More Than 180 Voter Suppression Laws Proposed

By jamar Thrasher, Third and State

We have written a lot about Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law, which has been put on hold by the courts for the upcoming election. Turns out we’re not alone when it comes to voting suppression.

That may not be news to you, but you may be surprised to know that more than 180 voter suppression laws were proposed in 2011 and 2012, according to The New York Times. These are laws defined as restricting or limiting voter access based on a myriad of qualifications.

Among the voter suppression laws enacted over the past two years: reductions to early voting, tougher voting rules for ex-convicts, limitations to voter registration drives, and (drum roll, please) voter identification requirements. The data were collected and analyzed by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

From the Times report:

A wave of at least 180 proposed laws tightening voting rules washed over 41 statehouses in 2011 and 2012, by the count of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Only a fraction of those bills passed and survived the scrutiny of the courts, but the new rules cover voters in 13 states, several quite populous, in time for next month’s election. More laws are to start afterward.

Partisans and experts are arguing, over the airwaves and in the courts, about the effects of all this on voter turnout, for which few studies exist. (The most rigid voter ID laws are believed to affect about 10 percent of eligible voters, said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center.)

October 25, 2012

We march inexorably to the election.  Gloria Allred says she has proof Mitt Romney committed perjury but can’t get the sealed files released.  It seems he covered up for his client Staples owner in his divorce settlement saving the guy millions.  Bain Capital owned Staples which is now closing 60 stores.

We already know Romney is willing to say anything.  Now he’s trying to mitigate his stand on gay issues.  Someone needs to grab that Etch A Sketch from his hands.

As usual I’ve been following politics in my second home of New Mexico.  The Senate seat of retiring Jeff Bingaman is up this fall.  Congressman Martin Heinrich is running against former Congresswoman Heather Wilson.  You might remember her from GonzalesGate when she put pressure on the U.S. Attorney to prosecute voter fraud cases.  He was fired because of that and the resulting scandal bit deeply into the Bush White House until the Attorney General had to quit.  She subsequently lost her seat in Congress as payback and now is losing the Senate race.  I hop to interview Senator-elect Heinrich when I go to Santa Fe in two weeks.  I’ll be there until December 3rd.

One of our own Senators, former State Senator Raphael Musto, pled not guilty to additional charges this week.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is returning to the Commonwealth next week.

Commonwealth Court is asking the state why it is continuing its Voter ID ad campaign.  Billboards in Hispanic neighborhoods remain telling voters they must have acceptable photo ID to vote.  By order of that same Judge we do not.  This seems to be a blatant attempt by Republicans to engage in election fraud.

Speaking of Pennsylvania Republicans and election fraud the moron from King of Prussia who got caught dumping Democratic voter registration forms in Virginia is facing prosecution.  You don’t want to be Colin Small.  I suspect his name reflects the size of his IQ.  Isn’t it curious that the Party protesting about voter fraud is the one which routinely practices election fraud?

Labor is hitting Mitt on the Sensata job outsourcing:

Romney refuses to create separation from Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (rape is part of god’s plan)

Gen. Colin Powell endorsed the President:

Kathy Boockvar has a good new ad up:

Speaking of good campaign ads here’s one from Erik Saar (hat tip to Fran the pipefitting man for sending it):

Saar’s opponent is State Rep. Jim Cox, former CoS to Rep. Sam Rohrer.  Since Sam left to pursue windmills Cox has become the chief sponsor of the Commonwealth Caucus Tax Fraud.  When Saar pointed out in a debate that Cox’s math doesn’t add up Tea baggers walked out:

The Obama campaign has a new ad comparing Richard Mourdock and Paul Ryan.  Speaking of which our own Tom Smith is on the same page as these other mad men:

Republicans have made the debt a major issue even though they’re principally responsible for it.  The Tea Party morons were strangely silent when we were all protesting the massive budget deficits run up by Reagan, Bush Senior and Bush Junior.  W ran it up to $10 trillion.  The Center for American Progress has a great explanation for where the debt came from:

While slashing budgets for almost every program Gov. Gasbag has been preaching fiscal austerity.  His budgets now have Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate higher than the national average.  While most states are seeing decreases in unemployment ours is rising.  In spite of these failures the Governor saw fit to grant $10,000 raises to his staffers.  Think about that when you see disabled Pennsylvanians denied state programs and benefits, when yous ee poor Moms struggling because welfare payments were eliminated and schools devastated.

