how we invented the Internet.

When somebody tells us we can’t, we say, yes we can.  And I’m telling all of you, I am absolutely confident that America is poised to succeed in the same way as long as we don’t lose that spirit of innovation and recognize that we can only do it together.  And I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day to make sure that we do.

So congratulations, Argonne.  (Applause.)  Let’s keep it up.  Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.

Romney shellshocked, because he believed his own bullcrap

Romney shell shocked, because he believed his own bullcrap

“We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory,” said one senior [Romney] adviser. “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”

Thus, it was crushing when reality intruded their fantasy world.

Romney was stoic as he talked the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.”There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.

Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Why were they so certain of victory? Because they unskewed their own polls.

[T]hey believed the public/media polls were skewed – they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn’t reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney.

And why did they think the public polls were skewed?

The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

So let’s recap their logic:

1. They got big crowds, therefore,
2. people won’t turn out for Obama.
3. If people don’t turn out for Obama,
4. then the public polls are skewed.
5. If public polls are skewed,
6. then Romney is winning.

Of course, the size of Romney’s crowds had absolutely no bearing on whatever turnout Obama would get. But apparently, that idiotic and fact-free assumption is what made them so confident.

And hilariously wrong.

Copyright – Kos at Dailay Kos.

Obamacare explained

Obamacare explained

I got this explanation of Obama Care from a friend via facebook. I think this is very telling about why America as a whole believes this is not a good thing and how it can be presented as a positive.

“Finally met someone who has read and understands Obamacare: a benefits consultant who advised us on bringing our wound management system to insurance companies (we currently work with Medicare.)

To my surprise, she said that Obamacare is all about accountability, and that it is already incentivizing insurance companies to find better ways to treat patients. Providers actually make more money if patients get better faster (and stay better – there are penalties to providers for re-admittance), and the law enables creative ways to incentivize patients to improve their own health.

Listening to her, I got the feeling that the government had actually done something right – and, while insurance premiums increased this year, the increase was far less than in the past.

She said the administration gets an “F” for explaining Obamacare, but that it’s a really innovative bill that will improve care and maybe save us from medical bankruptcy.

Anyone who thinks we don’t need better care might consider that insuring a family of four is now about $20,000 annually while the median household income is $50,000.”

 

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Swing States 2012 update: More good news for Obama

 

Swing States 2012 update: More good news for Obama

New data released from the Obama campaign about how well they are doing in key swing states is certainly a good sign for President Obama’s re election prospects. In fact, the not well but very well one could say.

These numbers deal primarily with two specific areas.

1. Voter Registration

2. Early Voting.

Lets analyze them:

The Obama Campaign now has more registered voters in all key swing states except Colorado and New Hampshire and have registered more voters in all swing states than the Republicans. They have surpassed their own numbers of 2008. To put it plainly, with all the news splashing around about debates, Libya, Binder full etc, if one looks at the grassroots level, the Obama campaign is slowly but surely scripting a victory – stuff which is heard around on the news.

 

  • Iowa: We lead in vote-by-mail ballots cast, in-person early voting, total voting and total ballots requested. We also lead by a wider margin than we did at this point in 2008 in both ballots requested and ballots cast.

 

  • Ohio: We lead in ballots requested and ballots cast and are ahead of where we were at this time against John McCain.

 

  • Florida: At this point in 2008, Republicans outnumbered Democrats among absentee mail voters by more than 245,000. This year, Democrats have cut that margin to just 70,000 – an improvement of 175,000.

 

  • Nevada: At this point in 2008, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in absentee ballot requests by more than 8,000. This year, Democrats are in the lead.

 

  • North Carolina: At this point in 2008, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in absentee ballot requests by more than 39,000. Today, that margin is down to less than 34,000.

 

  • At this point in 2008, Republicans had an absentee ballot request advantage of 259,000 ballot requests in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Nevada. In 2012, Democrats have cut that margin by 75 percent to just 64,000.

