Sunday, September 30, 2012

Re-visiting Kim Chatman in Ramstein, Germany, and getting a glimpse of America right in the middle of Germany - Bonus: Little Tiger

By Patrick

Two years ago, in November 2010, Kathleen and I visited Kim Chatman at her home near Ramstein Air Base, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with Kim and her family. I wrote a report about this visit back then at Palingates.

In November 2010, times were different: Sarah Palin was basically at her "all-time-high", and many people expected her to join the race for the US presidency. The books about Palin by Joe McGinniss, Geoffrey Dunn and Frank Bailey, which all proved to be devastating, were still many months away from publication. I myself was still a full-time-blogger at Palingates, but was also going to start a new job soon. The infamous "blood-libel incident", which really kick-started Sarah Palin's long downfall, only happened about 1 1/2 months after our visit.

Sarah Palin herself had just published her second book "America by Heart" at the end of November 2010, which, as expected proved to be a terrible ghost-written diatribe, and fortunately we at Palingates were able to spoil the party, as we had received an advance copy of Palin's highly protected book. No other media outlet had a copy at this point - and therefore we happily published the most terrible quotes from the book, which were then picked up by others. We received huge media attention and were even mentioned on CBS "Good Morning America." ABC also broadcast a very good report back then.

Those were the days - but we are glad that they are over!

Kim Chatman is a person who is not afraid of anything or anyone, and certainly not afraid of Sarah Palin. She has the distinction to be the only person who filed an ethics complaint against Sarah Palin which proved to be 100 percent successful - the ethics complaint against Sarah Palin's "Alaska Fund Trust."

Unfortunately, the fact that Sarah Palin was found guilty of an ethics violation afterwards was very rarely reported, even in the subsequent books about Palin, which is hard to understand. To this day, there are some Palinbots claiming that Sarah Palin was never found guilty of anything! But as we all know, the Palinbots always had a challenged relationship with the truth.

Back to 2012: It took us a bit longer than expected to see Kim Chatman again, but the next visit will hopefully not be that far away. We are currently spending a long weekend at a beautiful house close to Ramstein, which is also owned by Americans - together with its own sauna and swimming pool! All could have been perfect, but unfortunately I caught a heavy cold just before we left Frankfurt, and therefore I missed an incredibly fascinating visit to Ramstein Air Base on Saturday, where Kim's son Marcus took part in a football game.

But Kathleen went to see the game, and made some nice pictures. Kathleen not only saw the game, but also got a glimpse of a rather "surreal" world: An American island, so to speak, right in the heart of Germany. On Ramstein Air Base, America has replicated itself: For example with a huge "American-style" shopping mall and a huge supermarket, all filled with original American goods - which can be bought with dollars, of course, and the prices are not very different from the prices in the USA. There are also American banks, and an American High School - also, as we can see on the pictures, below, American Football is not far away as well. Needless to say, everyone speaks English all the time - and there is virtually no German citizen present. If one gets transferred from the USA to Ramstein Air Base, I guess that one will hardly notice any difference...

When we last saw Kim's son Marcus in 2010, he was still a "little boy." However, in the meantime, his height virtually exploded! Looks like Kim gave him good food! It was a real pleasure for Kathleen to see Marcus again, who is a gentle, intelligent and handsome young man! However, let's just say that being "a tall black guy" does not necessarily make life any easier. Prejudices are never far away, as Kim explained to us in greater detail. Kim's children are mixed race, so she is well accustomed with the subject of racial prejudice. Kim is very happy that Marcus is doing great in High School, just as her other kids.

Kathleen watched the game of Marcus's team, the "Ramstein Royals", which his team won 20-0! She made some lovely pictures of the game, which, if you did not know any better, surely would have been taken at some town in the USA (click on pictures to enlarge):







Marcus on the right with two of his teammates:




Marcus with his sister Kayla, who in 2009 famously wore an Obama t-shirt at Sarah Palin's book-signing event in Elmendorf, Alaska:



Marcus with Kim Chatman's partner Everett:



Unfortunately, Kathleen forgot to make a picture of Kim! But next time, promised!

In addition, we had some serious cat action this weekend! Our American hosts asked us to take care of their cat, to which we happily agreed. Kathleen is a long-time cat-owner and really misses a cat - unfortunately we cannot have one at our place. Our American hosts helpfully explained to us that their cat is an "indoor and outdoor cat", so that we wouldn't worry when he stays away over the day. :-)

So here are some pictures of our sweet "indoor and outdoor cat", which I call "little tiger." He was very content with our presence and was purring all the time, and he likes to socialise.











I made a little video with the cat - he is gorgeous. Due to my cold, I am breathing quite heavily in the video...



So this is our Sunday post, which you hopefully enjoyed!

As always, feel free to talk in the comments just about any topic!

Have a pleasant Sunday, everyone!

+++

FUN UPDATE:

Hi everyone,

I just "found" a new picture...

Who do we have here...?

You can also click on the picture to enlarge if you are not 100 percent certain...see it in XL-size!


+++

UPDATE 2:

As some of our readers have correctly observed, yes, this is Sarah Palin as a baby.

This photo a screenshot from Sarah Palin's epic infomercial "The Undefeated", which we finally bought for a few bucks (a bit late, I know). This two-hour film is actually pretty interesting, a nice piece of propaganda, created at the time when Palin was still having her eyes on the presidency. A large "cast" of her "friends" appear in the film. It is absolutely obvious that this is the "film version" of her book "Going Rogue" (and the book is even mentioned as "inspiration" at the beginning, and the audio version of the book is constantly being used throughout the film). It's also more than obvious that this film was designed to kick-start her presidential campaign.