Of course not all Pennsylvanians are hurting.  Vahan Gureghian, the charter school magnate known for giving millions in campaign contributions for his profit driven, underperforming schools, is doing rather well.  Because your property tax payments are going into his pockets he and his wife has decided to build a huge mansion in Florida.  At 20,000 square feet the Palm Beach manse is something garish and a fine example of excess.  Aren’t you glad you helped pay for it?

The Corrupt Hershey Trust: Stop Eating Kisses

Milton S. Hershey not only built a multinational confection company but left his entire fortune to at risk children.  Creating The Hershey Trust to educate and care for orphans was the legacy he left.  The Milton Hershey School owns a controlling interest in the candy company and earnings from sales of Hershey bars, Kisses, York Peppermint Patties and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups fueled the school for decades until a small elite group of Republicans saw it as a cash cow for their politics.  

Former Attorney General Leroy Zimmerman, father-in-law of current AG candidate David Freed, gained access to the Board of Directors and eventually became its Chair.  In that capacity he hugely increased the compensation of Board members and stocked the Board with GOP heavyweights with no expertise in early child development or education.  Zimmerman eventually racked his pay up to $500,000/year.  Other Board members were also unjustly compensated.  Much of that money turned up in campaign contributions to Republican candidates.  Pennsylvania, infamously, has no limits on campaign contributions to non-federal candidates.

The Hershey Trust became a slush fund for the Pennsylvania GOP.  Worse, its mission to provide for and educate orphans was liberalized to the point where it became just another prep school where disadvantaged kids were left out in the cold.

The Hershey Trust Board then began engaging in criminal fraud.  They bought a local golf course in severe financial trouble at triple its value.  One of the beneficiaries of their largesse was the CEO of Hershey Foods, a clear conflict of interest.  After blowing $13 million on something with no connection to education they burned another $5 million on a Scottish style clubhouse.  Why did the Board overpay for a failing business venture?  Its local owners were prominent Republicans who, we assume, used some of their newfound funds for campaign contributions.

This was a sweet deal:  churning money supposedly for educating poor children to their political allies and further cementing their status as major players.  Prominent Republicans such as Tom Ridge and Tom Corbett have benefited.  Lynn Swann, a defeated candidate for Governor wound up a Board member.

This is an important issue today because the state Attorney General’s office has been investigating the Trust.  This investigation is similar to that of Jerry Sandusky in that its taking far too long to complete.  It also involves the welfare of children.  David Freed, the GOP candidate for Attorney General, is the son-in-law of Leroy Zimmerman the chief target of the investigation.  It would be a clear conflict of interest.

What can you do?  Don’t vote for Freed and stop buying Hershey products until this slush fund is stopped.

Did Barletta Pull A BonusGate?

Gene Stilp made his name going around the region with a giant pink pig designed to shame public servants who were greedy.  BonusGate was his major issue and he railed against those elected officials who used taxpayer resources for political purposes.  Now he’s running for Congress against Lou Barletta.  They had a debate the other night and the Congressman didn’t have the balls to show up.  Instead he sent staffer Shawn Kelly.  Kelly isn’t on Lou’s campaign he is a taxpayer paid Congressional staffer.  Taxpayer compensated employees doing political work on the public dime is illegal and the fuel on which Stilp has made his name by focusing on it.  How stupid do you have to be then to send such a staffer to debate him?

If it turns out any public funds were expended to send Kelly to this debate (cars, meals, cell phone use, etc) then Lou Barletta broke the law.  Interestingly Gort 42 says that when he contacted Kelly in the past about political questions the staffer correctly said he couldn’t respond.  That ethical stand obviously didn’t last for long.  Did Kelly violate the Hatch Act?  It certainly appears so.