OFA has also been highly effective at registering Latinos in the swing states, a demographic that leans heavily Democratic. They’ve been especially effective registering young Latinos. In fact, in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, 79% or more of the new registrations since August 1st have been under age 30, women, African American or Latino.

With regard to early voting, nearly twice as many Democrats requested early voting ballots than Republicans in Iowa and they are ahead of where they were in 2008. In Ohio, the lead in ballots requested and in number of ballots already cast, too.

Finally, by this point in 2008, Republican requests for early ballots had outpaced Democrats by 259,000. The gap this year? Only 64,000.

With all this encouraging data, the Obama campaign should certainly be happy but we cannot let this exuberance to step up even further our efforts to make sure another years happen.

 

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VP Debate Songified

It is time. It is time to listen to the vice-presidential hopefuls sing their best, lifting their promises and pleas to soaring heights and rousing melodies. May the best voice win.

Mitt Romney: A Remarkable Yesterday

Mitt Romney: A Remarkable Yesterday

Yesterday was a been a rather remarkable day of news in the Magical World of Mitt Romney. Let’s review a bit:

Mitt Romney assured a newspaper reporter that he had no intentions to push anti-abortion legislation, then had his campaign call up anti-abortion groups to tell them that no, he was really on their side … and explained the discrepancy by claiming he thought the question “do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion” was actually about the economy.

He said it would be best if employees could choose to get an insurance policy that covered birth control or not, but has also endorsed the Blunt Amendment, which demands employers get to decide the issue regardless of employee wishes. No word yet on how these two positions are supposed to be reconciled, other than screw-you-for-asking-that.

He explained to CNN that his tax cut plan, which looks extremely damn similar to the plan pushed by George W. Bush, to dismal effect, would not balloon the deficit like most sentient humans believe, because the magical growth fairy would make sure that did not happen.

He changed his mind on abortion yet again, now asserting that he’d “immediately remove funding for Planned Parenthood” because of their abortion ties.

Oh, and he also continued to reference a Navy SEAL who was killed in Libya during his stump speeches, despite the SEAL’s mother publicly asking him yesterday to stop—but then his campaign promised he would stop, after the media started asking about it, and he complained that the press was biased towards Obamacare, which seems to be a pipe dream, but meh, those are just average Mitt days. That last one does seem to indicate that his his campaign’s policy of not whining about media bias is no longer in effect, but in Mitt’s defense, I’m not sure I can name any date when it was.

I’ve been seeing people say that the Big Bird issue is played out; Mitt himself has said as much, too, sniffily claiming that Obama cares more about Big Bird than about jobs, which is a very Mitt thing to say. But here’s the thing: Mitt brought it up. It was supposed to be, I think, the typical version of a Mitt joke, in which Mitt Romney opines not that he would simply get rid of PBS, but specifically that he would fire beloved children’s character Big Bird, by name. In a debate that consisted of almost no actual specifics, it stood out for being one of the few concrete, recognizable policy promises in a sea of bland generalities and rhetoric-driven nothings. Not merely PBS, but the person right in front of Mitt, the debate’s moderator—and Big Bird. That was the policy detail Mitt Romney chose to take a stand on, in a night that saw few others. That was the one piffling government savings Mitt Romney could name, while the mechanics of loophole-closing and deduction-nixing that would make his signature tax cut plan work are, still, left entirely unspecified. We have on one hand the promise of five trillion in tax cuts; as balance, we have, so far, Big Bird. Big Bird, Jim Lehrer, and now, apparently, Planned Parenthood. Those are the precious few specifics we have been granted, so it is hardly surprising that anyone would focus on them. There’s nothing else to focus on, after all.

The Big Bird reference was characteristic Romney in every possible way. It was, apparently, supposed to be a witty remark, but like many of his witty remarks (“I like to fire people”) seems to stem from a mean premise. It represented budget tokenism that conservatives are fond of as dog whistle, but has a budgetary effect so small as to need multiple decimal places to even express. It singled out a government program that, when invoking Big Bird explicitly, is of primary benefit to the utterly powerless (children, in this case), citing it as a necessary sacrifice in order to accomplish the goals of the powerful (wealthy Americans and their tax cuts.) It was simultaneously pointless, vapid, and mean—the Mitt Romney trifecta. If the reaction to it resonated, that would be why. We have waited for a year for the candidate to flesh out even the barest detail on how he would govern, and what we are given, in his own words, is that he would fire Big Bird. That is self-caricature.