I know that all of this today thankfully has little relevance any more, but I am just "reviewing" it for "historical purposes", so to speak. The film is nothing else than one huge campaign clip, and it is actually not as cheaply done as I expected. It's quite slick, and appears to be an expensive production. Well, it's propaganda, but not the worst I have seen! Quite a lot of right-wingers would have fallen for the narrative if they had actually seen the film, I believe.

The bonus features contain video excerpts from her "famous" 1982 basketball game when the "Wasilla Warriors" won the Alaska state championship. But these excerpts are actually quite revealing, as they show clearly that Palin had in fact very little to do with this victory. Still, it was good enough for propaganda purposes even 29 years later...after all, Americans love winners, right?

Finally, another screenshot I got from "The Undefeated" - a wonderful Palin-cartoon from 1996, when she was the controversial mayor of Wasilla! How could the world have missed this so far...? 

Click to enlarge:


Friday, September 28, 2012

No More Mr. Nice Guy: How Scott Brown Is Damaging His Own “Brand”


by Blueberry T

Scott Brown carefully cultivates his image as a regular guy who likes sports (as opposed to “sport”), drives an old pickup truck  and wears a barn jacket.  

  Who does that remind me of...?  Hmm.  Oh, yeah...

 

Until recently, his campaign revolved around the image that he is a nice guy and an independent, moderate voice in Washington.  But is he?

He did some serious damage to his “nice guy” brand in last Thursday’s debate with Elizabeth Warren. Commentators across the board thought he was “nasty,”  snarky,” desperate,” “aggressive” and “visibly irked”

He came out of the gate swinging, with a personal attack on Warren’s claim of Native American heritage that he has harped on for months.  This is an anti-affirmative-action dog whistle, and apparently it’s all he’s got, because he keeps harping on it even though voters are unmoved; 69% say it is not an important issue for them.  

Compounding the negativity of Brown’s attack was his ignorant and/or racist statement that “Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color and as you can see, she’s not.”  Would Scott Brown point out Christopher Stevens, John Baker, or Bristol Palin and her son Tripp as “persons of color”?   
    


  
Bristol Palin's son, Tripp Johnston is 1/32 Native American, like Elizabeth Warren. 

Notably, despite Brown’s false claims, a geneology researcher has found documentation that supports her contention that the family believed it had Native American heritageWarren has repeatedly explained that this is her family history, told to her by her parents and grandparents, and she is not going to disavow her family roots.  She also said she received no favorable treatment on job applications, a claim that was corroborated by those who hired her, including Reagan's Solicitor General, Charles Fried

Several reviews of the debate commented that resurrecting this dubious argument seems to show some desperation on Brown’s part; while he was trying to damage her credibility, he probably did more damage to his own reputation, as he looked petty, bullying and ignorant.   Nevertheless, he doubled down on this charge in a new campaign ad.  

In a new, even more damaging development, here are photos of Scott Brown’s taxpayer-funded staff at a political rally, using offensive and racist gestures to call attention to the controversy about Warren’s Native American heritage.  I will leave it to you to consider what the likelihood is that Brown's staff used such offensive gestures out of the blue, or whether such behavior may have happened previously with the Senator himself.  Now the controversy has blown up in Scott Brown’s face, with calls from the Cherokee Nation for him to apologize.  (I think he should resign.)

Here is Elizabeth Warren’s response to the controversy.  Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris-Perry connected the dots about the latent racism in both Scott Brown’s and Mitt Romney’s comments, and how this relates to broader issues such as voter ID laws.  

Onward.  Later in the debate, Brown attacked Warren’s role as an attorney representing Travelers Insurance in a lawsuit by asbestos victims.  In an attempt to discredit her as a consumer advocate, he claimed that she took the side of the corporation against the victims.  This is a gross distortion of her role in a decades-long case with many legal complexities, twists and turns.  According to reports by the Boston Globe and others, Warren tried to preserve victims’ rights to receive damages after bankruptcy.  She sought to broker a settlement that would have resulted in Travelers paying $500 million in damages in exchange for immunity against further lawsuits; at the time, the settlement was supported by the largest group of asbestos victims. However, after she left her role in the case, the company reneged on the settlement, and it is still tied up in court. 

Brown’s attack on Warren for protecting Travelers Insurance is further blunted because Brown himself has received $9000 in campaign donations from Travelers, among the highest in the Senate.  If he thought they were wronging the victims (which they are), one might fairly ask why he accepts their support.

Brown also took a very petty swipe at Warren’s salary as a professor at Harvard, and tried to tie this to his portrayal of her as a “tax-and-spend Democrat” by saying she should have checked the box to pay more taxes than she owed.  The attack on her salary made Brown look small, and is rather ironic given the GOP’s recent claims that President Obama and Democrats are opposed to “success.”  Elizabeth Warren is an amazing success story, which inconveniently runs counter to the GOP’s false narrative. 

In a similar vein, Brown also continually called Warren “Professor,” in what seemed like an attempt to portray her as elitist.  I actually think that anti-intellectual streak doesn’t play too well in Massachusetts; a lot of people of all ideological stripes are strongly committed to education, including higher education, which is huge in this state, home to many colleges and universities.  I suspect that most people think it is a point of distinction and honor to teach at Harvard.  Many people respect Elizabeth Warren’s accomplishments in education and her expertise on bankruptcy law and financial regulation, as well as her personal “by the bootstraps, with help” success story.  So, I doubt that his remark damaged her in the first place, but it certainly made him look petty. 