Anderson Refuses to Answer About No Show Job

I’m not the only asking these questions now and not the only one to whom she won’t respond.

Democrats in Erie have been wondering why former County Executive Mark Divecchio endorsed Anderson over Sean Wiley.  Sen. Jane Earll decided to retire making this an open seat and one Dems feel they have a chance to flip.  The fact the guy turned on them created some amount of controversy.  A direct mail piece sent to voters announcing his endorsement was paid for by the Northwest Good Government PAC.  The PAC is controlled by attorney Roger Richards, the same man who allegedly is funding Anderson’s no show job.  I suppose this is his warped concept of good government.

PA’s Newest Abomination Introduced in State House

A new bill would deny food stamps to any woman who cannot prove her child was conceived via rape.  If you think Richard Nourdock and Todd Akin are extreme include RoseMarie Swanger, Tom Caltagirone, Mark Gillen, Keith Gillespie, Adam Harris and Mike Tobash to that list.

Most rapes aren’t reported to the police.  It may be that only 3% of rapists ever go to prison and only 9% are event prosecuted.  Few women are willing to go through more torment dispensed by our injustice system.  Denying infants food and nutrition, somehow, is a Christian value among this bill’s sponsors.  Caltagirone is the lone Democratic sponsor of the bill but he represents the Catholic Church in Harrisburg and does their bidding.

The bill denies welfare payments to low income women based on the number of children they have.  What right, first of all, do they have to dictate to others on their personal sexual behavior?  People have the right to engage in consensual sex.  I find Caltagirone’s position especially hypocritical considering he was charged with lying naked in his District office for a female staffer to see when she entered the office.  He allegedly ran out after her nude and carrying a gun.  Tom Corbett, according to Rep. Caltagirone to me, helped get him off on the charge and is why he gave him a $500 contribution in his first run for AG.  When I disclosed that contribution he came after me.  Now, claiming to be a Christian, he’d deny food to hungry children because he doesn’t like their parent’s sexual proclivities.

How Christian of these snakes.

News & Notes October 24, 2012

I had an idea for an election game which I passed on to the Obama campaign this morning.  It’s called Romnesia Bingo and every time Mitt flip flops on a key issue you find that position on your card and get the block.  When you get BINGO you lose something instead of winning:  your Pell grant, veterans benefits, food stamps, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment, etc.

Another independent group is running ads in the Attorney general race.  This time the target is David Freed and the ad is running in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

Republicans have launched a massive election fraud effort this year.  Voter Id was just part of it.  In Ohio billboards went up trying to intimidate minorities from voting.  In Arizona’s Ottawa County mailers went out to 2300 voters giving them the wrong date for the election.  Another Arizona county sent mailers which, in their Spanish (the English part was correct) gave the wrong date for the election.

Here in Pennsylvania confusion continues as to Voter ID.  Gov. Corbett has refused to expend enough to re-educate voters about the current law.  After spending $10 million before the courts struck down his voter suppression bill he should be matching that amount to inform voters they don’t need a photo ID next month.  How many eligible voters might not vote because they think they need ID?  I stopped in at Berks County Election Services this morning and Deb Olivieri told me there remains much confusion locally.  She also said they’ve processed 35,000 voter registration forms for the election.

One of Richard Mellon Scaife’s newspapers continues telling voters they need ID.  They don’t.  Shame on this war mongering liar.

A Federal Appeals court blocked Indiana’s law defunding Planned Parenthood.

Erie State Senate candidate Janet Anderson still hasn’t come clean about her “employment” status.

If you missed the foreign policy debate here’s a short primer:

State Representative Tarah Toohil is under attack in a YouTube video showing her with drug paraphernalia:

The Boy Scout perversion files include former Scout leaders who never were accused of molesting scouts.  Why were they on the list?  They were gay.

Not that Sarah Palin is racist or anything, why would we ever think that?  But she did just accuse President Obama for a “shuck and jive” on Libya.  Interesting racist choice of words…

A debate of alternative candidates for President was held this week.

I’m not implying that Paul Ryan may not be the sharpest tack in the room but he doesn’t understand Obama’s “horses and bayonets” comment from Monday’s debate.  Would someone please explain it to him?