Mitt Romney gets into deep trouble whenever he mentions specifics, which is probably why he goes to such lengths to avoid them. Often it is because he misrepresents the truth; other times, it is because his specifics are either unpopular, pointless or both. His abortion rhetoric is this dynamic taken to the extreme, where he seems perfectly willing to take opposing positions on an issue within the same day, depending on the audience, and his campaign really does not give a particular damn if the entire country knows he’s taking both sides of the issue. This is not one candidate evolving from one position to another over the span of a decade—this is a candidate who can happily claim both positions at the same time, and if you have a problem with that it is only because the liberal media is biased against him in some way. When he does have a position—say, that the government needs to get Big Bird off the government dime, because that zero point zero zero zero one-th of the federal budget is too great a burden to bear—it is absolutely impossible to tell whether he actually believes that thing is one of the few details in the nation worthy of said mention, or is pointless word salad meant only to please some small set of crackpots that his campaign has identified as needing more pleasing. The frequency with which these small things come and go, however, would not seem to indicate Mitt Romney himself has any personal convictions towards them.

There has been only two constants of the Romney campaign, and The Tax Cut is by far the most omnipresent of the two. It is the tax cut for “job creators”, by which he means people who make enough money to have people working for them, and not necessarily for anyone else. On healthcare, his position is that Obamacare is both good and bad, to be “repealed” and “replaced” with something apparently both identical and not. On foreign policy, he went from having none to speak of to a cut-and-paste neocon version cribbed from the Bush masters of the same—while simultaneously being able to name very little that Obama has done that he would not. Even the constant rhetorical nods towards deregulation have been so unspecific as to be pointless—except with regards to his own industry, Wall Street. Now that industry he is certain he would like to see less regulated. That industry has an apparent enemy that can be mentioned by name—Dodd-Frank—and so gutting Dodd-Frank has managed to squeeze in as constant number two, in that unending rain of campaign fluff about (usually) nothing in particular.

It is not surprising, given all this, that the public opinion of Mitt Romney has been so low. The only modes of Mitt seem to be saying either something pointlessly mean (rain gear, cookies, Big Bird), awkwardly privileged (sports team owners) or saying nothing at all. If the only two constants are that Mitt Romney’s social class needs to pay less taxes, and that Mitt Romney’s business associates need to face fewer American laws, then that sounds remarkably like the platform of a bonafide grifter. An upper class grifter, to be sure, but a fine example of a self-centered, cash-oriented, ethically-challenged, empathically-challenged grifter. Politicians often are suspected of conflicting interests, but Mitt Romney is a special case; Mitt Romney’s financial interests and political promises are one and the same. There’s not a feather’s worth of conflict between them.

So we’ve got Mitt the liar, Mitt the awkward, Mitt the panderer, Mitt the flip-flopper, Mitt the privileged, and the Mitt of high finance, the Mitt whose only constant campaign policies consist of various reasons Mitt Romney deserves a tax cut. The people in his particular industry, finance, deserve special tax treatment. People who have money in the places he has money, like the Cayman Islands, deserve new rules to better free their money. There needs to be less disclosure on the sort of things people like Mitt Romney do, and Mitt is happy to personally fight for that rule by disclosing next to nothing himself and telling you that next to nothing is good enough.

I don’t actually believe Mitt Romney has an opinion on abortion, no. I also don’t believe he has a position on foreign policy, or on health care, or on (most) deregulation, or on environmental concerns or anything else. I believe his opinions on each thing are negotiated things, determined by how each one can best be used as bargaining chip for the tax cuts and financial rule-fiddling that constitute his only constant goals, and that how Mitt Romney would govern can be best approximated by presuming exactly that. Other people might call Romney the aspirational president of the One Percent, but I think even that might be giving this man and his whisper-thin convictions a bit too much credit. From what I’ve seen, Mitt Romney is primarily interested in becoming the president of the one.