As an O/T but funny aside, calling her “Professor” reminded me of Gilligan’s Island, and THAT reminded me of the analogy that David Brooks made just last week when he referred to Mitt Romney as Thurston Howell Romney.  That was probably NOT the association that Brown was aiming for. ;-) 

The MSM, blogosphere and pundits criticized Brown’s disparaging tone and pettiness.  It damaged his nice guy brand, which was ill-advised.  After all, if you take away likeability, he doesn’t have all that much left to offer.  I guess this is stupid season for Republicans.  

But even more importantly, Warren owned Brown on much of the key substance of the debate, notably:
  • Showing that despite his image as a moderate, Brown’s voting record is not very moderate at all,  particularly his votes against tax cuts for the middle class, fair pay for women, low-interest loans for students, health care reform, and for the Blunt Amendment that would have restricted women’s health care choices, among other things
  • Making the point that despite Brown’s claims that he supports women’s rights (which he “proves” by living with his wife and daughters), his voting record on women’s issues is mixed, and that in contrast, she will always be there for women
  • Making clear that she understands that people are not looking for a handout, just a fair shot, and that she is committed to fairness and opportunity for the middle class, veterans, the elderly, students, women and the poor
  • Expressing her commitment to working so that the rules are not rigged for millionaires and billionaires over the interests of the rest of America
  • Clearly supporting and associating herself with President Obama as Commander-in-Chief, and tying Brown to Mitt Romney (ironically, Brown has a new ad featuring him with President Obama; I guess he’s trying to run away from Romney as fast as he can)  
  • Strongly making the case that this race is important because control of the Senate is at stake, and a vote for Brown is a vote for more GOP obstruction and dysfunction in Washington, including having climate change denier Jim Inhofe overseeing EPA. 
  • Remaining poised, substantive and on-message throughout, while Brown was none-of-the-above.
Warren could have said even more (and probably will in upcoming debates), like that Scott Brown is one of Wall Street’s favorite Senators, while she is considered “Wall Street’s toughest critic.”   

She could have said that Scott Brown ran as #41 – the 41st vote that would enable Republicans to filibuster legislation and thwart progressive legislation.  As a result, the GOP has filibustered more than ever before in American historymore than 360 filibusters/threats during Harry Reid’s tenure as Majority Leader.  Now the reality is that all legislation needs 60 votes; it is the tyranny of the minority.   

She could have said that Mitch McConnell, who famously said that his top priority was making President Obama a one-term President, will be Majority Leader if the GOP wins the Senate.  

She could question why he attended a fundraiser in Florida hosted by Pepe Fanjul, a "sugar baron" who has been accused of “modern day slavery.”  (Could it have to do with making sure Brown votes to continue taxpayer subsidies of the sugar industry?)  Politicalgates wrote about Brown and Warren fundraisers here. 
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Brown's connection to the Koch Brothers as well.

I imagine Warren may consider some of these subjects fair game in future debates, especially if Brown continues to take the low road. 

One of the points that I hope Elizabeth Warren will also make is that Brown is almost running as a Democrat – his campaign literature (which I have at hand as I’m typing this) touts his endorsements by a few Democrats, and his campaign ad tries to link him with President Obama instead of Mitt Romney.  Okay, I can see that he would want to distance himself from Romney (and Warren did make this point very well).  But, hey, Scott, if you want to be a Democrat, please change parties, and when you do, say that you could no longer in conscience be tied to such a bunch of extremists who don’t have the interests of the country at heart.  Until you do that , if we the voters want to elect a Democrat, we won’t vote for you.    

Brown’s weak performance, which was widely panned in the press, was subject to further ridicule when Harry Reid revealed that Brown tried to use a Thursday afternoon Senate vote to dodge the debate.  Reid actually interrupted Senator Al Franken on the floor of the Senate, to say that he was cancelling votes for that afternoon to prevent Brown from missing the debate.  That’s probably as close to getting a public spanking as happens in the Senate.

Outside of the debate itself, here is another big blow to Scott Brown’s image, which may hit especially hard in the demographic where he is strongest.  

Before I close, I can’t resist a word about the pickup truck.  I know the pickup truck is the sacred emblem of Brown’s manhood, but it is a gas-guzzler  that adds excessive greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, for no good reason.  A lot of people need pickup trucks for their work, but the only reason Scott Brown needs a pickup truck is to burnish his image.  He does a lot of driving, mostly to campaign events, and it would be better for the planet if he drove a fuel-efficient car.  His truck gets just 18 miles per gallon at best, whereas he could be driving something that gets twice that many mpg or better.  He gives a glib answer about doing more to combat global warming (but then talks about more oil & gas drilling); maybe it’s time to focus on his own behavior and stop giving him a free ride in the old gas guzzling pickup truck.  Okay, maybe his manhood would threatened, which I could understand. ;-)  

Another aside:  for those who may not be aware, Scott Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, works for the ABC/CNN affiliate in Washington, after many years at the Boston ABC affiliate, WCVB.  So, be aware of that when looking at ABC/CNN reporting on the Massachusetts Senate race.  

To wrap up:  while it’s too early to say conclusively, most of the reviews indicate that Warren won the first debate, and most recent polls show her with a lead.  But it’s certainly a close race.  Brown did himself no favors by destroying his carefully cultivated moderate nice guy image.  It’ll be interesting to see whether he changes his tune, or his or tone, in the next debate on October 1st.    