Gov. Corbett got a mysterious $1.5 million donation from the Republican Governors Association in which the original donors aren’t known.  It is illegal for state candidates to accept corporate contributions and the RGA raises money from them.  Is Tom Corbett crooked?

Indiana Senate Candidate Does A Todd Akin

Richard Mourdock, the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate i Indiana, told a debate audience yesterday that when a woman gets pregnant from rape “is something God intended to happen.”  He has received $5,000 from Paul Ryan and he is currently running a commercial with Mitt Romney endorsing him.

This is merely the latest outrageously out of touch comment from a Republican this year.  I could do (and I’ve thought about this) greatest hits list of objectionable statements made by  extreme right wing Republican candidates this year.  It harkens back to Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment.  These neanderthals don’t think women actually get raped and these positions reflect their belief that women shouldn’t be able to abort fetuses conceived through rape.  Akin doesn’t think women can get pregnant through rape (18,000/year do).  Another moron said recently that women no longer need abortions to save their lives because of medical advances.  48,000 women a year still die from childbirth.

So what exactly are the consequences of Mourdock’s remark?  If pregnancy is part of God’s plan (for those who still believe in a magical, mysterious being who lives in the sky, among other Gods to whom they worship) then why isn’t mass murder?  How about war, aggravated assault or armed robbery?  Why wouldn’t they also be art of some master plan?  If so we don’t need courts, prosecutors or prisons.  Imagine the money that would save.

BREAKING NEWS: AP, Media Fumble News Story

by WALTER BRASCH

On the Sunday before the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney and some of his senior staffers played a flag football game with members of the Press Corps on Delray Beach, Fla.

Ashley Parker of the Associated Press, apparently mistaking fashion reporting for news, reported that Mitt Romney was “wearing black shorts, a black Adidas T-shirt and gray sneakers.” Romney’s team, composed of senior campaign staff whom Parker identified, was “clad in red T-shirts.” She didn’t report what the members of the press wore, their names, or how many were on a team, but did acknowledge she “also played, winning the coin toss for her team, but doing little else by way of yardage accrual.” Yardage accrual? If this was Newswriting 101, and she put that phrase into a news story, there wouldn’t be one college prof anywhere in the country who wouldn’t have red-marked it, and suggested she stop trying to be cute.

Romney was a starter-we don’t know which position he played-made a “brief beach appearance” and left when “the game was in full swing,” possibly not wanting to get too mussed up by having to interact with commoners. There is so much a reporter could have done with Romney’s failure to finish the game, but didn’t. Parker, however, did tell readers breathlessly awaiting the next “factoid” that Ann Romney “made a brief appearance . . . after cheerleading from the sidelines.” She was protected by the Secret Service who served as the offensive line, undeniably allowing her to take enough time to do her nails, brush her hair, put on another coat of makeup for the AP camera, and then throw a touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7. At 14-14, the game was called because, reported Parker, “Mr. Romney’s aides needed to get to debate prep, and the reporters had stories to file.” Obviously, stories about a beach flag football game on a Sunday afternoon was critical enough breaking news to stop the game and breathlessly inform the nation.

Amidst the sand, Parker reported, “There is a long history of candidates and their staff members occasionally interacting with reporters on a social level.” She referred to a couple events during the 2008 campaign; Sen. Barack Obama played Taboo with reporters; Sen. John McCain hosted a barbeque for the media. Those facts alone should have kept any alert comedy writer, satirist, or political pundit in material for the next four years.

A beach football game between politician and press may seem innocent enough-a couple of hours of fun to break the stress of a long, and usually annoying, political campaign. But there’s far more than flags pulled from shorts.