Source all credits to:   http://www.dailykos.com/user/Hunter

Ten Main Reasons To Not Choose Mitt Romney

Ten Main Reasons To Not Choose Mitt Romney

1. Mitt Romney’s 47% remark is just plainly unforgivable. Although one might suggest it as a private dinner table talk gaffe, it is not. It is not a gaffe, it is not a conversational mistake, it is not a partial view captured on a camera, it is his thinking. A thought rooted so firmly which his tenure at Bain capital firmly establishes. He will be President for only 47% of America. A man running for Presidency will keep his sinister agenda and thought process secret by all means, but Romney stuns with his audacity to disclose them openly. So best of luck to the 53% American’s if he gets elected.

2. His open views that he would rather have let Detroit go bankrupt have deeper meanings than just economic dealings. It’s not about an industry which might have for its own failure and lack of focus went bankrupt. It’s about giving a second chance. The American way, the American hope and the American way of life. President Obama gave it a second chance and look how Detroit came back to life. It is not always about the money, but that is a feeling you hardly expect from a man for whom it’s always been about money at Bain capital.

3. His record as Governor of Massachusetts can only be described as appalling. I mean leaving office after just one term with 34% approval rating. And, he has the gumption to talk about the Presidents first term disapproval! His state slipped to 47th number in terms of economy and trade. His state lost 40000 jobs during his tenure, which is double the national average. He raised taxes for the middle and lower income households while having tax cuts for the super rich.

4. And, despite his claims now to like teachers, he slashed $250 million from K-12 in his first budget as Governor. Romney said that he was a “severely conservative” governor. And, his record of 844 vetoes, more than 700 of which were overridden by the state legislature, offers confirmation. He vetoed bills to raise the minimum wage, provide funding for stem cell research, provide emergency contraception, and protect against flooding in his state. And he now claims he has more bi partisan approach than the President.

5. He outsourced as many jobs as he could to India and China. Saying it was just off shoring is a matter of semantics. An American losing his job, still remains an American losing his job.

6. Tax returns. Should we even bother? 14% in 2011. And for a guy whose father released years of his own returns when he was running, Romney didn’t actually turn out to be his father’s ideal. Cayman Islands, Swiss accounts! Ya, sure elect him, he can solve the deficit using his own money.

7. He has promised to eliminate Planned Parenthood, and is one the most anti-choice Presidents America will have in decades. His policies are likely to endanger the rights of women in America for generations to come.

8. Romney has plans for the most bizarre federal budgets cuts of the magnitude not seen in decades. He has plans that will turn out Medicare into a voucher program, and supports privatizing Social security. He further plans to not only extend tax cuts started by the Bush administration but also add other tax cuts to the super rich which would run into trillions. And who will pay for it, the middle and working class families.

9. His Foreign policy can be easily termed as any diplomat’s worst nightmare. He plans to throw away four years of painstaking work of the Obama administration’s to introduce a more accommodative foreign policy and replacing it with the Bush era Cowboy style framework of dealing with nations. Permanent Defense spending increases accompanied with, more military interventions in the Middle East and Afghanistan are on the cards.

10. Deregulation of Wall Street, weaker clean air and clean energy standards, social engineering from the Right. If you like the catastrophic mess Bush left this country and want more of it, Romney is your candidate.

Obama: Why Many Think He Deserves a Second Term

Obama: Why Many Think He Deserves a Second Term

As of today if one were to evaluate the performance of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, one might find it difficult to give it an exact grade. Not difficult to imagine given that no process seems to be in completion as of now, whether you are talking about the economy, the job situation, the war on terror or Afghanistan or the healthcare. So, why is it so difficult to have a binary assessment of President Barack Obama’s tenure so difficult? Let us try and figure it out step wise.