UPDATE:  

Thanks to cheeriogirl for this link, about Scott Brown's prior work as a real estate lawyer, which involved him with some of the companies involved in mortgage document fraud in Massachusetts.  Here is more on this emerging topic

Also, hat-tip to Molly_WI and others for pointing out this gross billboard, put up by a Scott Brown supporter in a town near where he lives.  Keep it classy, Scott and your supporters!



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunny Oglesby Would Like To Set The Record Straight Regarding Levi's Custody Case Of Tripp

By Kathleen


Levi and Tripp September 4th, 2012 Courtesy of Levi Johnston, Facebook

Levi, Sunny and Breeze courtesy of Sunny Oglesby, Facebook


Much of the confusion about Levi’s intentions could have been caused by the following remark made by Alaska attorney Rex Butler who recently gave a statement to the Associated Press but did not make it clear that he no longer represents Levi. Becky Bohrer for the Associated Press wrote that Butler said:

The best way to interpret the development is that the parties likely will resolve any problems themselves.

However, Sunny Oglesby, Levi’s partner and the mother of his new born daughter Breeze, had this to say to me:

Levi hasn't talked to Rex Butler in almost a year. He is no longer Levi’s legal representative but he keeps trying to include himself in anything regarding Levi and Bristol in the press. Rex has nothing to do with Levi anymore at all.”

Butler’s interpretation that Bristol and Levi could have decided to resolve any problems themselves is only partly true. Sunny has revealed to me that Levi does intend to have any agreement between himself and Bristol regarding visitation and custody of Tripp legalised by the Alaska Court system. 

In a recent conversation Sunny also told me that: 

Bristol asked Levi if they could just make an agreement between them and avoid paying lawyers and going to court. So Levi said that's fine and we can try that but when they both have time go get an agreement court ordered.”

According to Sunny, at Bristol’s specific request Levi and Bristol have agreed that they should work out the specific details of access and custody of Tripp together, without the involvement of lawyers. 

When questioned further Sunny said that Levi was willing to try that approach but she also made it clear that Levi still believes that once the details have been agreed that a court order agreement would be the best outcome for everyone and that his goal is to have any informal agreement eventually formalised through the court system. 

Court cases involving the custody of young children can be both costly and time consuming. If the two parties concerned can possibly work out the details regarding arrangements before approaching the courts then issues can be resolved amicably and quickly. It’s my hope that both Levi and Bristol can resolve their issues regarding Tripp once and for all and get on with the real job at hand which is parenting him. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Countdown to Election 2012: Week Seven in Review

by Sunnyjane

You silly old goat!  I'm the future PRESIDENT of the...wait, what did you  just say?

And the Mitts Just Keep On Coming

I was stupid.  I was wrong.  I was punked!  The ridiculous notion had actually crossed my mind that there couldn't possibly be a major follow-on to Romney's devastating Week Eight.  Well, I admit it: my gast was so flabbered when I got online early last Tuesday morning that  my computer found itself in grave danger of having two eyeballs popping their sockets and plastering sclera and cornea guts all over the monitor.

Lesson learned: Never underestimate the inelegance of Mitt Romney. 

In Memoriam: Compassionate Conservatism 

It had been on life support for some years and took a dramatic turn for the worse in 2010.  Today, the idea that conservatives in this country are even remotely concerned about half of the Americans in this great country died a quiet death when Mitt Romney showed that he would be president of One Percent of our citizens all the time, Fifty-Two Percent once in a while, and Forty-Seven Percent never.  

Romney reasons with his privileged Tea Partier intellect and speaks out of his posterior orifice.  He has been roundly criticized for his decided lack of diplomatic skills and knowledge of foreign relations during his failed European trip; lambasted for his scandalous rush-to-judgment mentality over the tense situation in Libya; and widely condemned for his remarks over how he sees nearly half of U.S. citizens.  And ninety percent of the criticism is from his own party.

It was conservative David Brooks who wrote of Romney, he really doesn't know much about the country he inhabits … doesn't know much about the culture of America ... doesn't know much about the political culture ... knows nothing about ambition and motivation, and that his interpretation of how the country works is a country-club fantasy.  Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist who worked closely with Romney on his 2008 presidential campaign, said, He was talking about the electorate as if it were a ledger sheet. It diminishes him.  Yes, Alex, it also diminishes the American people to be reduced to emotionless data points.

Liberal Paul Krugman who, unlike Paul Ryan, is a real economist, wrote recently about the call from Republicans for Romney to change course:  The truth is that Romney based his whole campaign on the belief that he could blur his way to the White House, mouthing right-wing slogans, fudging the math, and counting on voter disillusionment with Obama to do the rest.  Now that this doesn't seem to have worked, he has no plan B.  Don't you hate it when that happens?

The damning tape obtained by James Carter IV and published online by Mother Jones is Mitt Romney's blueprint for governing this country were he to be elected president.  This is no longer a Let them eat cake campaign; now it has now been revealed that this is a Fuck ‘em all Plutocracy-in-the-making campaign.

I actually waited the Biblically required three days and no resurrection of Compassionate Conservatism occurred.

Nuggets from the Noggin of a Neocon Numskull 
           
 Whatever I said, I stand behind it. 
But do not judge me on what I said
because that's not what I meant!
Has Mitt Romney never learned the Be careful what you wish for lesson?  While attempting to quell the growing backlash from his inelegantly stated dismissal of forty-seven percent of the electorate by going on the offensive and declaring that we need a discussion on dependency in this country, he made the rash comment that instead of just selected clips, he wished they would release the whole tape. And of course, Mother Jones promptly and gleefully obliged him. 
  