Reporters who socialize with the power elite-and this happens far more than it doesn’t happen-often fail to do their primary job: challenge authority, as the Founding fathers so eloquently asked. It wasn’t White House reporters who broke the Watergate story that eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, it was two police reporters at the Washington Post, who took abuse heaped upon them by the White House reporters and hundreds of others, including some of their own newspaper, for going on what was called a vindictive witch hunt.  It was the media who proved they were better stenographers than reporters who dutifully chowed down whatever crumbs they were fed by the Bush-Cheney administration, and seldom questioned why the U.S. was invading Iraq. A few from the major media and many from the alternative press who did question authority were dismissed as mere gadflies. It was the sycophantic press that also didn’t question the destruction of civil liberties by the passage of the PATRIOT Act.

Against policy wonk/environmentalist Al Gore in 2000, Americans said they would rather have a beer with George W. Bush. Many of the press did have beers with candidate Bush, who once invited the media onto his ranch to watch him shoot and then barbeque pigeons for a group barbecue.

Every year in the nation’s capital is a high society event, the “Gridiron dinner.” Everyone-politicians, members of the press, and a horde of actors and singers-dress up in ball gowns and white-tie tuxedos to drink and schmooze. When it isn’t Gridiron Season, there’s all kinds of social events at all kinds of places that reporters just have to attend in order to get their stories, they simplistically justify.

Sports reporters who are too close to the teams or the sports they cover are derisively known as “homers,” not for Homer Simpson, who some of them act like, but because they favor the home team. Entertainment reporters and arts critics feel important because publicists will often go to extraordinary lengths to get them face-time with celebrities. To prove how “independent” they are, some, who have no discernible creative talent, will write snarky columns about celebrities and their works, thinking they are clever rather than the pompous self-aggrandizing jerks they really are. Many in the media-especially those in television and the print reporters who often do TV talk-show commentaries-probably should drop the pretense they’re journalists and just accept the appellations that they are celebrities.

It isn’t just reporters who cover national stories who get too close to their sources. There are now state and metropolitan gridiron dinners. At a local level, Reporters who cover the police and city council are often on a first-name basis with their sources. Even if they honestly believe they are objective, and will knock down lies and deceptions, they often don’t. They believe they need these sources to get more news, and are afraid that if they become too tough, the news, which is fed to them, will somehow dry up. They often accept “background” and “off-the-record” comments, which they never report or attribute, because somehow it makes them feel that they, unlike their readers of a lesser level, are “in the know.” And yet, every reporter will swear upon a stack of style manuals that he or she is objective and independent.

Don’t believe that? Put yourself in the position of being a reporter. You’re sitting at your desk in the bullpen of a newsroom, now decimated by layoffs. In walks a man in a three-piece suit and a woman in fashionably-acceptable skirt, blouse, blazer, and two-inch heels. They have a story to tell. Now, you may think that because they are PR people or middle-management executives for a large corporation, they are suspect to begin with, but they, like you, are college graduates; they are eloquent; they have a news release with the story laid out. Want anything else? They’re more than pleased to get it for you.

Now, the next day, while walking outside your office, a bag lady accosts you. She’s wearing little more than rags. Her hair is unkempt; her breath stinks. It’s doubtful she was ever a sorority president. “You a reporter?” she barks, knowing that if you’re wearing jeans, a nice but not expensive shirt and a tie you probably aren’t a corporate executive or big-shot politician. She wants to tell you a story-something about a corporation that did something very unethical and possibly illegal. You’re running late to your appointment with a physical trainer who has promised to keep you fit and attractive. You just want to get past this obstacle.

Who do you relate to? Those who look, act, and think more like you-or those who you probably wouldn’t have a drink with after work?

Don’t expect the media to stop having social encounters with their sources; it will never happen. But, do expect that maybe some will heed the call of the Founding Fathers and be independent of the sources they are expected to cover.

[Walter Brasch spent more than 40 years as a journalist and university professor, covering everything from local school board meetings to the White House.  He is currently a syndicated columnist and book author. He acknowledges that in his early 20s he was enamored by being at the same parties as the “power elite,” but quickly got over it, and has been fiercely independent from the power-elites, including the power-media, whether at local, state, or national levels. His current book is the critically-acclaimed Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D.