The Inheritance

In recent history, no American President has acquired such a difficult legacy from a previous administration as Barack Obama did. And I am not blaming the bush administration for all the problems. The problems were acquired or to state otherwise were ‘accumulating’ over a period of time and waiting to happen. Just a summary of them would make any President squirm. The United States of America still fighting a devastating war on terror, economic wastage of decades finally coming to roost, simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, eruption of racial and ethicist divisions in the homeland and much more.

The hope

On the top of it, the ascendency of Brack Obama as President seemed like a panacea for all evils that besieged America. No doubt, his 2008 election campaign of, “Yes We Can” and the subsequent environment of ‘change’ and ‘hope’ enveloping America contributed even further to extraordinary expectations. But as he realized (or perhaps even knew) that mere slogans or expectations do not change things on the ground. Even before he could settle in the majestic confines of the White house, he knew he had his hands full. The Wall Street and the global markets were tumbling. Savings of millions of American households were dwindling; jobs were disappearing, war casualties increasing and the big American Hope crumbling. He knew more than anyone else that he would have to forget his own agenda of healthcare, economic and administrative reform that he promised America as a candidate for now and deal with issues at hand first.

And deal he did: The Tenure-

To Their credit Barack Obama and his team kept their sanity in these mad times. Knowing fully well that the problems besieging America would not solve on their own, he and his team set off to the task. The first task was to end the immediate economic woes. Not the economy on the whole, but parts of it. His stern message and legislations for the Wall Street were the first. The revival of American automotive industry came next, followed by tax cuts and investment initiatives, including a major infrastructure revival programme. To some relief, some of these initiatives started bearing fruit early. The automotive industry revived, the mortgage mayhem stopped and the Wall Street stabilized.

Next on the agenda was the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. True to his word, Barack Obama ensured that governance in Iraq was safely handed to the people of Iraq and troops were finally back home. Another feather in his cap remains the destruction of Al Qaeda, including the killing of its top leadership – Bin Laden included. A well thought plan was laid for the war on terror. Far from the “You are with us or them” rhetoric of the previous administration, Obama focused on a more inclusive and accommodative foreign policy in which countries across the world were involved in the decision making process on this front. From his path breaking speech in Cairo in 2009 to American support for democracy in the ‘Arab Spring’, the world has seen America regaining a lot of goodwill, which was seen to be lost in the Bush-Cheney era.

Another milestone has been the passing of the Patient protection and Affordable Health Care Pact (PPACA) also referred to as Obamacare. A major personal initiative of the President, this act vastly divided the political atmosphere in Washington for a while, but is gradually gaining acceptance, aided by the United States Supreme Court ruling terming it fair and constitutional. It is pertinent to mention here that this is one of the most significant changes to American Health Care system since the introduction of Medicare in 1965.

Another Four Years? Why?

With all the good work mentioned above, it would seem even remotely unfair to ask why, instead of why not, for another four years for Obama to be the President of the United States of America. And the answer to that is not simple. The problem is, though the balls have set rolling and problems are getting fixed, the work isn’t completed yet. What is even more worrisome is that many American’s don’t understand the work in progress. For they will only be satisfied, not only when the problems are fully fixed, but also evidently seem to be fixed. And any political commentator worth his salt can tell you that’s never possible. The task of solving a problem is one just one aspect, convincing others that you are solving them is an entirely different political endgame. And that is the flux Obama finds himself in. He is solving problems and seemingly that’s not enough, and that’s the message the Republican’s want you to have.

Conclusion

For me, as espoused above, Barack Obama deserves another term at the office beyond doubt. People should understand that work is in progress and in the right direction, but its fruits will come to bear in time. Any change in the team at the White House now will be disastrous, and I am not saying this because I am a Democrat or else. People have to look beyond party lines and see the crux of the problem or problems America has been facing. One has to see it as a team fixing a problem, not a Democratic or Republican team fixing a problem. America has had enough, it is dealing with its problems finally now, let it finish. I would let it. What about you?

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