So America was treated to almost fifty minutes of the true Mitt Romney, complete and unabridged.  It was very revealing and very ugly.

*Mitt's cognition-challenged vision on geopolitical issues closely resembled the old joke about an uninformed speaker who greeted his audience with: Ladies and jelly spoons, I come before you to stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about. One example: The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace ... the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.  Somehow,  I don't believe that tossing a penny in the old wishing well is a very good foreign policy plan.  As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

*While Romney believes that Republicans can capture the women's vote [heh] and entirely thumbs his nose at African American voters, he now thinks Hispanics are a threat to country: We’re having a much harder time with Hispanic voters. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.  Of course, there are many Republicans who agree with Mitt, such as Lindsey Graham who said recently, We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.

*It's pretty obvious that the $50,000 donors attending this shindig only read the financial section of the paper because they're just not keeping up with the news these days.  One thinks Nancy Pelosi is still Speak of the House, saying: Nancy Pelosi, who was supposed to give us an honest Congress, has given us just the opposite as speaker. And I think that’s a campaign issue that can work well. I’m optimistic that you’ll be elected president, and my recommendation would be to clean house immediately.  Duh...

*Another said he believes Romney should invent a scenario like Reagan had and get tough on Iran because that's what Ronnie did.  This fool has obviously forgotten that Reagan is the president who sold arms to that country in 1985.  That little fiasco was lovingly called the Iran-Contra  Affair.

Moving On...

*In what obviously seemed like a super deal for the Republican Party, unemployed Rick Santorum assured an audience at the Values Voter Summit that conservatives will never have the elite, smart people on our side.  You're half right, Rick; you've got the elite people, we've got the smart people.  It's a deal we can live with.

*Mitt admitted that his tax plan is based on a Fox News lie that's been debunked many times.  

*Paul Ryan dragged his seventy-eight-year-old mommy along to protect him from those gray-haired meanies at the AARP annual convention.  When he told attendees that repealing Obamacare would lead to a stronger Medicare, many booed, called him a liar, and walked out.  You lying idiot; seniors are not stupid, you know.   

*In a charming game of Can you top this hypocrisy?  John Sununu on Fox News defended Romney against detractors because it is President Obama’s very deliberate attempt to do class warfare as part of his campaign strategy.   

*Never one to let an opportunity go by to show his flip-flopping stupidity, Romney appeared on 60 Minutes this past Sunday night and said that people who don't have health insurance need not be concerned if they have a heart attack because We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital [emergency room], and give them care.  However, as the Huffington Post points out, Romney ...passed a universal health care law in Massachusetts, in part, to eliminate the costs incurred when the uninsured show up in emergency rooms for care. Indeed, in both his book and in high-profile interviews during the campaign, Romney has touted his achievement in stamping out these inefficiencies while arguing that the same thing should be done at the national level.  Meanwhile, the Affordable Healthcare Act is being quietly implemented by GOP officials in several states. 
  
King Mitt and Queen Ann Have Come Unglued


Personally, had I just had my ass kicked, I would have gone to Margaritaville to salve my wounds. But Ann and Mitt took their snit to Pitch a Shit-fit City after the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week they'd just lived through.  

*In the Gospel According to Ann Romney, Chapter 1:1 Percent, Republicans critical of her husband should Stop It! because Mitt has sacrificed himself on the alter of the Republican Party and those not in the ring should prostrate themselves before him in worshipful faithfulness because the campaign is hard for her.  If you love someone, you see them maligned, attacked … you get very defensive.  Got that?  As Politicususa put it so succinctly, You People had better stop maligning Mitt Romney with his own words!  In fact, trying to make Mitt look like a real human being is such an ordeal for Ann that she has canceled all interviews for the near future -- or forever, perhaps.  I guess she needs to go ride her $77,000 tax deduction around the parade ring for a couple of weeks.

*Mitt got his sacred undies in a swivet before appearing on the Hispanic network Univision Town Hall because while introducing him to the audience, one of the anchors noted that the Republican candidate had agreed to give the network 35 minutes, and that Obama had agreed to a full hour the next night.  Romney refused to come out on the stage and instead demanded that the introduction be re-taped in such a manner that it did not include the time frames during which each candidate would speak.  But that's not all, folks!  Earlier Romney had threatened to scrap the whole interview if the campaign was not allowed to override the students-only rule and bus in some supporters to fill out the seats and root loudly for their guy.  I kid you not.  

It almost makes you break out in a cold sweat to realize that Mitt Romney is the best candidate the Republicans could round up for 2012.

End Note





The first Presidential Debate will be held next Wednesday, October 3, at the University of Denver,  moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.  

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates

The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.


The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Reader's Day At President Obama's Milwaukee Rally 9/22/2012. President Obama States That He Represents ALL Americans

Guest Post By Molly_Wi


U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Henry Maier Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin


I found out about Obama coming to Milwaukee this Wednesday, and was able to get four tickets by standing in line for an hour at a local campaign office. I planned on taking hubby and our three kids to the rally on Saturday, but things didn't quite turn out that way. My ten year old daughter and I were the only two who were really enthused about going, and so the two of us spent the afternoon together. 




While I love downtown Milwaukee, I hate parking down there! We got there about a half hour after seating had already begun. We parked in a nearby structure, and walked towards the huge crowds gathering at the Summerfest grounds. We saw a looooooooong line, and it took us nearly ten minutes to walk to the end of it! The line wound all over the lakefront, curving around the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, the War Memorial, and then on to Summerfest and the new BMO Harris pavilion. This new stage holds about 5000 under covers, and additional SRO. Well, by the time we got to the security checkpoint--metal detectors, purse searches, no food, electronic devices ON, people!, we could hear President Obama's voice but couldn't see a THING; all the seats were filled, and the SRO area was packed, with the overflow watching Mr. Obama speak on the huge video screens. It started sprinkling, but the crowd was very revved up and nobody seemed to mind it very much. 





It would have been great to have been able to actually see Barack Obama, and I did offer to hoist up my daughter so she could see above all the heads, but she declined, as it would have been too embarassing for her! Later she told me she wished she could have been in the seated area, so she could have seen Obama, and so she could have had a chance to shake his hand. I think we would have had to have gotten there at least four hours earlier for that to have happened. 

Daughter took photos while we stood in line, and a few during the speech; none are very impressive, unless you count the duck butt picture. She thought it was so funny that the ducks in the lake (Michigan) dipped down for food and their butts stick up in the air. She took some pretty nice photos of the Art Museum, with the addition designed in 2001 by Santiago Calatrava. It really is very beautiful. 





So, even though we had to wait and wait and wait in line, could barely see anything, got rained on, then had to walk and walk and walk back to the car, we both agreed that it was still fun, and well worth it, if for no other reason than to say that we got to go "see" Barack Obama before he was re-elected in 2012!! Funny sidenote; nobody ever collected our tickets. I guess we didn't even really need them. 

Local news said there were 2000 people there, which is absolute hooey. My estimate would be at least 10,000. I found an AP estimate of 18,000. 





A video from CSPAN can be watched here:



We love our President!!

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Thank you Molly_Wi. 

What a great speech from President Obama. I encourage all readers to watch the above video. I think that many of us approve his message!  Reject the top down system that Mitt Romney supports. Do as President Obama advises. Don't boo! Vote! 

Four more years!

If you plan to attend a rally headed by President Obama please send me photos and a synopsis. The closer it gets to the election the more we need to hear your President's message.

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Update by Patrick:

Thank you, Molly_WI, we just love our "boots from the ground" reports!

Bonus clip:

Nothing better than a good laugh - and during this election campaign, we had plenty of laughs already! :-)

WATCH: Homer Simpson votes for Mitt Romney

I wanted to include the clip in the post, but I cannot switch off the "automatic play", so please visit Perez Hilton's website in order to watch the clip!



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Another update by Patrick:

There is something I always wanted to say:

Thank you so much, Tom Hanks!

I am a huge fan, and all of America should be grateful to have such a gifted and courageous actor, filmmaker and producer.


Picture taken from this tweet.

With "Game Change", Tom Hanks put the final nail in the coffin of the political career of the worst female politician in living history. I am also a huge fan of "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific", being a real history buff. Tom Hanks is wonderful, he truly is a great American.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Secret video recordings from a Mormon temple - A very rare view of Mitt Romney's secretive religion, and maybe even at Mitt Romney himself

By Patrick

Welcome to Mitt Romney's world

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UPDATE November 10, 2012:

The youtube channel by "newnamenoah" has been reinstated again! 

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UPDATE November 6, 2012:

This post features several video clips by the youtube user "newnamenoah", which he secretly filmed during Mormon temple ceremonies at the temple in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, about one day ago, the youtube by "newnamenoah" has been closed by youtube due to "hate speech" - current screenshot from this page:


Well, I didn't detect "hate speech" when the account was still online, but it is clear that some people have been very upset by the fact that these clips had been published...!

There are some good news as well. The most successful clip by "newnamenoah" was a summary of his published clips, in which he also included some precise and accurate explanations of the rituals performed in the clips. It was viewed by more then one million people on youtube! Here it is:


Please note that the above clip has also been published on "Liveleak."

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ORIGINAL POST:

Just a few days ago, the USA once again discovered the power of secretly taken video. As a result of the leaking of the now famous "47 percent" video clip, Mitt Romney's campaign is in pieces, and politicians have been reminded that they should watch their mouth at any time. What I especially like about the internet is its power to reveal secrets - especially since many secrets do only exist because some more sinister agenda has to be hidden. Therefore, it also should be questioned whether there is actually any justification for keeping things secret.

Speaking about Mitt Romney: While Romney for example just discovered that "secret" fundraisers are not such a great idea, it is also a fact that he is a very active member of a very secretive religion - Mormonism, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." In the past, Mitt Romney has even been a Mormon Bishop, and some of his actions back then came under intense scrutiny. Some progressive journalists concluded that Romney's religion actually might have a much larger impact on his policy views than many people would expect - see for example the extensive report published on September 15 at "Think Progress":

Given recent controversies over rape and abortion, one particular decision by Governor Romney merits renewed scrutiny. In July 2005, Romney cut short a New Hampshire vacation in order to veto a bill requiring hospitals to give emergency contraception to rape victims. (The legislature overrode his veto.) Romney defended his veto by claiming he had “spoken with medical professionals” who had informed him that the morning-after pill could work as “an abortion pill.” Who those unnamed scientists are and what they told Romney is unknown. But Romney’s contention is as false, if not as patently absurd, as Todd Akin’s now classic “legitimate rape” canard. The morning-after pill contains a different dose of hormonal contraception to prevent pregnancy; it does not induce abortion. Romney persists in calling emergency contraception “abortive pills.”

Mitt’s Mormonism matters because in the one elective office he has held, he governed in accord with Mormon doctrines and against the consensus values of the citizens who elected him. It matters because, by all accounts, it has been the most powerful influence in forging his values and identity. And it matters because the Mormon Church has deployed its wealth and power in the political arena for the purpose of keeping women and gays in their God-given place.

That being the case it is definitely a good idea to take a closer look at Mitt Romney's religion.

I do not believe that there is any justification for a religion to practise for example secret rituals. Of course, it is understandable for a religion being practised in a "private" setting, but why should there be any need for absolute secrecy? In the modern world, a high degree of transparency is necessary. This is what in my opinion distinguishes a religion from a cult - and it becomes especially relevant if a high-ranking member of this religion wants to become the most powerful person in the world.

In this post, I cannot provide a comprehensive overview about Mormonism, but I would like to focus on several video clips which recently appeared on youtube (and as we all know by now, youtube is one of Mitt Romney's fiercest enemies...). These clips reveal further fascinating insights into Mormon views and practises, and are an excellent addition to facts which are already known.

It is incredibly difficult to tape the proceedings in a Mormon temple. Only the very faithful receive admission to the temple - and to reveal what happens in there is considered to be a great sin. One website (highly recommended), which contains a lot of interesting details about Mormonism, explains:

Whenever a new Mormon temple is finished, it is always opened to the public for a few weeks for inspection before it is dedicated. This is the only opportunity that a non-Mormon (or an unworthy Mormon) will have to see the inside of a Mormon temple. If there should be a new temple built in your area, you might consider taking the pre-dedication tour. You will not see any of the rituals performed, but you will have a chance to see the building and its furnishings.

Mormons who wish to participate in any of the temple rituals must first request an interview with the bishop of their local ward (that is, the pastor of their local Mormon congregation), who will examine them individually as to their religious beliefs, their loyalty to the church leaders, their abstinence from forbidden things (alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea), their sexual morality, and the extent of their financial contributions to the church. If the bishop determines from this examination that they are sufficiently worthy, he will issue them a "recommend," that is, a pass to the temple, valid for two years. (Until 2002 the recommend was valid for only one year.) The member must then take the recommend to the stake president (the church officer who oversees several local wards), who will conduct a similar interview before countersigning the recommend. Many Mormons always carry their recommend, which is the size of a credit card, in their purse or wallet.

Upon arrival at the temple, a temple worker at the reception desk examines the recommend and grants admission. Those who do not own their own temple clothing may rent the necessary clothing items for a small fee. Most Mormons who regularly attend the temple own their own set of temple clothing and bring it in a small suitcase or bag.

Recently, one (former) Mormon who calls himself "newnamenoah" published on youtube a series of secretly taken video clips which constitute probably the largest "leak" of footage taken in a Mormon temple ever. These clips give fascinating insights into the secret temple rituals, and they reveal how deeply Mormonism was influenced for example by the rituals of the freemasons (the Mormon founder Joseph Smith Jr. was a freemason until his death). These rituals would be highly suspect to anyone who has grown up for example with Christianity.

The largest clip uploaded by "newnamenoah" is a complete Mormon temple endowment ceremony. He explains in the video description:

This is the entire Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony (with movie) that is in every temple in the world except the Manti, Utah and Salt Lake City, Utah temples. (Those two temples have temple workers act out the endowment ceremony instead of showing a movie in those two temples.)

Mormons believe they must wear special underwear (which can only be purchased in special Mormon Church owned stores) and learn secret Masonic handshakes in order to go to Heaven.

Take special note of the "Law of Consecration" that is at the 58:40 mark. Mitt Romney has sworn to obey this oath countless times. Do you really want the President of the United States to be a man who has sworn to "consecrate" all of his "time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed him with or with which he WILL BE blessed with" to the Mormon Church?!?!

It seems to me that THAT oath might conflict with the oath of office.

Watch the clip:



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UPDATE FEBRUARY 23, 2014:

The video of the complete endowment ceremony, recorded by "newnamenoah" has been blocked on copyright grounds by the Mormon Church, but another user re-posted it:


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UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012:

The ex-mormon "newnamenoah" now also uploaded the complete "live version" of the Mormon Endowment Ceremony, as performed at the historic Mormon temple in Salt Lake City - click here to watch.

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But this is by far not everything.

The user "newnamenoah" also for example upload a series of six other short clips which contain parts from the endowment ceremony, but also fascinating parts of other Mormon rituals, and the clips highlight some of the "weirder" aspects  of Mormonism. I doubt very much that the Americans would elect somebody to become their president who has performed such kind of rituals for decades!

Clip 1 - Veil instructions:



Clip 2 - Secret handshakes at the veil:



Another youtube user, who used to be a temple worker in LA, uploaded an excellent clip in 2011 in which he explained these veil ceremonies. This clip is the perfect addition to the two clips above:



Now, the third clip in this series by "newnamenoah" - he filmed himself in his temple gown:



The fourth clip shows a particularly controversial part of the Mormon rituals - the baptism for the dead.

As we can see, children function as "stand-ins" for the dead people who are being baptised. Pretty creepy indeed!

Watch:



Clip 5 - temple chants and costumes: 



Clip 6 - Inside the prayer circle:



Finally, a little highlight at the end:

The user "newnamenoah" published another video which he called "The Mormon Temple: OFFICIAL TRAILER w/ Mitt Romney." Now, this is a promising title, but do we actually have a little "Mother Jones moment" somewhere in the clip? ;-)

Let's take a look:


Well, as you can see, the faces of the people in the clip are obscured. So is Mitt Romney appearing in the clip or not?

I established contact with the youtube user "newnamenoah" and asked him. I convinced myself that he is "legit" (although this was already pretty obvious), and I also received additional information from him. He explained to me that he obscured the faces of the people in the clips for reasons of privacy, which is understandable. He also explained that he has several pieces of footage from the temple which show Mitt Romney, but that he is hesitant to publish the footage. He is willing to reveal that Mitt Romney can been seen in the above clip from the 1:05 to 1:15 point - and I believe him. We can offer no "hard proof" for this assertion right now - but this is fine, as the aim of my post is not to upstage "Mother Jones" with some follow-up scoop, but to highlight previously unknown details about Mormonism.

In the end, it does not matter whether Mitt Romney is included in the videos or not, as the video clips show rituals which Mitt Romney without any doubt has been practising for decades. This is also what "newnamenoah" pointed out to me in our exchange, in which he also stressed that it is not without danger to videotape the proceedings in a Mormon temple:

People realize that Mitt Romney has done this EXACT stuff literally HUNDREDS of times, right?

Before 1990, Mitt and everyone else that went through the temple had to pantomime their own murder in various ways (i.e., drawing thumb across their own throats in a cutting motion, drawing thumb across belly in a disemboweling motion) and vow that we (I did it too) would not reveal any of the things we did in the temple or we would “…suffer my life to be taken.” Before 1990 we would also chant, “Pay Lay Ale” three times and were told that it meant, “Oh God, hear the words of my mouth” in the “pure Adamic language” that Adam and Eve spoke in the Garden of Eden (which Mormons believe was located in Jackson County, MO.)

There are tens of thousands of Mormons just in Utah alone that have pantomimed their OWN murders in Mormon temples and sworn to NEVER reveal the things taught in the temple.

Lastly, Mitt has sworn to obey the “Law of Consecration” which is as follows:

You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the law of consecration as contained in this, the book of Doctrine and Covenants [he displays the book], in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion. Each of you bow your head and say, "Yes."

This would obviously include his “time and talents” as President of the United States. God how I wish SOMEONE would ask Mitten on camera, “Mr. Romney, do you still vow to obey the oath you’ve made countless times in Mormon temples to consecrate ALL of your time and talents, both current and future, to the Mormon Church?”

That, in my opinion, is a MILLION times worse than ANYTHING Obama heard form Rev. Wright. Obama NEVER swore an oath to consecrate all of his time and talents to building up ANY religion.

Also, in a comment on youtube yesterday, "newnamenoah" said:

Do you know of ANY other religion that requires you to change brands of underwear if you leave their church? Any other religion that requires special handshakes to get into heaven? Any other religion that prevents non-member family and friends from witnessing marriages?

Therefore we can safely conclude that there are more facts about Mitt Romney which need to be discovered and emphasized. His religion should not be "off-limits."

A final note:

Realizing that Mormonism has a large "secret world", it also does not surprise me that Mitt Romney seemed comfortable to mouth-off with his real views at the now famous, supposedly secret posh fundraiser. Romney is used to the fact that some things can only be said in secrecy. He is certainly also used to the notion that such secret gatherings are very protected, just like the secret proceedings in a Mormon temple. So it can very well be the case that the "habits" of Mormonism heavily contributed to Mitt Romney's downfall. This I find very interesting thought. Also, we have to ask how secretive would a Romney-presidency be? Hopefully we won't have to find out.

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See this website for detailed information about Mormon temple rituals.

Another very informative clip, from the History Channel: "10 things you don't know about Mormons"

More interesting reports here: "Mormon Temple Experiences - Stories from Mormons on their visits to the Temples"

Website which explains in detail the Mormon endowment ceremony

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UPDATE:

A very good source for carefully researched information about Mormonism is the website mormonthink.com. David Twede, the managing editor of this website, a fifth-generation Mormon who lives in Florida, is currently being threatened with excommunication by the LDS church, as reported by the Daily Beast and the New York Times. It was interesting for me to discover that the editors at mormonthink.com have very similar thoughts about Mitt Romney and his relationship to secrecy - quote from the website:

White Horse or Night Mare?

As much as many Mormons may want Romney to be the White Horse, there is a missing nail in his shoe that could throw the whole race. Mitt Romney refuses to disclose financial information buried in his tax returns because, according to Ann Romney: “We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us. There’s going to be no more tax releases given.” Mitt has said, “Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given... One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known.” This underscores a pattern of secrecy that he likely learned as a member of the LDS church. Not only does it keep the wording, mimed actions and penalties for revealing its temple ceremonies secret, it has also refused to disclose its financial information—charitable and corporate—since before the 1960s. Why would exalted prophets refuse to disclose business profits? Perhaps it’s because the LDS church recently invested well over two billion dollars (exact amount still secret) into a high-scale mall at the Salt Lake City Creek Center—a mall that includes Tiffany & Co., Porsche Design, Tuma, Pandora, Rolex and more to cater to the wealthy of Utah. Hiding financials is a lesson Mitt may have learned early in life as a young Mormon.
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UPDATE 2:

I just found this excellent BBC-documentary on youtube, called "The Mormon Candidate." From the 27:00 mark, the proceedings in the temple are being discussed, and right afterwards, BBC-journalist John Sweeney visits a group of ex-Mormons, which is particularly interesting. The complete documentary is well worth watching.