Latest Book: Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution

(www.greeleyandstone.com)

www.walterbrasch.com

www.walterbrasch.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/walterbrasch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Horses, Bayonets And Iran’s Path to the Sea

The final presidential debate on foreign policy was held last night in Boca Raton, Florida, a key swing state.  Mitt brought his newest Etch A Sketch and pivoted directly to the center by abandoning long held positions on foreign policy.  He spent most of the debate attacking President Obama’s policies while then agreeing with them.  The only aha moment happened when the Republican criticized the size of the Navy compared with 1917 and the President snarkily related the world has changed since then and “we no longer need horses and bayonets either.”  Has Romney heard of satellites?

The biggest mistake though was about Iran when the clueless GOP candidate said that Syria was Iran’s “path to the sea.”  My jaw dropped on that one.  I’ll take a wild guess here and say Romney flunked geography.  Maybe he was too busy bullying gay classmates.  Iran is directly on two different seas.  Maybe Mitt has heard of the Strait of Hormuz?  It’s the choke point in the Persian Gulf which Iran has threatened to close if it is attacked.  Iran borders the entire eastern coast of that body of water.  Iraq happens to lie between Iran and Syria also so there’s not even a land path to Syria for the Persian nation.

The debate began with Libya and Mitt ignored the issue and segued into a rant against the Arab Spring.  So now we know he didn’t support the movement for democracy which swept the Arab world last year.  I suspect he was afraid of stepping into another trap by sparring over that issue.  He called for gender equality in the Arab world, something he doesn’t support for American women.

The President said that Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated.  Later, in spite of this comment, he said AQ is our biggest geopolitical threat.  I think China claims that title.  Romney called Russia our biggest geopolitical foe, something Obama pounced upon saying Al Qaeda has that distinction.  The 1980’s wants its foreign policy back.

Romney went after the president several times all evening for attacking him.  He’d say “attacking me isn’t an agenda.”  That wasn’t stopping him from attacking the President however.  He attacked him all night while then agreeing with his policies.  Weird.

Obama hit hard on Mitt’s recent foreign policy speech when he said he’d keep troops in Iraq.  Romney struck back with a barb about Putin and Obama’s promise to him he’d have more flexibility after the election.

The debate moved on to Syria and the uprising there which has now killed 30,000 people.  The opposition forces there are disparate and are being infiltrated by Islamic jihadists seeing an opportunity.  Because of that uniting them is difficult and we must be careful to whom we’re providing arms.  I was astounded that Mitt didn’t seem to grasp any of this as he attacked the President for not uniting those groups.  We don’t want to do that!  The lesson of Afghanistan is that today’s mujahideen can be tomorrow’s Taliban.

Moderator Bob Scheiffer then went on to Egypt and asked if there were any regrets.  The President answered that the notion we’d allow tanks to run over civilian protesters was unacceptable.  He said Egypt must abide by its treaty with Israel.  Asked if he’d have stuck with Mubarak Mitt went on to say we should have worked to establish democracy before it exploded.  So he’d meddle in the internal affairs of other nations?  That’s reckless.  He did say our debt is our weakest foreign policy threat bit ignored the fact it was created by his Republican predecessors.  Even the current deficit is the result of George W. Bush’s failed policies.  The wrecked economy destroyed revenues, two unpaid for wars and the Bush tax cuts are responsible for the deficit.  That’s reality.  It’s time Republicans accepted personal responsibility for their failures instead of trying to pin them on the President.

The next section was about “America’s Role In the World.  Mitt spent this by attacking the slowly recovering economy.  Of course he’d return us to the failed policies which caused all of it.  He said he’d strengthen our military.  We already spend more of defense than the rest of the world combined, a budget which is strangling our budget.  He’d expand defense spending by another $2 trillion over ten years.  That’s crazy.  We need to rebuild our infrastructure instead of building more tanks and fighters for a Cold war which ended twenty years ago.

Obama reminded voters of the specter of Bush/Cheney but failed to attack the fact that 17 of Romney’s 24 foreign policy advisers are from that failed Administration.  He threw out stale talking points about energy and teacher’s unions.  Later he said he loved teachers.  Sure he does he just doesn’t want them teaching.  He claimed “we’re on the road to Greece” which is absurd.

At this point the debate was about domestic policies and had lost its focus.  Scheiffer did so saying its time to get back to foreign policy.  He did an admirable job managing the debate.  I thought at times he allowed Romney to filibuster the time but he kept things on topic and allowed both men to speak.

Romney did call attention to some educational successes he had as Governor and the President (erroneously) claimed they happened before he was Governor.

Scheiffer asked Romney how he’d pay for his increased military spending.  The first response was that he’d get rid of ObamaCare.  The problem with that is that the ACA actually reduces the budget deficit so getting rid of it actually worsens the problem.  He said he’d cut programs “we don’t absolutely need.”  So what is his definition of that?  He also said he’d stop federal Medicaid and send it to the states.  That’ll bankrupt the states and end the program.  Mitt also said he balanced budget at the Olympics and in business.  In reality he only did so with government grants.

Obama correctly called him out saying his math doesn’t work.  This is also where the “horses and bayonets” comment was played.  It highlighted Romney’s lack of understanding how technology has advanced.  We don’t need 600 ships to patrol the seas with satellites overhead doing it in real time.  Battleships became obsolete with the advent of aircraft carriers.  Mitt’s mind set remains in 1917.

The issue of Israel was very disappointing.  All anyone talked about was the state which is practicing genocide against Palestinians.  Not one word was said in defense of these people being systematically starved by Israel.  The entire Israel discussion illustrated the power of the Jewish vote and lobby.  Both men agreed an attack on Israel is an attack on us.There was no real disagreement on the substance here.

Mitt went on after this to condemn Obama for what he called his “World Apology Tour.”  This is a myth perpetuated by Faux News and Rush Limbaugh with no basis in reality.  Pandering to your base using lies doesn’t sit well in a serious foreign policy debate.  It was disgraceful and offensive.

Mitt kept saying we’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran, it was one of his main talking points.  He ignored the other side of that coin:  we’re another four years along without a nuclear Iran.

Mitt kept reversing long held personal stands such as Afghanistan.  Instead of saying he opposed a timeline the new Etch A Sketch Mitt said he agrees with the President.  He also pivoted on killing Osama Bin Laden after saying he wouldn’t have gone into Pakistan to get him.  Now he says it was the right call (and agreeing with Obama yet again).

The last section of the debate was about the rise of China.  Obama spent a small amount of time pointing out Romney’s extensive personal investments there but I thought he should have concentrated on that weakness more.  He did focus on the importance of funding research and development and improving education so we can compete with China in the future.  Romney would cut those.  Mitt went on again about teachers (most of which are women in a year when the women’s vote is crucial) and said “government doesn’t hire teachers.  Actually it does.  Most teachers are public sector workers.

Romney then went on to say he didn’t oppose the bailout of Detroit.  He did.  Mitt’s plan for GM and Chrysler was to let them go into bankruptcy and borrow money in the private sector to restructure.  Unfortunately the reality was quite different.  Because of Republican deregulation of industry the financial meltdown created a crisis in lending which meant banks had NO MONEY to lend, to anyone.  GM and Chrysler could not have restructured in the way Romney supported.  They would have entered bankruptcy and would have been liquidated.  Obama’s plan was to invest government funds to save millions of jobs.  Mitt opposed that policy.

Mitt Romney again illustrated he will say anything to get elected.  He actually changed some positions from just last week.  Today President Obama, at a rally in Florida, ridiculed his opponent for another attack of Romnesia.  The President showed a complete understanding of foreign policy while Mitt focused on talking points he’d memorized.  He appeared uncomfortable and nervous.  The Republican agreed with most of the President’s foreign policies last night and was unable to forge any differences.  My gut reaction is that Mitt has no understanding of foreign policy, military affairs or even what constitutes a strategic national security strategy.  The man can’t remember what’s on his own website on policy areas or what he said in last week’s debate.  Either that or he consciously said anything he thought would get him elected.  That’s a serious character issue.

Foreign policy always come sup in a president’s term. Our foes always test a new leader to judge his mettle.  Sending mixed signals shows weakness and indecisiveness and invites attacks.

A map of Iran showing how it sits on both the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea: