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Is it time to bury Mitt yet?

In a meeting Mitt Romney had with a gang of millionaires, one class traitor dared to secretly record his words…and then turn the recording over to that pinko commie rag, Mother Jones. Mitt Romney unleashed is a thing to behold, the plutocratic beast revealed.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

You know, I think Mitt Romney paid a much, much smaller percentage of his income in taxes than I did last year, or the year before, or the year before that. Who is the moocher here? Who isn’t doing his fair share to support the American government?

There’s much more at the link, and more to come…the magazine is trickling out the juicy stuff. Here’s their summary:

Here was Romney raw and unplugged—sort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.

It ought to demolish his campaign.

It won’t. The Republican faithful will all delude themselves into thinking they all belong to his club of millionaires, or that they will be, once the mighty Rethugs get power and sweep away all those obstacles to their ascendance, like taxes and black and brown people and all those damn foreigners.


Wondering where all those moochers live? Oh, look: a map.

Hey, isn’t that the Republican base?

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    I don’t see the Republicans’ problem with Obama.

    Aren’t they happy that the job of President has been outsourced to a foreigner? It’s what Mitt would do with it anyway.

  2. says

    The Republican faithful will all delude themselves into thinking they all belong to his club of millionaires, or that they will be, once the mighty Rethugs get power and sweep away all those obstacles to their ascendance, like taxes and black and brown people and all those damn foreigners.

    That’s just it though. I would be a millionaire if only I didn’t have to pay those evil taxes to support all those shiftless single mothers who got pregnant just to collect the welfare fortune teen pregnancy brings.

    The government has one job and one job only: to bomb people who speak funny languages. It needs to keep its nose out of things like health (except when regulating womenfolk) and marriage (which is legally between a man and a woman).

    That’s all just common sense.

  3. says

    He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society

    Nothing new. Republicans have been telling me for at least the last 24 years that I’m not a “real American.” I live in a liberal college town in a west coast state, don’t fall down weeping when I see the flag, and believe a nation can’t be competitive globally when it wastes much of its human resources through things like lack of education and health care.
    I’m not voting for another Republican until they stop that shit, and maybe apologize.
    Sounds like Romney is already getting bitter about his defeat, despite the fact that it hasn’t happened yet.
    I think he should just focus on sounding “presidential.”

  4. Amphiox says

    Mitt’s a zombie, if you tried to bury him, he’d just climb back out.

    You can hope he’ll flipflop in his climbing and start heading down.

  5. blorf says

    Isn’t it just possible that he’s actually lying and pandering to that audience too? I would love to hear his campaign try that as a defense anyway…

  6. raven says

    Is it time to bury Mitt yet?

    Why bother???

    Mitt is already a zombie. It’s all there, the vacant stare, inability to think, and ravenous appetite…for money.

    (I see msg #3 already said it.)

  7. raven says

    All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing,

    That is quite an insulting characterization of those who voted for Obama. Most of them were in fact middle class and quite a few were very wealthy.

    who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing..

    Pretty cold blooded and really stupid there again. Does the Mitt zombie really think it is a good idea to let poor people starve in the streets. We don’t do that for a lot of reasons. For one thing, humans don’t starve quietly. Hungry people in danger of dying of starvation will kill for food, simple as that.

    These are people who pay no income tax.

    Fuck you Romney. I’ve been paying federal, state, and local taxes for decades.

  8. smhll says

    All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them

    Like my seventy year old friend who gets a princely $1000 per month from Social Security to live on? We want to roll that back, even though her husband contributed all his working life, and just have her depend on the charity of her children?

    I understand a man like Romney with assets of $250 million does not fear that he will outlive his money. However, with some people dying one or two years after retirement, and others living for 35 years, the question of how much money to save to support oneself in old age is not trivial.

  9. LeftSidePositive says

    And if you ever had occasion to look at that “We are the 53%” nonsense (and its hilarious spinoff, actuallyyourethe47percent.tumblr.com), you’d know that a lot of the people who don’t pay federal income taxes actually vote Republican. Not to mention those dependent on government for oh, say, MEDICARE, but insist on voting Republican!

  10. carlie says

    Gosh, doesn’t he want all the rich people to have the right to not trip over starving diseased dying poor people in the street? Because when you decide people don’t have the right to food and health care and housing, they have nowhere else to go except to pile up right outside your gated community.

  11. carlie says

    Elsewhere in the leaked videos he talks about how he gave away his inheritance, so he and Ann did everything themselves, according to him. Never mind that his parents put him through school and bought his first house.

  12. raven says

    I haven’t seen much in the way of coherent plans from Romney/Ryan to fix our economy and move forward.

    It’s getting obvious that they can’t really say what their agenda really is.

    Ryan will save money on Medicare. By simply not paying out for it. I’m sure the old people will like that.

    Romney’s plan seems to be too cut taxes and balance the budget. Which is impossible. Bush tried it and we ended up with trillion dollar deficits every year.

    His real plan is getting obvious. To have an economic elite grab power, and then run the economy and country for their benefit, extractive rather than progressive. This is the exact plan that most third world countries have. Which is exactly why they are…third world countries.

    PS Their other message repeated often is that Obama is a Kenyan born, Moslem terrorist. Biden is the misbegotten spawn of demons mating with Space Reptiles.

    Clumsy,silly lies like this are an indication of complete intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

  13. Trebuchet says

    Meanwhile, another 47% of the population will go ahead and vote for Mitt despite everything he says he plans to do being against their better interest. Some even because he’s a Christian, and Obama isn’t. Even though the opposite is in fact true.

  14. says

    The interesting thing in the video isn’t so much the talking points, which are standard GOP crap you hear from every troll. What’s interesting (to me) is the fact that Romney et al actually believe them. They really are that out of touch.

    Romney is an astonishingly bad candidate, at the head of a toxic party pushing a rancid worldview. But that’s not what’s killing them at the moment, IMHO. What’s really going to stop Romney is plain demographics.

    In a year with high unemployment, after years of poor times, it ought to be possible to push out an incumbent. (Bill Clinton did it, in much less difficult times than now, against a president who’d won an actual war.) Obama ought to be in trouble, not cruising to victory.

    But the demographic coalition that powered past GOP victories just isn’t there any longer. Their strong groups (older white voters, especially older white men) aren’t big enough to win enough states anymore, and the ideology they developed to get those groups prevent them from expanding the coalition. The party is ideologically trapped, and their island of supporters dwindles every year.

    At some point it’ll become obvious that the Republicans are no longer a viable national party. It may even be this year that it becomes obvious.

  15. Brownian says

    The interesting thing in the video isn’t so much the talking points, which are standard GOP crap you hear from every troll. What’s interesting (to me) is the fact that Romney et al actually believe them. They really are that out of touch.

    Yeah, that is really bizarre, and quite fascinating.

    How the fuck do you get to be a successful businessperson and think that 50% of grads are unemployed? Don’t they do market research and focus groups and stuff?

  16. birgerjohansson says

    From Daily Kos:

    “1.Romney falsely claimed that 47 percent of all Americans are complete freeloaders.
    2.It turns out two-thirds of that 47 percent still pay federal taxes. (As it turns out, they actually probably pay a higher rate than Romney.)
    3.Of the remaining one-third who don’t pay any federal taxes at all, more than half are elderly Americans who have already paid plenty of taxes.

    So not only is Mitt Romney a colossal dick by writing off half of America—he didn’t even understand the basic facts that he used to write them off.”
    — — — — — — — — — — —
    Maybe the Republicans should just nominate the serial killer from the film “American Psycho”

    A well-organised serial killer at least has to keep his sh*t together to avoid capture and execution. And the level of empathy does not seem much different from that in Romney and those who applauded his remarks.

  17. says

    Let’s not bury Mitt too soon. We need him to soak up and waste more SuperPAC money. If Mitt tanks too soon (as he appears to be doing), some of that money will be shifted to House and Senate races, reducing the likelihood of purging the tea-bagger freshman class of Republican representatives and staving off GOP challenges to the Democratic Senate.

  18. carlie says

    I only wish that the news would have come out a couple of weeks later. It’s too far away from the election now – by November, more than half the country will have forgotten about it.

  19. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Teabagger: I support ‘m cuz he’s spekin’ the TRUTH!

    Baffled Human Being: But, he was speaking behind closed doors and only to millionaire donors! And you definitely are included in his definition of “freeloaders,” since you are on SSI and used Medicare to buy that thing you’re riding in.

    Teabagger: That Nobama isn’t even ‘Mer’kin, and he’s a Muslim!

    ***

    ALL “Republicans” are stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil.

    Even if Mitt were the slightest part right in his insults – say 10% – we know from the Dubya Dark Ages that 23% of Americans would gladly have supported Adolf Hitler had he been the “Republican” pResident at the time. We now know that 23% – almost a staggeringly huge quarter of the population – is vicious, stupid, and/or nuts, whose natural home is the “Republican” Party,

  20. naturalcynic says

    How RMoney got rich with such analytical capabilities is far beyond my understanding.
    One thing that is missed in this is that fewer than 60% of Americans usually vote in presidential elections. Most of these non-voters are relatively poor – the ones that “don’t pay income taxes”. So he is denigrating many Democratic voters who do pay some income tax.

    But then he must think that none of “his people” would be willing to spread news of his disdain. Hooray for flies on the wall.

  21. says

    Holy SHIT.

    I know a lot of you are being super cynical about the results, but I am not. The idea that everyone who is poor is a loser clashes directly with his claim that the president is to blame for the bad economy, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t the fact that he did fine be proof that all is just in the world as it is now? The middle class was hit very hard by the recession too, and it makes all his claims about supporting the middle class really god damned empty sounding. It also makes the claim that the romneys are charitable fall flat too, he has just argued effectively against giving to charity at all. This doesn’t help his evil millionaire image. Just, fucking wow. I can’t imagine someone fucking up worse than he has in this election, and it lifts my spirits a bit.

  22. Pyra says

    This is EXACTLY what the people around me think about democrats. They think Obama supporters are worse – traitors to America, traitors to Christianity, and worst, traitors to white people. There is only a small minority of people who don’t think this way around here…

  23. consciousness razor says

    I only wish that the news would have come out a couple of weeks later. It’s too far away from the election now – by November, more than half the country will have forgotten about it.

    Nah. I doubt it would make a big impact then either. Since the message is entirely consistent with Republican bullshit we’ve heard for decades, I’m sure it’ll only have a minor effect on undecided voters.

    On the bright side, if people voted today, with or without this video, Obama would almost certainly win. (See the “Now-cast” charts on the side.)

  24. says

    Pyra: This is EXACTLY what the people around me think about democrats. They think Obama supporters are worse – traitors to America, traitors to Christianity, and worst, traitors to white people. There is only a small minority of people who don’t think this way around here…

    Golly, Pyra, are you in Central California? Do you know my family? Sounds like you’ve been eavesdropping on their conversations.

  25. says

    How the fuck do you get to be a successful businessperson and think that 50% of grads are unemployed? Don’t they do market research and focus groups and stuff?

    People like romney can afford to just pay other people to do things for him. When it works out well he can take credit. When it doesn’t he can blame whoever he hired. You can see this very clearly on the campaign trail- his bank accounts and shitty decisions at bain were never made by him, but he can assure us every good decision was his alone.

  26. vyyle says

    I can hear the political ads now.

    “Mitt Romney is a millionaire who thinks that half of all Americans are unemployed leeches on society who don’t pay taxes and believe that government should feed you, educate you, clothe you, house you, and pay for your medicine. Meanwhile, Romney pays only 13% in taxes. His father payed for his college degree from Harvard and bought his first house, and he has made his millions by laying off hardworking Americans.”

  27. says

    I love that the fact that, even though my husband and I have worked long and hard, we haven’t made enough money to pay income tax, that this makes us “moochers.” We also didn’t make enough to claim the various and numerous deductions we could have, had we made enough money.

    I regret nothing.

  28. says

    Nah. I doubt it would make a big impact then either. Since the message is entirely consistent with Republican bullshit we’ve heard for decades, I’m sure it’ll only have a minor effect on undecided voters.

    arg but its not what they have been saying on their campaign! They have been saying how great medicare is all over the us, especially in florida, and promising not to change anything. This video says something completely different than their campaign message from earlier, it says that they think people who want the government to provide them healthcare are just moochers and that people who want to keep it should vote obama. I mean fuck, what do you think the AARP is going to say about this? This also adds another massive flip flop to the impressive record established between when romney was governor and when he became a presidential candidate.

    I cannot wait to see the rest of the video.

  29. says

    Listening to the audio, I was struck by the way Mitt emphasized “entitlement.” It’s almost like he has created a new synonym for “evil.”

  30. Pyra says

    Zeno, I’m in Kentucky, very near the Creation Museum, in fact. It has been a challenge to get up and face people for a long time. It’s hard to move when you’re not making a living wage for most of your life, too. I have no idea where I’d go, but there has to be a pocket of people somewhere that won’t assume my fair skin means I’m just like these fools that let all kinds of shit fly out of their mouths.

  31. says

    Pyra, my condolences. At least I was able to move out of California’s cherry-red center and into the pleasant blue climes of the north state. And it’s fun to point out to rabid family members that their votes won’t count because California is in the bag for Obama. (If they get discouraged enough to stay home, their votes won’t pollute the other political races and initiative measures on the ballot.)

  32. consciousness razor says

    arg but its not what they have been saying on their campaign!

    Well, when I said it’s “consistent with Republican bullshit we’ve heard for decades,” I didn’t mean to imply it’s actually consistent with their other bullshit or that it’s not actually bullshit. Most people, especially undecided voters, aren’t policy wonks. They don’t care about details or think through their implications, and they wouldn’t recognize a “flip-flop” unless it slapped them in the face. And if someone does change their position or doesn’t even have a position, well, that’s probably okay too. They simply had a “change of heart,” or they are “dynamic” or “bipartisan” or any fucking thing that may or may not have any relationship to reality.

  33. carlie says

    But see, every Republican who is on government assistance knows that it’s just because they’re in a bit of a bad stretch, something that can happen to anyone, and they deserve the help because they’ve paid into the system before and all. Whereas by contrast, every Democrat who is on government assistance is a shiftless crook who has never worked a day in their life and never will.

    I have watched Republicans who are at that very moment on unemployment complaining about people mooching off the government. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

    Not to mention how tax breaks aren’t considered to be government assistance.

  34. says

    I love that the fact that, even though my husband and I have worked long and hard, we haven’t made enough money to pay income tax, that this makes us “moochers.” We also didn’t make enough to claim the various and numerous deductions we could have, had we made enough money.

    So, you and your husband are part of the 47% who are moochers. A large number of these moochers fall into another camp, they are retired. They are not workers making low incomes. They are workers who paid into the social security system, for example, during their entire working careers. Now that they are old, perhaps even in a nursing home, they fall into the moocher camp.

    Even low-wage earners who don’t pay federal income taxes (that’s Romney’s 47%), do pay other taxes. So there’s that.

  35. says

    It won’t. The Republican faithful will all delude themselves into thinking they all belong to his club of millionaires, or that they will be, once the mighty Rethugs get power and sweep away all those obstacles to their ascendance, like taxes and black and brown people and all those damn foreigners.

    As I understand it, and CR alludes to it at #34, there aren’t enough GOP faithful anymore to give the Rethugs a decisive win. That’s why they resort to voter suppression.

    HellboundAllee:

    I love that the fact that, even though my husband and I have worked long and hard, we haven’t made enough money to pay income tax, that this makes us “moochers.” We also didn’t make enough to claim the various and numerous deductions we could have, had we made enough money.

    According to this teastain, you’re a “loser,” because you weren’t smart enough to be born a wealthy entrepreneur.

    While we are at it, how about we change Labor Day to Losers Day.

    I’m serious. A holiday that purports to celebrate the efforts of those who took the easy way out and became toilers in exchange for an hourly wage shouldn’t be kissing their ass. It should be holding them up as an example of what not to be.

  36. dianne says

    Will this actually hurt Mittens? I mean, doesn’t his base already believe in the mythical welfare queen and all that?

  37. says

    @ Skeptifem # 36
    You’re making too much sense. Pointing out contradictions and paradoxes only confuses GOP voters. They tend to lash out when they get confused. It’s not pretty.

    Also, I like how the MItt parses his words oh so carefully, to wit:

    These are people who pay no income tax.

    But they do pay payroll taxes (everyone who earns a wage does) and in many states they pay sales taxes. TTBOMK they pay state income taxes in many states. They may even pay a higher rate relative to their income than he does. If they own so much as a shack they likely pay property taxes too. This “poor people don’t pay taxes” meme is really grotesque.

  38. says

    Not to mention how tax breaks aren’t considered to be government assistance.

    Exactly. Looking at this from the angle of tax breaks, Romney is on a lot of government assistance. This makes him a parasite.

  39. md says

    Unless of course Mitt finds the stones to stand by what he said and argue that it is not actually a good thing that so many people depend on the goverment, and that number has increased under the Obama administration, and that most poor people want a decent dignified life not on the dole, and that government threatens that outcome.

    In all honesty, Democrats, would you like to have that national debate? Would you like it better if Mitt by and large stood by that recording, with a few minor corrections for the inaccuracies, and argued for the spirit of it? Or would you prefer that he flip flops, apologizes, and grovels for your non-forthcoming vote?

    You can’t please them all Mitt, best not try. Say what you believe and let the folks get what they vote for.

  40. says

    Last week I read a confessional by a former Republican which sheds quite an interesting light on their belief system. My favorite:

    My values shifted — from an individualistic celebration of success (that involved dividing the world into the morally deserving and the undeserving) to an interest in people as people.

    I went to college with people like what this guy used to be: the ones who spend enormous time and energy dividing up the people of the world into “deserving” and “undeserving.” Guess which status middle-class white people get awarded at birth?

    Sadly, the manner in which the Democrats under LBJ choose to address poverty has endlessly drawn fire. What’s lost in all the indignation over “entitlements” is that no one addresses any of the structural economic problems (e.g.: competing with cheap overseas labor, to name just one) that perpetuate it. The magic of the free market is all we ever get from them.

  41. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @Dianne,

    Yes, the base will eat it up (witness MD above), but you don’t win a national election merely by firing up the base. It’s the relatively few in the center that decide things, and Mittens hasn’t been able to reach them, as easy as that should be thins year. Romney may well be the most incompetent Republican candidate of the past 70 or so years.

  42. Amblebury, I doesn't afraid of NOTHING! says

    ” The Republican faithful will all delude themselves into thinking they all belong to his club of millionaires…”

    That is their delusional, tragic, drank-the-Kool-Aid truth. American exceptionalism, (the Randian version) is an insidious evil in more ways than one.

  43. says

    Lynna #52

    Exactly. Looking at this from the angle of tax breaks, Romney is on a lot of government assistance. This makes him a parasite.

    This means nothing to right wing nuts who consider taxes some sort of government oppression. A tax break is not a subsidy one yelled at me, while pounding the table. Someone gets out of paying something they “should not have to pay” in the first place – that’s not a subsidy.

    But here’s the good news. You do not even have to go there. We can go here instead:

    The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney which details how he took the FCIC for $10 million.

    Or here:
    Mitt Romney Wouldn’t Know a Free Market If It Bit Him on the Ass which explains in detail how Bain Capital games a set of laws and rules designed for millionaires. Competitive? I’m sure he’d like to think so.

    Parasite is too kind a word for his behavior.

  44. d.f.manno says

    @ #29 carlie:

    I only wish that the news would have come out a couple of weeks later. It’s too far away from the election now – by November, more than half the country will have forgotten about it.

    Forgotten about it? More than half the country will never even hear about it. Between the rabid right-wing propaganda machines and the corrupt corporate media, this’ll get flushed down the memory hole so fast people will think you completely fabricated it if you bring it up.

  45. see_the_galaxy says

    If only Rmoney were over as a candidate! But don’t get cocky–it ain’t over till it’s over. Hang tough and keep working.

  46. raven says

    The only Tea Partiers I really know are near where I used to live.

    80% of their kids qualify for free federal school lunches. Poverty and unemployment is common since they depend on ranching, logging, and fishing for jobs, all of which are in decline. Education levels are low, illiteracy is high, but they are all fundies.

    I estimate that half the income in that area is federal and state transfer payments. The only medical clinic is heavily subsidized and without the subsidy, the low cost clinic wouldn’t be there.

    Without those moocher transfer payments, half of them would be dead in a year.

    Antigovernment Conspiracy Theorists Rail Against UN’s Agenda 21 …
    ww.splcenter.org/get-informed/…all…/behind-the-green-mask

    Antigovernment conspiracy theorists find a mortal enemy in the UN’s Agenda 21, … The John Birch Society, an archconservative group formed during the Red …

    Their big issue right now is the UN Agenda 21. They are afraid the UN is going to march in and do something. I doubt if most of them even know what the UN is.

  47. says

    Md:

    … and that most poor people want a decent dignified life not on the dole, and that government threatens that outcome.

    Most of the poor work, genius. Of course they want to earn enough to feed themselves and their family, but what in the hell is taking away their bennies going to accomplish? It won’t magically grant them a job, or a living wage, or pay for things like health insurance.

    Go ahead and argue about the trickle down, free market nonsense– I’ll just recommend that you brush up on your Latin American history (here’s a hint: forcing privatization pretty much destroyed the continent).

  48. carlie says

    Go ahead and argue about the trickle down, free market nonsense– I’ll just recommend that you brush up on your Latin American history (here’s a hint: forcing privatization pretty much destroyed the continent).

    How many studies have to be done that show trickle-down economics doesn’t work before it finally dies?

  49. raven says

    I’m starting to wonder if Romney might be a sociopath.

    1. As Massachusetts governor he was pro-choice and started a health plan that Obama just copied. Now he is a rabid female slaver/forced birther.

    He is an empty suit saying whatever is convenient at any given time.

    2. He doesn’t have an iota of empathy. That doesn’t need any explanation other than the OP.

  50. says

    Raven @65, if Patrick Bateman from American Psycho had run for president, he would be Mitt Romney. The money quote from the movie (and presumably the book):

    I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust.

  51. Christopher says

    Thank you for pointing this out, PZ. This is a concept I would love to see publicized: Romney the Parasite/Freeloader/Moocher. Glad to see it on the main Yahoo News page. Yay! Though like others said, it’ll probably get lost in the coming weeks.

    I suppose a lot of people think of Romney as successfully making a lot of money. Seriously, what value has he provided in exchange for his millions? He hasn’t generated wealth. He hasn’t *made* money. He has simply skimmed money. Accusing others of mooching to distract attention from his own massive-scale mooching. Fucking asswipe.

  52. raven says

    Romney says comments in video were badly stated but sticks by them
    Reuters – 31 mins ago……

    COSTA MESA, California (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Monday that disparaging remarks he made about supporters of President Barack Obama in a secretly filmed video were not well stated but he did not back away from them.

    “It’s not elegantly stated. Let me put it that way,” Romney said at a hastily arranged news conference in California to respond to his latest stumble on the campaign trail.

    In the video Romney was shown telling fundraisers he has no way of attracting support from 47 percent of U.S. voters because they are dependent on government and pay no taxes. etc.

    There is no doubt that the video is real. Mittens just admitted it and doubled down.

  53. briansmith says

    Hmm, the state with the highest % of non payers, MS, had 45% nonpayers…Is it just me or is it mathematically impossible to get to 47% don’t pay taxes with that fact? Ye old mean value theorem and all. Oh, that’s assuming no dishonesty as documented at #18 and #22.

  54. observer17 says

    Well, if you look at the demographics those red states you highlighted have high african american populations who are historically Democrat voters?

    The states at the top tend to have lower african american populations and some could even be described as Whitopias?

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Well, if you look at the demographics those red states you highlighted have high african american populations who are historically Democrat voters?

    The red state tradationally vote republican these days. You must be back in the 1950’s and 60’s when the democrats were from the south.

    Think through things before you post. It saves you from looking bad.

  56. rowanvt says

    …who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing,…

    There are not enough expletives in the world to express my utter disgust with this phrase. Yes, everyone should be entitled to NOT STARVE TO DEATH. What do we stand for if we take out the right to LIFE part of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Are we now to stand just for freedom… the freedom to die from starvation? The freedom to die from a curable disease? Some freedom that is.

  57. left0ver1under says

    It seems once in a while there is a civilized person amongst the wealthy.

    Either that, or the same person attended both Romney’s private speech and attended Richard Perle’s speech back in 2003. Perle was caught telling businessmen how to profit on the coming war in Iraq.

    As for the state by state graphic, does anyone have an URL for it? It makes for great ammunition in an argument.

  58. says

    I hope people do not fall for this obvious ploy by Mitt. It was not “leaked” on accident, rather, a carefully considered deliberate move.

    Watch Mitt actually double down on this, brushing away the language as spontaneous.

    MoJo was given an edited tape by a Romney operative, and it is designed for the express purpose of inflaming (?) the base, and hoping that Obama or Biden will bite and commit a gaffe.

    Well, Biden will. I am hoping that Obama takes two shots at it and moves on.

    Time to make Mitt/Ryan get specific with their tax loopholes, their specific cuts, Medicare, etc.

  59. says

    @ Raven #65

    I’m starting to wonder if Romney might be a sociopath.

    I’m not. I’m sure. (I’m not a psychiatrist but come on, some behaviors are obvious).

    Kurt Vonnegut in the last years of his life gave interviews in which he discussed the psychopathic personality.

    A 2003 Interview in the Utne Reader is a good one. He was talking about GWB specifically but what he explained fits the present empty suit just as well.

  60. anteprepro says

    Yes, everyone should be entitled to NOT STARVE TO DEATH. What do we stand for if we take out the right to LIFE part of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Are we now to stand just for freedom… the freedom to die from starvation? The freedom to die from a curable disease?

    Indeed. I’ve found that Republicans are very supportive of a person’s right to die. A woman’s right to die in childbirth. A foreigner’s right to die as collateral damage. A child’s right to die because their parents can’t feed them. A “criminal”‘s right to die at the hands of the state after a “fair” trial. A soldier’s right to die in pointless wars. A poor person’s right to die early due to stress and poor access to resources to could lead them to better health. A public water drinker’s right to die if a company thinks it would cheaper to dump toxic waste into the drinking water. An uppity minority’s right to die at the hands of people who put them in their place.

    Really, the only people who don’t have a right to die according to Republicans are:
    1. People who actually want to die.
    2. Fetuses.
    3. People who are killed due to the actions of someone they consider an OTHER (technically, 2 might be a subset of this).

    Every other kind of death is Just How the World Works. No point in working yourself up about it. Just the insignificant natural cost of adhering to The Glorious Republican Ideology. Totally worth it.

    They’re all Social Darwinists that don’t believe in “Darwinism”. Hilariously terrifying.

  61. Pyra says

    And already one relative has stated she wants to vote for Romney even more now. It really is playing to the people who do consider democrats as nothing more than parasites who aren’t patriotic enough. It will be nothing more than the flag they all wave to hide their racist crap that they spew onto me when they think anyone of any other color is out of earshot… It changes nothing.

  62. Ichthyic says

    And already one relative has stated she wants to vote for Romney even more now.

    boggles the mind, don’t it.

    went through that same thing with my father.

    printed out 2 dozen full letter sized pages of things W had done that were in direct conflict with my fathers own stated best interests.

    he read it all, and agreed with 90%

    then went ahead and voted for W, again.

  63. says

    Fucking asswipe.

    No. That’s too much like “work” for Romney.

    (BTW, I have a very dear friend who works in a hospital and – apparently – there are a lot of folks who make minimum wage and are, pretty much, “asswipes”. It’s hard and underapreciated work but it is valuable – even life-saving – to patients who are incapacitated. If Romney was an “asswipe” I might actually respect him as a human being, a little bit.)

  64. Freodin says

    @58

    This means nothing to right wing nuts who consider taxes some sort of government oppression. A tax break is not a subsidy one yelled at me, while pounding the table. Someone gets out of paying something they “should not have to pay” in the first place – that’s not a subsidy.

    So there are against all these poor people being freed from government oppression? They don’t see poor peopla not paying taxes as their inherent and God-given right?

    What are the whining about then?

    But I get it: deserving people should not have to pay these oppresive governmental taxes… those undeserving moochers should!

    (Thinking about republican policts makes my head… explode.)

  65. F says

    They are already deluded. They have no problem with that language or those ideas. It’s what they are all about.

    Like people who would see their own medical trainwreck of a daughter (already repeatedly shafted by SS and judges) without any support whatsoever because she couldn’t have paid that much in (never mind that she did work hard and pay in, even when she should have stopped long before). People think this shit, think it is right and proper, and want to hear the same from their favorite or lesser-of-two-evils pollies.

  66. amoeba says

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the 47% Mitt Romney was disparaging were actually laid-off or outsourced by Rep-creeps just like him.

  67. Christopher says

    @82
    My apologies to Charmin, it was an unconscionable denigration of their wonderful product.

  68. StevoR says

    @73.rowanvt

    “…who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing,…”

    There are not enough expletives in the world to express my utter disgust with this phrase. Yes, everyone should be entitled to NOT STARVE TO DEATH. What do we stand for if we take out the right to LIFE part of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Are we now to stand just for freedom… the freedom to die from starvation? The freedom to die from a curable disease? Some freedom that is.

    As the old rhyme goes :

    America’s a free land
    Free without a doubt.
    If you haven’t any money,
    Then you’re free to go without.

    And, yes, that idea is fucking cruel and wrong. Rmoney is the sort of guy who kicks the less fortunate when they’re down – repeatedly and hard and then drives away with his dog strapped to the roof. He’s an unlikeable, charmless, worthless, evil bastard – and I think he won’t win the 2012 election because that is just so evident about him.

    @56. What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Romney may well be the most incompetent Republican candidate of the past 70 or so years.

    Even including Sarah Palin?? Or are we only counting the top of the poo tickets here?

  69. john says

    When will a smart journalist ask him if he realy thinks Native Americans are Jewish per his Mormon faith?

  70. epikt says

    naturalcynic

    How RMoney got rich with such analytical capabilities is far beyond my understanding.

    It’s almost like the system was rigged to reward people like him simply for being people like him.

  71. epikt says

    Lynna, OM

    Listening to the audio, I was struck by the way Mitt emphasized “entitlement.” It’s almost like he has created a new synonym for “evil.”

    It’s like the venomous, not-quite-sneering way they use the word “minorities.” They can’t get away with using the n-word in public, at least on the national stage, but they’ve developed a perfectly good dog-whistle version.

  72. Sids says

    So basically, he despises the lower class because they rely on the support of others, yet he won’t say so publicly because then he might lose the support of others that he desperately relies on…

  73. birgerjohansson says

    “Digital Cuttlefish” has expressed it better than I could ever do:

    The room was full of wealthy men
    And one of them was Mitt
    He felt he could speak freely there,
    And lighten up a bit.

    He thought his friends would have his back;
    That wasn’t how it went.
    And now we know how Romney feels
    For the forty-seven percent.

    The poor among us always thought
    That Mitt was unaware—
    It seems we’re wrong; he knows, all right
    He simply doesn’t care

    It’s not his job to care about
    The folks who don’t have much;
    Who don’t have yachts, or second homes,
    Or Cadillacs and such

    It’s not his job to give a damn
    About the working poor
    Which Mitt said, to the wealthy men
    He’s really working for.

    The wealthy play by different rules—
    Why can’t we just admit?
    The room was full of wealthy men…
    And one of them was Mitt.

  74. mickll says

    He’s just pretty much said je ne regrette rien after being busted.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/romney-stands-comments-video-says-were-not-elegantly-032830339–election.html

    In a hastily arranged news conference Monday night, he called his words “off the cuff” and “not elegantly stated,” but given several opportunities to back off the comments, he did not.

    So, yeah-he really does not give a shit about half the people in his country-at least half!

    Is anyone actually surprised?

  75. says

    ….. who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them …..

    As a Briton, I have to ask the question: What the fuck else is a government for, if not to look after its citizens’ most basic needs?

  76. blf says

    I thought that these videos were possibly not legitimate?

    No, Rmoney has admitted it is accurate, Mitt Romney stands by gaffe but says case not ‘elegantly stated’:

    Romney confirms authenticity of video where he calls 47% of voters government-dependent, in most damaging mishap yet

    Mitt Romney’s campaign came close to hitting the self-destruct button when he stood by a secret video recording suggesting that 47% of Americans are government-dependent “victims” who do not pay taxes.

    In a hastily-convened press conference, the Republican presidential candidate confirmed the authenticity of the video and opted against disavowing the views expressed in it. He said only that the case was not “elegantly stated” and that he had “spoken off the cuff”.

    He was speaking after a secret video recording was posted on a website in which he was caught denigrating people who receive benefits from the government.

    He went on suggest they could expect little help from him if he became president.

    “My job is not to worry about those people,” he said.

    In his press conference, in California, Romney basically repeated the case he made in the video that the 47% dependent on the government would vote for Obama, though couched in slightly less inflammatory language. Obama’s policies are “attractive to people who do not pay taxes”, Romney said.

    Romney tends to avoid the press as much as possible and it is a sign of the seriousness of the situation that he had to make an impromptu statement. …

    Apart from offending a large part of the population, the comment is also inaccurate. Many of those he includes in the 47% do pay tax. Many of those also receive government money because they are elderly and have been paying into the system all their lives.

    The controversy broke only hours after the Romney campaign set out to recalibrate its strategy. It said it would attempt to give a clearer, more positive picture of their candidate as it seeks to regain the initiative with just 50 days to go until the election.

  77. says

    Anteprepro’s #78, QFTMFT.

    Indeed. I’ve found that Republicans are very supportive of a person’s right to die. A woman’s right to die in childbirth. A foreigner’s right to die as collateral damage. A child’s right to die because their parents can’t feed them. A “criminal”‘s right to die at the hands of the state after a “fair” trial. A soldier’s right to die in pointless wars. A poor person’s right to die early due to stress and poor access to resources to could lead them to better health. A public water drinker’s right to die if a company thinks it would cheaper to dump toxic waste into the drinking water. An uppity minority’s right to die at the hands of people who put them in their place.

  78. freetotebag says

    Has anyone tried presenting Mitt Romney with a logical paradox.

    In the science fiction movies, that’s how they always defeat them.

  79. randay says

    It seems impossible, but zombies invade all sorts of threads here. Now we have Zombie Romney. Although there is some debate whether he is dead enough–in mind and thought–to be a zombie, and therefore is a vampire.

  80. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Even including Sarah Palin?? Or are we only counting the top of the poo tickets here?

    Yeah, I meant Presidential candidate.

  81. Antares42 says

    “Oh, look: a map.”

    Playing devil’s advocate here – wouldn’t one have to be careful with the whole correlation / causation thing? In other words, “more likely that non-payer states are red states” doesn’t mean “the non-payers are Republican (voters)”. Could one argue that people in those state see more “mooching” and then vote Republican to fight it?

    Well, based on the other discussions in this thread one probably couldn’t (Re: Unemployed Republican complaining about moochers), but you know, just for the sake of the argument…

  82. md says

    A couple overlapping ideas here. One, that Mitt is himself a parasite of sorts based on all his tax writeoffs, etc. Two, that many of the tea partiers – republican base are also beneficiaries of lotsa gov. redistribution.

    No argument from me here on either point, but it kinda begs the question: Why do so many liberals continue to support a tax system that allows such things to continue? You hate tea partiers, opposite tribe – dont read what you read and all that, why not cut the largesse they receive?

    Why not push for a flatter tax system with no deductions at all where Mitt could not, legally its important to note, game the system? Where every earned dollar is taxed the same, no loopholes, no favored industries, no favoring investors over salary earners, etc etc. With less, ideally no, loopholes, less, ideally no deductions, you have less lobbyists lobbying for more deductions, and less people employed whose jobs it is to navigate and understand the byzantine world of, legal its important to say, minimizing ones exposure to the U.S. tax code.

    As the punks used to say, “Lets rip it up and start again”. Take the tea partiers at their word, and take away their bennys.

  83. Quodlibet says

    raven @ 65

    I’m starting to wonder if Romney might be a sociopath.

    My husband, a clinical psychologist, has often said that Romney displays sociopathic behavior and attitudes. It seems pretty clear to me.

    tommeykey @ 66

    Raven @65, if Patrick Bateman from American Psycho had run for president, he would be Mitt Romney.

    Crommunist picked this up, too:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/09/18/mittbateman/

    Anteprepro @ 78,

    I’ve found that Republicans are very supportive of a person’s right to die. A woman’s right to die in childbirth. A foreigner’s right to die as collateral damage. A child’s right to die because their parents can’t feed them. A “criminal”‘s right to die at the hands of the state after a “fair” trial. A soldier’s right to die in pointless wars. A poor person’s right to die early due to stress and poor access to resources to could lead them to better health. A public water drinker’s right to die if a company thinks it would cheaper to dump toxic waste into the drinking water. An uppity minority’s right to die at the hands of people who put them in their place.

    That is a Molly-worthy comment. The whole thing. Thank you.

    .

    As I commented at Crommunist’s post, the fact that Romney has publicly verified the video, and stood by his remarks, only makes it worse. He is unfit to care for a dog, let alone a country.

    [preview not working at the moment – apologies for errors]

  84. God says

    Fairness is an illusion, it doesn’t exist. It’s used as a justification for one group who doesn’t have something to take something from a group that does. Use other arguments.

  85. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the 47% Mitt Romney was disparaging were actually laid-off or outsourced by Rep-creeps just like him.

    It’s their fault for not being born Chinese.

  86. Pyra says

    I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve cultivated such a large percentage of sociopaths who really are not concerned for any citizens but themselves. I’ve spent a lot of time coming to the dreadful conclusion that people will not look out for one another unless you make them, in my culture. It’s sad and pathetic. I used to be so idealistic about how individuals can be trusted to care as much as me. I used to think if we cut the government down to the extreme basics, we’d all do just fine. I have experienced far different things, though. Without a central government to help the most defenseless, the defenseless rot and die. I nearly did.

  87. elliemcfarlane says

    Mitt seems to forget that even if he is among his loyal peers at a gathering, there are still workers present that might take offense at his snobbery. But that just gives further evidence that if you aren’t a multimillionaire then you don’t exist in Mitt’s eyes. If you want to eavesdrop on Mittens all you need to do is put on a uniform and pick up a serving tray. Not even Magic Undies will make you as invisible to Mitt as a servant’s uniform.

  88. consciousness razor says

    No argument from me here on either point, but it kinda begs the question: Why do so many liberals continue to support a tax system that allows such things to continue?

    Because they are good things.

    You hate tea partiers, opposite tribe – dont read what you read and all that, why not cut the largesse they receive?

    Because they are people, and we should do good things for people.

    We shouldn’t be hateful, self-destructive, tribalistic assholes who want to win at any cost. That’s part of the teabagger platform, as opposed to reality and basic human decency.

  89. says

    @107

    Fairness is an illusion, it doesn’t exist. It’s used as a justification for one group who doesn’t have something to take something from a group that does. Use other arguments.

    Ah yes, “finders keepers!” is a much more sensible doctrine, right? fuck off.

  90. hawkerhurricane says

    Well, now we know why Mitt doesn’t want to show his taxes for the past 4 years: he’s a Obama voter.

  91. says

    @97

    As a Briton, I have to ask the question: What the fuck else is a government for, if not to look after its citizens’ most basic needs?

    to put brown people in jail domestically and to kill them in wars internationally. duh!

  92. laurentweppe says

    The Republican faithful will all delude themselves into thinking they all belong to his club of millionaires, or that they will be, once the mighty Rethugs get power and sweep away all those obstacles to their ascendance, like taxes and black and brown people and all those damn foreigners.

    Here we go again; the mirror version of Mitten’s smugness:

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the republican nominee no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are stupid and deluded and lost in lalaland, who believe they all belong to his club of millionaires, or who believe that they will be, once the the government has sweept away all those obstacles to their ascendance, who believe that once taxes and black and brown people and foreigners and you-name-it are gone, they will get all the entitlements of the upper class

    Notice how it sounds as bad as the GOP overlords’ aristocratic hubris? That because it is as bad.

    Ok, if you would please look toward the other Republic born in a bloody revolution, there are some interesting things to see there:
    *
    In this country, the far right -which, thanks to not allowing a bipartisan system exist mostly within its own party- was until the 90’s as reaganian as it was racist. For decades, it defended über-capitalistic policies which would without a doubt have received the blessing of the Church of Randology had its member expressed at the time a passing interest for Europe.
    But the thing is, they started to attract more and more voters from the lower middle class: voter who despise the upper-class even more than you do, voter who, for the most part, voted communist until the 80’s.
    And as result, the far-right’s speech became more and more populist, going so far as reusing the jargon of the far-left.
    Of course, it was all demagoguery: every time they gain a fraction of power, they use it to defend pro upper-class policies. But the fact remain that as far as rethoric is concerned, the french far-right is becoming more and more often indistinguishable from the far-left in order to pander to voters who hate the rich’s guts.
    *
    Some politicians on the left started to believe that, since the main far-right voting block despised the rich, expressing even more animosity toward the upper-class than the far-right on the campain trail would give them an edge and bring back to the fold far-right voters.
    It failed
    It did not bring back to the left even one far right voter. In France, since 1988 approximately one eight of the registered voters (that’s 15-18% of expressed ballots) vote for the far-right during major elections. The only thing which changed since the 80’s is that the far-right voters who could “afford” to took mortage loans and when to live in suburbia, thus creating pockets of concentrated nearly bankrupt far-right voters (I’m expecting a French Bachmann to arise soon).
    ***
    ***
    For years, a lot of people involved in politics have tried to make sense about the existence of millions of voters who despise the rich, yet keep voting for politicians who, once the pandering season is over, demonstrate time and again that they are on the upper-class’ side:

    They’re low information voters: they don’t know any better.
    They believe in the racist rethoric of the far-right: fascists tell them that brown skinned Muslims want to killrapeeat their babies so they vote for the anti-baby-eating coalition
    They’ve deluded themselves in thinking that the only reason they’re not rich them is that too much money is given toward undeserving slackers via the social safety net
    They’re distressed by the economic crisis and because they don’t know what to do, they just vote for the people who are shouting the loudest

    In other words: countless variations of “They’re fucking idiots!
    *
    But the thing is, it doesn’t make any fucking sense: far-right voters are not the voting group with the smallest political culture: this dubious title belongs to centrists. The children of far-right voters keep voting for the far-right once their reach adulthood and independance from their parents, despite the fact that the french school system made them on average better learned that their parents. in other words far-right voters are informed enough to know that no baby-eating caliphate is on the horizon, that immigrants provide more to the french economy through their work than they take in welfare, that throughout history not a single far-right party as ever taken the side of the little guys once in power. They’re too smart and too knowledgable to be fooled by the far-right bullshit, yet they vote for the bullshiters anyway.

    So allow me to make an heretical hypothsis and extrapolate it toward the US: the far-righ voters are not idiots: they’re making a cynical cost-benefit calculus: they posit that the rich -which they despise- are too strong, too well connected, too organized, too good at rigging the game to be threatened because they will fight back with the methodical focus of a threatened nobility and the power granted by half the world’s wealth.
    On the other hands, the minorities, the poorest of the poor, the people at the margin are way less dangerous: after all, the underclass has never been able to beat te upper-class on its own even when centuries of oppression and humiliation drove them over the edge.
    If you believe that the upper echelons of the social food chain are unassailable bastions and are cynical enough to be willing to screw over your neighbour in order to gain tiny crumbs of wealth, then you may regard ensuring that you are not at the bottom of the social food-chain by defending policies openly hostile to the underclass as a valid way of life.

  93. laurentweppe says

    The only thing which changed since the 80′s is that the far-right voters who could “afford” to took mortage loans and when to live in suburbia

    I do fail at spelling

    I wanted to write:

    The only thing which changed since the 80′s is that the far-right voters who could “afford” it took mortage loans and went to live in suburbia

  94. God says

    @115

    Ah yes, “finders keepers!” is a much more sensible doctrine, right? fuck off.

    It’s as legitimate as the illusory “fairness” some speak of. I’m just saying there are better arguments other than a specious reference to “fair”.

  95. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Mitt’s a zombie – cswella

    True, but he made the elementary error of eating his own brains.

  96. consciousness razor says

    Fairness is an illusion, it doesn’t exist.

    If it’s an illusion, that implies someone is having it and that it does exist. Try again (and fail, probably), this time with something more than a bare assertion.

  97. dianne says

    Fairness is an illusion, it doesn’t exist.

    The universe is unfair. That’s no fucking excuse for people to be unfair. Since humanity has a concept of “fairness” we damn well ought to apply it. Yes, there is serious unfairness in life, but not even trying for fairness is just lazy.

  98. blf says

    Remember, the video is being released in stages. The next bit is now out, Mitt Romney tells donors Palestinians ‘have no interest’ in peace in new video:

    In latest clip from remarks recorded at Florida fundraiser, Republican calls Obama’s foreign policy approach ‘naive’

    Mitt Romney told donors in a newly released video clip that Palestinians “have no interest” in peace with Israel and suggested that efforts at Middle East peace under his administration would languish.

    Romney says that Palestinians are “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” and that the prospects for a two-state solution to Middle East peace were dim.

    “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,” Romney said.

    Mother Jones’s website quotes Romney as saying he was against applying any pressure on Israel to give up disputed territory for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

    “The president’s foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism, and his charm, and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like [Vladimir] Putin and [Hugo] Chávez and [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, and that they’ll find that we’re such wonderful people that they’ll go on with us, and they’ll stop doing bad things,” Romney says. “And it’s an extraordinarily naive perception.”

    About the only thing Rmoney didn’t do is actually start WWIII.

  99. Akira MacKenzie says

    My conservative, Catholic, hard-core Republican father is constantly shrieking about how I “don’t pay income taxes” all because I get a refund just about every spring. (The last time I owed the Feds anything was back in the Bush years after a bout of unemployment.) I don’t have the forms in front of me, but I’m reasonably sure that I didn’t get back everything the Feds or the state of Wisconsin withheld from the pittance that is my paycheck.

    Of course, Dad makes about 90K and he gets back about two or three orders of magnitude greater than mine back on HIS annual refunds which he is still getting despite living under the socialist tyranny of the scary black man that is seeking to impoverish him. I suppose that’s “different.”

    He’s also shrieks that I support Obama because he’s going to–horror of horrors–forgive my student loans. While that certainly would be a huge help, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Barry bring up the idea. I’m sure that it comes from the reliable news sources my father consumes each day, like Matt Drudge and Limbaugh.

  100. vaiyt says

    It’s used as a justification for one group who doesn’t have something to take something from a group that does.

    As if the “group that does” acquired it all on their own.

  101. God says

    What exactly does it mean to be “fair”? The fairness of things is going to be evaluated differently by different groups depending on their point of view and how they are affected. It’s so very subjective and prone to personal prejudice that it does not make an effective argument. Much better to argue from “enlightened self interest”, though it can be difficult for people to realize where their self interest lies, especially when they’re heavily influenced by the perceived wants of an imaginary sky daddy.

  102. raven says

    I’m starting to wonder if Romney might be a sociopath.

    Quodlibet:My husband, a clinical psychologist, has often said that Romney displays sociopathic behavior and attitudes. It seems pretty clear to me.

    Thanks. Just what the USA needs. A Sociopath-In-Chief in the White House.

    Looking around the internet, this idea has occurred to other people. I wasn’t being snarky at all. The data is there for anyone to see. Once again.

    1. Romney changes positions all the time whenever it is convenient. He lies a lot without any concern about just how easy it is to see that he is lying. It’s like the very idea of truth or falseness just doesn’t enter his mind. The lies in his statement about Obama voters are just screamingly blatant.

    2. His complete lack of empathy.

    3. His self made fortune from Bain. It’s obvious that he used every loophole known to humankind. And stretched them about as wide as possible. How else do you get a $100 million IRA in Bermuda? We know so little about what he did that it is quite possible he bent some rules past the breaking point.

  103. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    God,

    There is a good deal of evidence that not only human beings, but some other social mammals, have an innate (or at least, very readily developed) sense of fairness. See for example here, here and here. While ideas of what is fair do vary cross-culturally, the notion itself seems to be exist in all societies where the issue has been looked at (see Henrich et al (2004) Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies). So it’s unclear what you mean by saying fairness is an “illusion”. Perhaps you would like to expand on that gnomic remark, and give some evidence or arguments for your view?

  104. ~G~ says

    If I could ask Mitt one question it would be, “When is the last time you’ve cleaned a toilet? Any toilet?” Maybe PZ could offer him the opportunity after his night blessing the porcelain FSM.

  105. raven says

    Anteprepro’s #78, QFTMFT.

    Indeed. I’ve found that Republicans are very supportive of a person’s right to die. A woman’s right to die in childbirth. etc.

    Nominate this for a molly!!! QFT!!!

    Pretty much says what we knew long ago about the so called pro lifers.

    They are just hypocrites.

    Romney these days is a rabid pro lifer for fetuses and zygotes. He just said he doesn’t care if people die in the streets of starvation and disease.

    Bush was the same way. And two of my friends ended up dead, killed in Iraq for nothing worthwhile.

  106. says

    @120

    It’s as legitimate as the illusory “fairness” some speak of. I’m just saying there are better arguments other than a specious reference to “fair”.

    yeah except that in one system a bunch of people suffer and die needlessly and in the other, they don’t. Does that not count for anything?

  107. says

    @131

    If I could ask Mitt one question it would be, “When is the last time you’ve cleaned a toilet? Any toilet?” Maybe PZ could offer him the opportunity after his night blessing the porcelain FSM.

    I have a feeling that his fellow mormons want to know, too. There has been some controversy about if higher class wards assign cleaning duties to members or not, while the lower class wards are full of toilet scrubbers.

  108. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    God,

    My #130 crossed with your #128. Yes, there is less than perfect agreement about what is “fair”, but such disagreements can be argued through rationally. As for the suggestion that we rely wholly on enlightened self-interest, this is equally subjective: there is no unique or universal idea of what self-interest consists in. Moreover, there is considerable practical evidence that appeals to altruism do work (consider blood donors in countries where blood is not paid for, for example), and also that appeals to self-interest “crowd out” other motivations, see here for example. None of this is to say that appeals to enlightened self-interest should not be used, but the evidence simply doesn’t support using them exclusively.

  109. raven says

    AFAICT, Romney has given up appealing to anyone but his right wing extremist, superrich chauvinist, and christofascist base. He doesn’t care about anyone else. We will see.

    1. Open racism. If you aren’t white, too bad.

    2. Contempt for poor and lower middle class people. If you aren’t rich, too bad. Pander to the rich economic elites.

    3. Pander to the female slaver/forced birth crowd.

    4. Pander to the xian Dominionists and fundie death cultists. Even though they think he is a nonxian.

    5. I’m sure he will get in his anti-gay comments somewhere.

    6. Attack the environment and environmentalists.

    7. Start a war somewhere in the middle east. Because the last two wars went so well.

  110. blf says

    The Grauniad has just started a rolling live blog covering the videos, Romney campaign attempts damage control after video leak: US politics live:

    We will be embedding the Romney tapes as prelude to our reporting and discussion of their contents and our analysis of where this leaves the presidential campaign.

    Richard Adams will take an up-close look at the claims Romney makes in the videos; Paul Harris will compare the video leak to an April 2008 leak at a fundraiser that threatened the primary campaign of then-candidate Barack Obama; and our Jerusalem team will discuss how Romney’s newly stated position on the Middle East crisis departs from longstanding official US policy.

    These “live” blogs / reports can be quite interesting and, as implied by the excerpt quoted above, informative. And sometimes a bit snarky:

    Romney [said] retirees, low-income families, veterans receiving benefits and other voters who pay no federal income tax that “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

  111. says

    Okay, the map associated with PZ’s post still makes me laugh this morning.

    All those states with the highest percentage of people dependent on the government, all those slackers are in Republican territory. Awesome display of irony.

  112. David Marjanović says

    he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative

    Ah, the Protestant Work Ethic. Calvinism: it’s predetermined whether you’ll go to heaven or hell, you can’t do anything about it; those who’ll go to heaven are rewarded by God in this life with success. Not with being rich, but with becoming ever richer.

    The religious foundation may long be gone, but some people seem not to have noticed that this makes the whole edifice fall down.

    Hey, isn’t that the Republican base?

    The correlation isn’t perfect – New Mexico will go for Obama, Wyoming and Alaska almost certainly for Rmoney. But otherwise…

    Isn’t it just possible that he’s actually lying and pandering to that audience too? I would love to hear his campaign try that as a defense anyway…

    Thread won.

    PS Their other message repeated often is that Obama is a Kenyan born, Moslem terrorist. Biden is the misbegotten spawn of demons mating with Space Reptiles.

    Where may I deliver your sniny new Internet?

    At some point it’ll become obvious that the Republicans are no longer a viable national party. It may even be this year that it becomes obvious.

    Oh yes. To some extent I’m actually surprised this didn’t already happen in 2008… or maybe it actually did?

    Let’s not bury Mitt too soon. We need him to soak up and waste more SuperPAC money. If Mitt tanks too soon (as he appears to be doing), some of that money will be shifted to House and Senate races, reducing the likelihood of purging the tea-bagger freshman class of Republican representatives and staving off GOP challenges to the Democratic Senate.

    Right now, the Democrats are pulling ahead at least in Senate races. ElectoralVote.com predicts 52 or 53 seats for them, compared to 46 or 45 for the Reptilians, 1 for the Independent in Maine, and Connecticut is a tie. That’s quite a change from yesterday.

    I can’t imagine someone fucking up worse than he has in this election

    Palin tried last time!

    Well, when I said it’s “consistent with Republican bullshit we’ve heard for decades,” I didn’t mean to imply it’s actually consistent with their other bullshit

    Heh. :-)

    Unless of course Mitt finds the stones to stand by what he said and argue that it is not actually a good thing that so many people depend on the goverment, and that number has increased under the Obama administration, and that most poor people want a decent dignified life not on the dole, and that government threatens that outcome.

    So, do you believe they’ll magically find a job if the dole is abolished?

    Hm?

    And that’s before we get to the fact that “a job” is often not enough in the Land of the Working Poor where the minimum wages are such a bad joke. There are people who have three jobs and are still poor! That’s very hard to imagine where I come from, where the minimum wage is around 10 $/hour.

    Well, if you look at the demographics those red states you highlighted have high african american populations who are historically Democrat voters?

    The states at the top tend to have lower african american populations and some could even be described as Whitopias?

    Well, what do you think is the cause and what the effect here?

    They’re all Social Darwinists that don’t believe in “Darwinism”. Hilariously terrifying.

    Well said.

    he read it all, and agreed with 90%

    then went ahead and voted for W, again.

    When people think voting against all their other interests means they’re voting in their interest to go to heaven, that’s what they’ll do.

    Was that it?

    As a Briton, I have to ask the question: What the fuck else is a government for, if not to look after its citizens’ most basic needs?

    You know what’s really funny?

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    That’s funny.

    You hate tea partiers, opposite tribe – dont read what you read and all that, why not cut the largesse they receive?

    What – for revenge? To make them suffer as much as we do?

    Would that help anyone?

    Why not push for a flatter tax system with no deductions at all where Mitt could not, legally its important to note, game the system? Where every earned dollar is taxed the same, no loopholes, no favored industries, no favoring investors over salary earners, etc etc. With less, ideally no, loopholes, less, ideally no deductions, you have less lobbyists lobbying for more deductions, and less people employed whose jobs it is to navigate and understand the byzantine world of, legal its important to say, minimizing ones exposure to the U.S. tax code.

    *Picard & Riker double facepalm*

    Every complex problem has a solution that is simple, intuitive, and wrong. This one is plain obviously wrong. Think it through for just 30 more seconds.

    Fairness is an illusion, it doesn’t exist.

    Unless we make it so, Lord. (After all, You don’t.)

    It’s used as a justification for one group who doesn’t have something to take something from a group that does. Use other arguments.

    Does “<a href="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatTheHellHero"What the hell, hero?” apply to the most disagreeable character in all fiction?

    It’s their fault for not being born Chinese.

    Careful there. Some jobs have already been outsourced from China to Vietnam.

  113. says

    Ezra Klein posted a good article, complete with graphs, about The taxes Americans really pay.

    This was written April, so it is not a response to Romney’s comments, but it nevertheless makes a point that negates everything Romney said.

    …But when we focus on the federal income tax, we miss all the taxes that low-income Americans do pay. The payroll tax, for instance. And state sales taxes. And lots of local taxes. Indeed, Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning tax policy group, produces a study every year showing the total tax burden for different groups once federal, state and local taxes are taken into account. And when you include all the taxes people pay, then, as you can see in the graph atop this post, it turns out that most Americans do pay taxes, and they in fact pay about as much as the rich….

  114. md says

    Nick Gotts, Maranovic and the rest re: fairness.

    What you rationally think is fair and what I and a few others rationally think is fair, is not the same. It will never be.

    I think that everyone having to pay the same percentage of their income if fair. You think (I assume, correct me if im wrong) that people who make less ought to pay less as a percentage.

    If we both think we’re being fair, there is no fair. Your opinion on the matter is not more worthy than mine, and vice versa. At least lets drop the word ‘rational’ here, as if it could be logically arrived if only we’d get down to proofs and syllogisms. There is no unequivocal definition to the word – fair.

  115. David Marjanović says

    Whoa. How did I fuck up that link? …Ah, I forgot one >. Here goes:

    Does “What the hell, hero?” apply to the most disagreeable character in all fiction?

    Well, now we know why Mitt doesn’t want to show his taxes for the past 4 years: he’s a Obama voter.

    O hai! I maded you a Internet from lavender cookies, and I did not eated it.

    Molly nomination.

    Notice how it sounds as bad as the GOP overlords’ aristocratic hubris? That because it is as bad.

    Yeah, the number is wrong. It’s not 47 %, it’s less than 27, perhaps 23.

    They’re too smart and too knowledgable to be fooled by the far-right bullshit, yet they vote for the bullshiters anyway.

    Some of them perhaps. I’m sure most simply don’t know what you wrote, or at least have managed to convince themselves that this extreme-right party is different from all previous ones.

    Really, don’t imply there’s no such thing as a low-information voter.

    What exactly does it mean to be “fair”? The fairness of things is going to be evaluated differently by different groups depending on their point of view and how they are affected. It’s so very subjective and prone to personal prejudice that it does not make an effective argument. Much better to argue from “enlightened self interest”, though it can be difficult for people to realize where their self interest lies, especially when they’re heavily influenced by the perceived wants of an imaginary sky daddy.

    So we should just throw up our arms and give up?

    The lies in his statement about Obama voters are just screamingly blatant.

    I agree with several people upthread that he really does believe them all – because he has never bothered to find out if they’re true. He doesn’t give a shit.

  116. says

    The GOP buried Mitt (and itself) when they cheated Ron Paul and his delegates. Not that the Democratic pandering to Israel at their convention was any less angering, but many Republican voters (including myself) have canceled all plans to vote in the coming elections. We cannot in good conscience support Mitt Romney. Neither can we stomach Obama. But it does not matter who wins the election, the people of America will still be looted for Wall Street and their children will continue to die for Israel.

  117. md says

    Regarding a flat tax, do you all think renters should subsidize homeowners?

    I don’t and I own one home. How many homes does Mitt own that are being subsidized by the sizable portion of renters in this country?

    Having said that, Im a rational actor. Therefore im thinking about buying a second one for no other reason than to lower my gross adjusted.

  118. says

    From a commenter on another forum:

    Among the Americans who paid no federal income taxes in 2011, 61 percent paid payroll taxes — which means they have jobs and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid. Another 22 percent were elderly.

    So 83 percent of those not paying federal income taxes are either working and paying payroll taxes or they’re elderly…

    Source for some of the stats mentioned above:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/17/romney-my-job-is-not-to-worry-about-those-people/

  119. David Marjanović says

    I think that everyone having to pay the same percentage of their income if fair. You think (I assume, correct me if im wrong) that people who make less ought to pay less as a percentage.

    Yes, and I can explain why. This isn’t a matter of preferring chocolate icecream over vanilla icecream.

    1) Money should be taken from where it is. Rich people can afford to pay more; they won’t even notice. Poor people, by definition, can’t afford to pay more.
    2) When poor people get money, they spend it, creating demand and ultimately jobs (and, ultimately, more tax revenue). When rich people get money, they don’t even know where to put it, so they stow it away in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.

    Do I need to go on?

  120. anteprepro says

    On fairness: Fairness isn’t something that exists in nature, if that is what is meant by “fairness doesn’t exist”. The universe is unfair, or at very least is indifferent to fairness. Yet an imperfect fairness can exist. It is a state that we strive for in society. It is a goal to attain. It is subjective, but it is far from being so subjective that it is a meaningless term.

    And md: Really? “I don’t agree with on whether we should have a flat or progressive tax, therefore agreeing on what is fair isn’t possible”. That’s the argument you’re going to use?

    (The fact of the matter is that a progressive tax is far more fair than a flat tax rate, because rich people, by necessity, have more money free after paying for necessities. The people who think that a flat tax rate is “more fair” just haven’t put enough thought into the matter or are too ideological to approach the issue [dare I say it?] “fairly”)

    Laurentweppe:

    Here we go again; the mirror version of Mitten’s smugness:

    Do you really think Mitt is being criticized for being “smug”? Really? Here’s the big reason why he is being criticized here: Because he is claiming that the Democratic base and the people not paying taxes are one in the same. He isn’t accusing Democrats of being stupid, he is accusing them of being leeches, using outright falsehoods. No, it is not “just as bad” to accuse Republicans of being wannabe millionaires or idiots. Because a lot of them actually are . Your “low information voters” and “vote for the bullshitters anyway” speech pretty much agrees with that.

    Though your heretical hypothesis is an amusing idea, it doesn’t work for the U.S. Republicans “like” the rich, the idea of getting rich, think the American Dream is alive and well, think the economy is fair, and say as much in polls and surveys, when they have no fear of the rich stomping on their necks in retaliation for speaking out against them. They believe the rich earned what they have and that they are the driving force of the economy and that they don’t deserve to be discouraged from Success by paying more taxes. It is pretty much “just world fallacy” all the way down. I’m sure there are smart, sociopathic Republicans who are as cynical and opposed to plutocrats as your hypothetical Republicans, but the majority are just illogical dumbfucks being led by the nose.

  121. says

    I think that everyone having to pay the same percentage of their income if fair. You think (I assume, correct me if im wrong) that people who make less ought to pay less as a percentage.

    Adam Smith disagrees

    To put it in idiot terms, because I know my audience; when you need 80% of your salary to make rent and food, 15% tax is a huge burden. Compare to when you only need 15% and have an 80% tax.

  122. anteprepro says

    but many Republican voters (including myself) have canceled all plans to vote in the coming elections.

    If only all of you had the same strategy, this country would be a much better place.

  123. says

    New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks notes, Americans are both dependent on government and among the hardest working people on Earth. Considering this, dependence on government is simply a hallmark of an industrialized economy. Put simply, we rely on and fund a common set of public institutions that can construct and accomplish things that no single individual can construct and accomplish. Whether you call it “government” or simply “civilization” – almost every American relies on the government in some form.

    Excerpted, and quoted for truth from a Salon article:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/18/mitts_grotesque_gamble/

    Brooks’ comment about “hardest working” is based, partly, on the long hours that Americans work, on their relative lack of vacation time, and on their stated beliefs in surveys that work is both important and necessary. He didn’t get into productivity levels, but that point could also be made.

    I don’t particularly like the claims of American superiority when it comes to hard work, but when you place the workforce in context with other industrialized nations it becomes okay to say that Americans are among the hardest working.

    Romney is a self-satisfied parasite.

  124. carlie says

    Uh, apparently your dad has no fucking clue how taxes (or refunds) work. Your refund means that you overpaid you taxes over the course of the year, not that you don’t owe anything or that you’re mooching or whatever.

    I don’t even understand.

    Actually, when you overpay, you’re STILL giving the government extra money it doesn’t deserve because they make interest off of the overpayment for the entire year until they finally give the overpayment back as a tax refund. So even when you get the overpayment back, they’ve still ended up with more money than you owed in the first place. TAKE THAT, DAD.

  125. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    If we both think we’re being fair, there is no fair. – md

    For someone who claims to be rational, you’re a pretty crappy thinker. That simply doesn’t follow: one of us could be right and the other wrong; or we could both be wrong, and “true” fairness could reside elsewhere. In fact, I argue that any significant differences in wealth or income are unfair, because they mean that the children of the rich start with a huge advantage over the children of the poor that they have done nothing whatever to earn: how could that possibly be considered fair? That doesn’t necessarily mean we should abolish all such differences, because there are other considerations than fairness to take into account; but it does mean that steeply progressive taxes are much, much fairer than a flat rate.

  126. Matt Penfold says

    It is true that the universe is indifferent to the concept of fairness, which is why it is all the more important to strive to have fairness in public policy.

  127. carlie says

    To put it in idiot terms, because I know my audience; when you need 80% of your salary to make rent and food, 15% tax is a huge burden. Compare to when you only need 15% and have an 80% tax.

    Yes, exactly.

    And expanding on what David said – poor people have a LOT of deferred costs that never get taken care of. Leaky roof, washing machine doesn’t quite work right, car needs a tuneup, kids need to go to the dentist, lots of needs that are always there hanging out in the background because there’s never money to pay for them. When their income increases (such as via a tax break), they can start tackling those costs, and they do. I can’t find the source right now, but I remember reading that every dollar a person under a certain income gets generates something like a dollar eighty in economic value.

    Over a certain income, however, those people’s needs are already met. Go a little higher in income, and their desires are all met, too. So what would they do with the extra money from a tax break? Shrug and put it in the bank next to all that other money. As a force to help drive the economy, it’s negative because it actually pulls money OUT of circulation.

  128. says

    @ epikt # 92

    It’s almost like the system was rigged to reward people like him simply for being people like him.

    FIFY
    .

    laurentweppe #118

    If you believe that the upper echelons of the social food chain are unassailable bastions and are cynical enough to be willing to screw over your neighbour in order to gain tiny crumbs of wealth, then you may regard ensuring that you are not at the bottom of the social food-chain by defending policies openly hostile to the underclass as a valid way of life.

    This is how empires have always run. In Apartheid South Africa they had a more formalized system (same shit as other empire-like systems, only clearly written down this time). The 12 “levels” of African Ancestry written in your passport that determined what sort of job you could have, choosing one tribe for police and another for the worst jobs, etc. all worked to keep people divided against each other. Tribal, ethnic, religious, or regional identities do not cause this, but it can’t work without them. In Rwanda the Belgians created Tutsis and Hutus where no such difference existed before. It’s shocking how easy it is not only to exploit but also to create these differences.

    Yikes, I say, yikes!

  129. says

    Do you really think Mitt is being criticized for being “smug”?

    Actually yes, Smug is the root of the problem. What is smug? Over bearing self confidence, hubris, superiority? A complete lack of fear and doubt? Great for a leader supposedly, people value confidence. And doubt and fear are bad right? What about fearing that you might make a mistake or doubting whether you’re right? Good to lack those things for say making a sandwich or mailing an envelope, but with millions of lives depending on you? Absolutely no fear or second guessing themselves? No doubt they might be not just wrong but dreadfully wrong? No fear they might make a horrendous mistake? That is the makings of an absolute monster.

  130. Q.E.D says

    Did it strike anyone else that Willard Rmoney’s speech about the 47% sounds like a John Galt Monologue in Ayn rand fan fiction?

    Is it still possible to win a US presidential election after equating 47.5 million medicare recipients with “welfare queens”?

  131. says

    I don’t particularly like the claims of American superiority when it comes to hard work, but when you place the workforce in context with other industrialized nations it becomes okay to say that Americans are among the hardest working.

    I don’t think being the hardest working people makes anyone superior. The hardest working people I know are fucking miserable, and usually not accomplishing a whole lot more than folks with sensible work/life balance. I see my fellow americans the same way- so many of us feel the need to work excessively hard in order to avoid feeling worthless. It reminds me a bit of the obsession with self-discipline that exists here too:

    Secure, healthy people can be playful, flexible, open to new experiences and self-discovery, deriving satisfaction from the process rather than always focused on the product. An extremely self-disciplined student, by contrast, may see reading or problem-solving purely as a means to the end of a good test score or a high grade. In Shapiro’s more general formulation, such people “do not feel comfortable with any activity that lacks an aim or a purpose beyond its own pleasure, and usually they do not recognize the possibility of finding life satisfying without a continuous sense of purpose and effort.”

    http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/selfdiscipline.htm

  132. says

    And expanding on what David said – poor people have a LOT of deferred costs that never get taken care of. Leaky roof, washing machine doesn’t quite work right, car needs a tuneup, kids need to go to the dentist, lots of needs that are always there hanging out in the background because there’s never money to pay for them. When their income increases (such as via a tax break), they can start tackling those costs, and they do. I can’t find the source right now, but I remember reading that every dollar a person under a certain income gets generates something like a dollar eighty in economic value.

    Also let’s have a fun little economic lession, I’m sure Tis or anyone he’s chaneling now can back me up on this.

    Sam Vime’s boots

    http://wiki.lspace.org/wiki/Sam_Vimes_Theory_of_Economic_Injustice

    At the time of Men at Arms, Samuel Vimes earned thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.

    Therefore over a period of ten years, he might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet.

    Without any special rancour, Vimes stretched this theory to explain why Sybil Ramkin lived twice as comfortably as he did by spending about half as much every month.

    It can be more expensive to be poor than to be rich. Two people with different sallaries who both, for the sake of this experiment decide to live at a base median middle class life style. Same model house, same model car, same number of children, same neighborhood. Who spends more money? Well the poorer person does, the one living at his means rather than the one living bellow his means. The richer one can afford quick repairs or improvements on house and electric to reduce costs while the poor one has to live with heat sinks and energy loss. Rich can buy cloths of high grade material that last, poor has to buy one use disposable underpants. Rich can afford to get their car checked out and fixed (200$ btw by my last check just to get a diagnosis) whenever there MIGHT be a problem where the poor has to tape his together with duct tape and hope the engine light is just about the gas cap. Rich can get preventive health care, poor waits till he’s on deaths door. There’s a reason why the poorer amongst us rack up credit debt trying to live, they’re not rich enough to invest in their lives to reduce costs.

  133. says

    I don’t particularly like the claims of American superiority when it comes to hard work, but when you place the workforce in context with other industrialized nations it becomes okay to say that Americans are among the hardest working.

    But are we PAID more?

    If you’re good at something never do it for free!

    The idea that working hard is a good thing of itself, even if you’re not being compensated for the extra effort? Americans see that as a value, because they’re fucking SAPS. If you want more you pay more, that’s capitalism. Shaming people into working harder for less pay or bullying them into it isn’t a good thing. People then complain when someone, very wisely, rejects this notion of work ethic and call them lazy or greedy. No, they just are not willing to be unduely exploited.

  134. Matt Penfold says

    I don’t particularly like the claims of American superiority when it comes to hard work, but when you place the workforce in context with other industrialized nations it becomes okay to say that Americans are among the hardest working.

    They work amongst the highest number of hours, but that is not a very good measure of how hard-working people are. It can in fact indicate poor productivity, and also lack of decent wages so that a 40-hour or so week does earn someone enough to live on.

  135. says

    @md 145

    Nick Gotts, Maranovic and the rest re: fairness.

    What you rationally think is fair and what I and a few others rationally think is fair, is not the same. It will never be.

    arg this doesn’t address my point at all.

    the argument about if fairness exists and can be measured/discovered is beside the point. You don’t fucking need a universal/objective version of “fair” to defend the idea that the rich should be taxed more. All you have to do is be on board with the basic prescription of utilitarianism- the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. You can only shit on that with a metaphysics argument if you want to try and say that “good” is impossible to measure in any meaningful way, which would be laughable to the majority of people. Are things better for more people when they have access to education, food, housing, and health care? What is the best way to provide these things?

    I wanted to point out that the walton family (of wal-mart) own more wealth than the bottom 40% of americans. I’m not saying they should have less simply out of fairness, but also because the world would be vastly improved for many many people if they were taxed more, and it would only be slightly less great for that one family. It isn’t a question of fairness so much as what kind of society you actually want to live in. I would rather live in one with less suffering.

  136. rowanvt says

    The flat tax idea is so stupid that it should be obvious to anyone who actually tried the numbers out in their head.

    Let’s say a flat tax of 10%.

    We have three people. One makes $10k, one makes $100k, and one makes $1,000K.

    If you take 10% from the person making $10,000 you leave them with $9,000 to live on. At that level of poverty, $1000 makes a HUGE difference.

    If you take 10% from the person making $100,000 you leave them with $90,000. A rather significant chunk of money left over. Enough to live fairly well. That $10,000 does not make that enormous a difference overall but is still a decent amount removed.

    If you take 10% from the person making $1,000,000 you leave them with $900,000. Definitely more than enough to simply ‘live’ on. That $100,00 is pocket change compared to the remaining.

  137. anteprepro says

    Actually yes, Smug is the root of the problem.

    I…hmmm. You may have convinced me, lol. (Well, I might argue that “smugness” really is a manifestation of the root of Mitt’s problem: Blinding, unearned arrogance and borderline sociopathy. But, I think that would just be a quibble)

  138. says

    That bit about Americans being among the hardest working was part of David Brooks’s argument in response to Romney. It was meant to show that Romney was not just smug and idiotic, but also wrong, even from Republican David Brooks’s point of view.

    I did not mean to imply that I personally think that working hard is the only measure of worthiness. I too think the American emphasis on hard work and long hours is overdone. We have bought into the propaganda that benefits people like Romney, those who would like to wring a little more from the workers, preferably at lower pay.

    (Republicans busting unions — that’s symptomatic.)

    If you listen to Romney’s description of the factory in China, you can hear his admiration for the women being willing to work long hours, be housed 12 to a room, etc. Romney’s take seemed to be that if you want a job, you should be willing to suffer. The barbed wire concerned him, but only for a moment.

  139. says

    The right wing media is making an effort to mitigate the damage from Romney’s clueless comments by creating a false equivalency between the Romney speech and Obama’s “guns and religion” comment made four years ago.

    Writing for The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen provides some perspective:


    It’s been four years, but if you go back and look at Obama’s comments, the then-senator was talking about white, working-class voters who feel politically skeptical as the economy has left them behind, but he told his supporters that he intends to fight for these voters’ support anyway. Obama defended these folks, said they have a right to be “bitter,” and explained why he felt like his plan would meet these voters’ needs.

    Romney’s comments, meanwhile, offer an entirely different perspective — instead of defending those who may skeptical of him, the Republican is writing them off, chastising them for considering themselves “victims” and failing to “take personal responsibility.” While Obama’s comments show his desire to fight for every last vote, even in communities where he wouldn’t expect to be popular, Romney said, “[M]y job is not to worry about those people.”

    They offer fascinating bookends that tell us a great deal about these candidates’ values, but to see them as similar is a mistake.

    Update: Jon Chait had a good piece along these lines, explaining, “Obama was aspiring to become president of all of America, even that part most hostile to him, in the belief that what they shared mattered more than what divided them. Romney genuinely seems to conceive of the lowest-earning half of the population as implacably hostile parasites.”

  140. says

    does anyone know if that video about mitt owning a sweat shop was from the same fundraiser? I really wanted to know if that one was verified or not.

  141. says

    The setting for Romney’s speech was the Boca Raton home of Marc Leder, a private-equity kingpin.

    Leder is the tycoon infamous for hosting parties in which “guests cavorted nude in the pool and performed sex acts, scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms and men twirled lit torches to a booming techno beat.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/nude_frolic_in_tycoon_pool_S8t8KXKG1IeGFSDtN6Xm9M

    I like some nude cavorting as much as the next person, but the Republican version has a squicky feel.

    God, patriotism, disdain for the peons, and sex shows. Oh, and guns.

    Must have kept the sex shows out of the Romney fundraiser.

  142. dean says

    Apparently Chris Rock (whom I rarely, if ever, find funny) tweeted about this

    Hey Mitt Romney, you see that lead Obama has? You built that.

    Sums up things pretty well.

  143. dianne says

    Again, I’m not sure how much this will hurt Rmoney. Bush said, “There should be limits to freedom” in response to a joke web site about him and he still won. Twice. Reagan committed high treason and was clearly demented in the second election and yet won. Betting that the American public won’t do something stupid is usually a poor idea. (Remember, none of us are actually poor: we’re just temporarily embarrassed multi-millionaires.)

  144. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    I don’t particularly like the claims of American superiority when it comes to hard work, but when you place the workforce in context with other industrialized nations it becomes okay to say that Americans are among the hardest working.

    I wouldn’t consider that as a value.

    “Hard working” as a value means that people will do things in order to look busy as opposed to things that might encourage productivity, collaboration and innovation.

    I have known plenty of “hard working” grad students in my days in a lab, and those rarely were among the most productive. They would use the brute force of hours of manipulation in face of problems instead of taking a nice coffee break to speak with collegues or browse the net to see if somebody else had solved the problem for them.

    The net result was that, as a “lazy” student, I was:

    – Spending less money on reagents and other supplies, as well as characterization services (NMR and the likes) since I did not waste time trying to reinvent the wheel

    – Got to know my labmates better

    – Had time for a healthy social life

    – Had time to think about other aspects of my project and to initiate collaboration with other teams

    Even in my new field, there’s a saying that a good programmer is a lazy programmer – one that will look if something they want to do already exists before sinking a shitload of hours into it. Or check if one language might be easier to use than another for an application.

    In the various minimum wage jobs I have held while studying, I have seen the results of this “work ethics”: the overarching need to look busy even if there’s nothing to do (that is extremely annoying, much more than it might seem), the abusive control managers try to implement over employee’s behavior, including toilet breaks, meal times, conversations between employees or with clients or simple permission to sit.

    It’s crap. It doesn’t serve any purpose except to make employee’s lives miserable. It means that your employees will leave you, understandably, at the very first opportunity they get, wasting the time you might have invested in teaching them. It also means they won’t try to innovate or take initiative for doing something that might increase their workloads.

  145. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’ve been following the polls for the Presidential contest for months at Real Clear Politics, and it’s remarkable how little they have shifted. (Incidentally, contrary to what a lot of commentators have said, it looks to me as though Robomormon perhaps did get a bit of a “bounce” from the RNC.) Despite numerous journalists I’ve heard saying the race is “neck-and-neck”, Obama has maintained a small but remarkably steady lead. That looks as though most people have made up their minds. So I guess this will not hurt Robomormon significantly.

  146. sawells says

    Surely this is going to make for some very, very easy-to-make campaign ads in, say, Florida?

    Cue voiceover. “You worked hard all your life. You paid for your Social Security. You paid for your Medicare. And now that you’re retired, Social Security and Medicare are there to look after you. Now hear what Mitt Romney thinks of you”. Cue tape.

    Ouch.

  147. Amphiox says

    That looks as though most people have made up their minds. So I guess this will not hurt Robomormon significantly.

    If he is behind, then obviously to win he has to make up ground. So if this interferes with that then it can still be said to hurt him significantly, even if the total percentage change is minimal. (For a certain definition of “significnat”).

  148. md says

    All you have to do is be on board with the basic prescription of utilitarianism- the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. You can only shit on that with a metaphysics argument if you want to try and say that “good” is impossible to measure in any meaningful way, which would be laughable to the majority of people.

    Nick, you highlight the sociopathic nature of utiltarianism in the sentence after you introduce it. Quite handy of you.

    If a majority of people found it to be “the greatest amount of good” to kill all the Republicans, or Democrats, or just merely strip them of everything of they own, utilitarianism allows it. A concept of Natural Rights does not, which is why I believe and promote it.

    JS Mill converted from such mechanistic thinking to something imbued with a little more humanity. Mill ultimately argued that happiness was found in the pursuit of the noble and not an algorithmic outcome of external variables. Here I agree with him.

  149. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A concept of Natural [imaginary made up] Rights does not, which is why I believe and promote it.

    FIFY

  150. says

    Sally Kohn, writing for Salon, takes a look at how right wing millionaires think about the 47%:

    … [Sally discusses the Buffet Rule] 1 percent of $1 billion is $10 million whereas 40 percent of $100,000 is only $40,000. In absolute dollars, sure, the billionaire is paying far, far more than the middle-class family, let alone a poor family. Yes, conservatives are right, the top 10 percent of Americans pay more than half of the nation’s total tax revenues — but that’s because the top 10 percent enjoy more than half of the nation’s income. And that gulf of inequality is only growing.

    But does anyone really think the richest of the rich should pay an effective 1 percent income tax rate while the middle class pays 40 percent?

    Oh wait, right — Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan think that’s a grand idea! Under Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which Mitt Romney endorsed, taxes for the middle class would go up while tax rates for millionaires and billionaires would be slashed to unprecedented lows. And under this tax plan Mitt Romney, who currently pays a less-than-fair share of 15 percent would pay just 0.82% percent in taxes….

    Increasingly, I’ve come to think this debate is not really about conservative faith in trickle-down economics, which all real-world evidence gleaned over decades now proves just doesn’t work. Instead, I think Mitt Romney and many conservatives simply believe that the wealthy are more deserving and the poor are lazy. Therefore, we should reward the rich with whatever they want — lower tax rates, unlimited campaign spending, you name it — and punish the poor…

  151. says

    @188 @MD

    I’m the one who wrote you.

    You keep saying “but some people think x!” like anyone is supposed to give a shit that some people think stupid shit. Saying that some people would argue for stupid idea x as being utilitarianism (or fair, for that matter) isn’t a mark against utilitarianism or fairness, its a mark against being stupid. I could argue that putting hats on donkeys is a utilitarian ideal- the content (WHY one would think that) is what matters, and you’ve failed to address that at all. You are also making a totally false equivalence between things which are widely considered to be good like food, shelter, and health care, and what some invented moron believes would be for the best. Do you think people are better or worse off with food, shelter, and health care? What is worth sacrificing in order to provide it to everyone?

    also LOL @ saying fairness is imagined while natural rights are not.

  152. says

    From ex-mormon forums: the discussion is turning to necrodunking the Romney campaign. Now that it’s dead, it’s fair game for proxy baptism

  153. sawells says

    On the BBC just now (News 24) they interviewed a Republican campaign strategist, someone who’d worked on the McCain campaign.

    She said, among other things, “I think that everyone, no matter where they stand on the partisan spectrum, would say that defence contractors, for example, are rather dependent on government”.

    The general tone was that of a pathologist respectfully drawing a sheet across the lifeless body of a campaign that has expired after a long and painful struggle with stupid.

    That was fun :)

  154. says

    Mother Jones has put up the full secret video.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/watch-full-secret-video-private-romney-fundraiser

    As David Corn notes, Mitt Romney said he wanted people to see the full tape, well here it is.

    He claimed his comments where merely a “snippet” and not the “full response.” That was not true; his comments were shown in full. He added, “I hope the person who has the video would put out the full material.”

    Romney is not the only one who has called for the release of the full 49-minute video. And we’re more than happy to oblige. The complete video demonstrates that Romney was not snippetized and that he was captured raw and uncut.

  155. says

    I dunno about anyone else, but I’m not actually angry about this. I’m glad.

    Glad that Romney is making such a colossal ass out of himself that he continues to tank his chances for election. When he tells the truth, all it does is hurt him.

  156. Ichthyic says

    As David Corn notes, Mitt Romney said he wanted people to see the full tape, well here it is.

    conclusion:

    Likely that the Romney campaign sees this as free advertising. Most of these people really believe there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    or…

    he really has rationalized in his own mind he never said what he actually said.

    not mutually exclusive ideas.

  157. Ichthyic says

    If a majority of people found it to be “the greatest amount of good” to kill all the Republicans, or Democrats, or just merely strip them of everything of they own, utilitarianism allows it. A concept of Natural Rights does not, which is why I believe and promote it.

    utlitarianism and the tyranny of the majority are not related.

    sorry.

    you misread Mills, who himself was a utlitarian!

  158. raven says

    At this point, all Romney can do is lock up the KKK, misogynist, idiot, christofascist, racist, anti-gay, war monger, Islamophobic, atheist hater, forced birther, anti-intellectual, anti-science, lunatic fringe, lemming etc. voters.

    Unfortunately, that seems to be about 50% of the US population.

  159. jefrir says

    Flat taxes aren’t just shitty because they disproportionately affect the poor – they also bring in less tax. If you set the tax rate at something most of your population can manage to pay, it’s going to be pretty low – which means that the rich are paying a very low amount overall.
    If we take Rowanvt’s simplified population, earning $10,000, $100,000 and $1,000,000, but apply a tiered tax system, say nothing on the first $20,000, 20% on the next $80,000, and 40% on anything over $100,000:
    The person on $10,000 pays nothing, and is clearly significantly better off.
    The person on $100,000 pays $16,000 rather than $10,000. That might cut into some luxuries, but isn’t really going to make much difference – and you’ve made back six times what you lost by not taxing the poorest guy.
    The person on $1 million pays $376,000, far more than before, but still leaving enough in take-home pay for anyone to live comfortably on.
    The extra money generated can then be used to improve conditions for everyone, and especially those at the lower end of the scale: by investing in education, health, infrastructure, all the things that make society healthier and, incidentally, provide jobs.

    A good tax system should extract the maximum amount of tax while having the minimum impact on people’s quality of life – and the best way to do that is through progressive income taxes.

  160. says

    I pay a higher percentage of tax than Mitt Romney. And I can’t afford health insurance.

    That must be because I’m lazy, and because God doesn’t love me as much as he loves Mitt.

  161. Ichthyic says

    That must be because I’m lazy, and because God doesn’t love me as much as he loves Mitt.

    exactly.

    Sloth is worse than adultery in Mitt’s Sin-Ratings scheme.

    you sloth, you.

  162. vaiyt says

    But sloth, by Mitt’s creed, isn’t defined by how much you actually work, but by how much you’re taking out of it.

    If you are poor, you’re automatically lazy, because if you worked hard you’d be rich. Duh.

  163. cm's changeable moniker says

    Rich people can afford to pay more; they won’t even notice.

    Oh, they notice. Oh, boy, do they ever notice.

    Holly Peterson and I spoke several times about how the super-affluence of recent years has changed the meaning of wealth. “[…] But then you had the Internet age, and then globalization, and you had people in their 30s, through hedge funds and Goldman Sachs partner jobs, who were making $20, $30, $40 million a year. And there were a lot of them doing it. I think people making $5 million to $10 million definitely don’t think they are making enough money.”

    As an example, she described a conversation with a couple at a Manhattan dinner party: “They started saying, ‘If you’re going to buy all this stuff, life starts getting really expensive. If you’re going to do the NetJet thing’”—this is a service offering “fractional aircraft ownership” for those who do not wish to buy outright—“‘and if you’re going to have four houses, and you’re going to run the four houses, it’s like you start spending some money.’”

    The clincher, Peterson says, came from the wife: “She turns to me and she goes, ‘You know, the thing about 20’”—by this, she meant $20 million a year—“‘is 20 is only 10 after taxes.’ And everyone at the table is nodding.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/the-rise-of-the-new-global-elite/308343/?single_page=true

    [my emphasis]

  164. laurentweppe says

    @anteprepro

    Here we go again; the mirror version of Mitten’s smugness:

    Do you really think Mitt is being criticized for being “smug”?

    I was not talking about Romney’s criticism, I was talking about the cheap shot at his voters, where they are described, once more, as morons lost in a fictional universe. And yes; it is as bad as calling democrats leeches: in both case, it implies that the targeted group deserve to be forcingly put in a submissive position: either because they’re not hardworking enough (so someone needs a stick to force these jackasses to move), or because they are too limited intellectually (so someone needs to think in their stead and force them to obey “for their own good”).

    Your “low information voters” and “vote for the bullshitters anyway” speech pretty much agrees with that.

    I wrote that the lowest information voters are centrist. And I noted that the better educated younger generations are as likely to vote for the far-right than their parents despite being smarter and better informed. Did you actually read what I wrote or just gave a passing glance looking for soundbites?

    ***

    Republicans “like” the rich, the idea of getting rich, think the American Dream is alive and well, think the economy is fair, and say as much in polls and surveys, when they have no fear of the rich stomping on their necks in retaliation for speaking out against them

    Have you ever heard about this showking concept called “lying”? Let me tell you one truth about politics not told often enough: voters lie all the fucking time. They lie when interviewed by journalists, they lied when called by pollsters, they lie when politics become a subject during family reunions, they even lie in the voting booth. And no one wants to publicly admit that they willingly became the lackeys of people they despise.
    Which makes the far-right a very fertile ground for lies and justification.
    *
    In France, since the far-right and the moderate right are still in different parties, the far-right can pull a pseudo-populist rethoric during the campain, then when the second ballot comes, most of its voter will vote for the conservative candidates they gleefully described as a buch of corrupt-sell-out-parasites. They’ll pretend that somehow the left and immigrants are way worse to them that the right and the rich heirs who control it: a lie used to justify their vote without aknowledging that they made themselves the lackeys of people they hate.
    *
    In the US, since the far-right and what’s left of the moderate right are joined at the hips and because of the country’s inane love for first-past-the post ballots, you can’t have the cathartic pleasure of voting during the first ballot for someone who bash your lords and masters on the campain trail. So another cathartic outlet was produced: dividing the rich between the virtuous and deserving “job-creators”, and the despicable and mostly imaginary “liberal elites”: by pretending that the “liberal elites” are the real aristocrats of the US, the far-right voters can express their aversion of the upper-class via the ersatz bashed with enthusiasm by the “job-creators”. Another lie used to justify their vote without aknowledging that they made themselves the lackeys of people they hate.
    *
    And while they do that, “liberals” who should know better spend their time wondering why so many people are voting “against their interest”, conclude that they are stupid and therefore not worth their time, and go down a path which leads to a moral bankruptcy similar to the GOP overlord’s. If that process was not the result of an accident, I would praise the evil genius of Whoever invented it.
    ***
    ***
    @sadunlap

    In Apartheid South Africa they had a more formalized system

    Or you can just look at the former confederacy (which looked earily similar to the red blot on PZ’s map by the way) for another formalized system.

  165. robro says

    md — Apparently Mitt found the stones (obviously not “the balls”) to stand by what he said, sort of. As you’ve already dissembled, he had a few “corrections” and “clarification,” which is just politician double-talk for “cover my ass.” (As for “clarifications,” see the chapter “Let Bad Enough Alone” in Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging for an amusing discussion of the misconception “that persistent clarification after one has committed a social blunder will make everything all right.”

    In any case, Romney still comes across as arrogant and disconnected, willing to do anything politically expedient to get votes, and perhaps more importantly, get money.

    What’s particularly disturbing about today’s revelation from Mother Jones is that he’s goading Palestinians which may well further inflame the situation in the Middle East. Dove tell this with Team Romney’s ties to Netanyahu, the call at the Values Voters Summit by Lt. Gen. Boykin that Israel attack Iran before the election (see here), and Netanyahu’s own saber rattling to influence the election, and you’ve got one hell of a scary situation.

    As for your assertion that flat tax is “fair,” others have already noted the obvious flaws. What might not be so obvious is that most of the income of the rich is taxed at the same rates as everyone else. The rate is graduated so that you only pay the maximum rate for income that exceeds a certain amount, which is currently (2012) income over about $388k dollars for married filing jointly.

    However, the reality is that flat tax will never happen because the rich have too much to loose. The current system creates the very real possibility that rich people pay a lower percentage of their income in payroll taxes, as Warren Buffet noted in a recent article. Buffet, as you know, is a very rich person. This isn’t just because of exemptions (aka “loopholes”), which the rich are better able to exploit, but any number of other ways they have available to them to shelter income from taxes.

    For example, lets talk about flat tax with respect to the social security tax. At present that tax is very much unflat in favor of the rich because of the cap. Most people make well under the cap and so pay the maximum social security tax. The employed semi-rich and very rich typically exceed the cap (currently just $110,100) so their actual FICA tax rate is quite a bit lower than average. Self-employeed people pay the highest individual rate (over 13%), but if their business is doing well they too can hit the cap and pay less. (I’m guessing that most rich people are “employed” by some business because that’s one of the best ways to shelter income and treat personal expenses as a “cost of business.”)

    By the way, I categorize myself as “comfortably well off” and I suppose I have everything to gain with Romney’s voodoo economics of lowering taxes. On the other hand, I’m smart enough to realize that what I don’t pay in taxes, I end up paying for in so many other ways.

  166. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So another cathartic outlet was produced: dividing the rich between the virtuous and deserving “job-creators”, and the despicable and mostly imaginary “liberal elites” – laurentweppe

    I find your analysis of French far right voters convincing, but it does imply that their voters are lying to themselves in the second round, so they are irrational if not stupid; while the passage I quote does seem to imply that many US Republican voters are pretty stupid, if they can be convinced that largely imaginary liberal elites are their enemy. Of course, a great deal of effort and money has been ploughed into making them stupid.

  167. cm's changeable moniker says

    One other quotation from the Atlantic article:

    The good news—and the bad news—for America is that the nation’s own super-elite is rapidly adjusting to this more global perspective. The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

    I heard a similar sentiment from the Taiwanese-born, 30-something CFO of a U.S. Internet company. A gentle, unpretentious man who went from public school to Harvard, he’s nonetheless not terribly sympathetic to the complaints of the American middle class. “We demand a higher paycheck than the rest of the world,” he told me. “So if you’re going to demand 10 times the paycheck, you need to deliver 10 times the value. It sounds harsh, but maybe people in the middle class need to decide to take a pay cut.”

    Look on their works, ye social justice warriors, and despair?

  168. laurentweppe says

    it does imply that their voters are lying to themselves in the second round

    *

    the passage I quote does seem to imply that many US Republican voters are pretty stupid, if they can be convinced that largely imaginary liberal elites are their enemy

    They’re neither stupid nor lying to themselves: they’re lying too the rest of society: have you ever seen someone admiting that they are deliberately serving the biggest bully in town? Of course not: since western culture stoped valuing submission as a virtue and started regarding it as one of the worst moral failing, it has become almost as unavowable as confessing a lust for blind 6 years old orphans.
    So far-right voters, on either side of the Atlantic, are traped between two opposite forces:

    1. The incentive to submit to the dominant social class because they made the calculus that it is more profitable/way less risky to them than challenging it.

    2. The fact that modern western culture regards submission to the biggest bully in town as the worst form of cowardice conceivable and that going against the zeitgeist is a sure way to destroy one’s reputation and cripple one’s social life.

    The lies and justifications are meant to submit to the dominant social class whithout being called yellow (and paying the price for it) by the rest of society.

  169. azgeo says

    Hey, New Mexico isn’t part of the Republican base! They vote blue a lot, a fact of which I’m quite jealous.

  170. says

    “We demand a higher paycheck than the rest of the world,” he told me. “So if you’re going to demand 10 times the paycheck, you need to deliver 10 times the value. It sounds harsh, but maybe people in the middle class need to decide to take a pay cut.”

    So CEOs must be producing several hundred times the “value” of the workers, right? ha.

  171. imthegenieicandoanything says

    To get back to Ped’s original question…

    …I don’t think it will work, but, yes, it is DEFINITELY time to bury him. I mean, just because of the smell!!!

  172. callitrichid says

    I love when Mitt says stuff like this. It’s so offensive and inappropriate that you’ve got to think that people will recognize the potential danger in his lack of diplomacy. right? or at least be personally offended? or am I being too naive?

  173. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

    The thing they fail to see is that once “lifted” those people will start demanding more since inflation drives the prices of what they need up – and no sane people of earth will work their asses off for nothing for very long. Combine that with the obvious problem that it’s quite hard to sell stuff to people who’ve got no money – your former despised “middle class”.

    It’s already happening in India and China, so much that even those countries outsource their own production to more desperate places.

    The thing is, those practices are not sustainable. They drive ever more money into the pockets of people who have a lot, and less and less into those who’ve got nothing, until those who’ve got nothing get so pissed off and desperate that society unravels.

    CEOs and Wall Street peddlers are useless wastes of space. It would be hilarious to see them try to sell their oh-so valuable “skillz” in a world that actually values the production of useful things.

  174. Snoof says

    So CEOs must be producing several hundred times the “value” of the workers, right?

    Of course they are.

    Admittedly, this is because the CEO class is the one which decides the value of work.

  175. says

    Other sections of the video show that Mitt Romney, a guy selling himself as the tough answer to the Iran problem, does not know the difference between a dirty bomb and a nuclear bomb. He thinks fissile material is necessary for a dirty bomb.

    He also gives his reasons for not appearing on Saturday Night Live. I hope SNL takes that as provocation for featuring him as a character frequently.

  176. says

    From Cary Tennis on Salon:

    Dear Mitt,

    I think it’s your hips. I saw you on television yesterday on a platform and you turned to your left and it looked like you being rotated on a lazy Susan. You take tiny steps like a little ballerina. Your torso doesn’t bend. Your arms seem connected to your shoulders with quarter-inch lag bolts. As performance art it was sort of beautiful the way nothing in your hips or torso betrayed any animal vitality, as though you’d been drained of bodily fluids by a Republican scientist. But this avant-garde dance is unlikely to win votes.

    How could a president who takes such tiny steps ever rope a steer? is what voters are thinking. Remember George W. Bush, how they asked him why he had that swagger and he said that down in Texas it’s what they call “walking”? That was pretty good. He swaggered and he was a dumbass. We could relate.

    He was scary but in a different way from the way you are scary. He was scary like a dumb jock. How could George W. Bush be a plutocrat if he couldn’t pronounce “plutocrat”? You are scary like a cyborg. We’re afraid you’re going to put us in a machine that harvests our organs.

    You know what I loved in that tape of you talking to your donors? It was the part where you talked about these misguided people who think they deserve food. That was awesome. Forty-seven percent of the electorate misguidedly believe they deserve food. Wait till news gets out. That was brilliant.

    One wonders if you are not some kind of test vehicle.

    Have you heard of Carl Jung? You should check him out before you disintegrate.

    Right now, when we look at you, we worry that the CGI program that maintains your skin tone will fail and flakes of you will spin off in a whirlwind….

    Link: http://www.salon.com/2012/09/19/dear_mitt_you_walk_funny/

  177. Ichthyic says

    Right now, when we look at you, we worry that the CGI program that maintains your skin tone will fail and flakes of you will spin off in a whirlwind….

    shades of Dorian Gray?

    Does Mitt have a rather interesting portrait hanging somewhere…

  178. David Marjanović says

    one in the same

    One and the same.

    I am shocked we have people defending MItt. I am heavily amused they have to attack the very concept of fairness to do so though.

    So much for “fair and balanced“! :-)

    In Rwanda the Belgians created Tutsis and Hutus where no such difference existed before.

    That’s not quite true. What the Belgians did was to define Tutsis and Hutus in very simple ways: everyone who owned more than 10 cattle became a Tutsi even if they weren’t before, everyone from 1 to 10 became a Hutu, and everyone without cattle became a Twa. That’s a big part of the reason why it’s often but not always possible to distinguish them by looking at them.

    Bush said, “There should be limits to freedom” in response to a joke web site about him and he still won. Twice.

    The first time because the Supreme Court and a Republican mob stopped the counting of the votes, the biggest imaginable crime in a democracy; the second time because Kenneth “Katherine” Blackwell, the governor and head of the Republican campaign of Ohio, counted the votes of Ohio in the Windows computer on his desk.

    Surely this is going to make for some very, very easy-to-make campaign ads in, say, Florida?

    I know Florida is where all the old people are, but Florida’s going for Obama anyway. How about Indiana or Arizona?

    conclusion:

    Likely that the Romney campaign sees this as free advertising. Most of these people really believe there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    or…

    he really has rationalized in his own mind he never said what he actually said.

    not mutually exclusive ideas.

    Third option: he’s fully aware that he said all that, and he thinks it’s good publicity, because he believes it’s all true!

    It fits his prejudices, so it just has to be true, hasn’t it?

    Unfortunately, that seems to be about 50% of the US population.

    It wasn’t last time…

    And yes; it is as bad as calling democrats leeches: in both case, it implies that the targeted group deserve to be forcingly put in a submissive position: either because they’re not hardworking enough (so someone needs a stick to force these jackasses to move), or because they are too limited intellectually (so someone needs to think in their stead and force them to obey “for their own good”).

    What the fuck?

    No! It means the rest of the population has an interest, if not a moral imperative, to make information more accessible to them! This has implications all the way to the education system – and to social policy, given the fact that poverty is an important cause of trouble in school.

    In France, since the far-right and the moderate right are still in different parties, the far-right can pull a pseudo-populist rethoric during the campain, then when the second ballot comes, most of its voter will vote for the conservative candidates they gleefully described as a buch of corrupt-sell-out-parasites. They’ll pretend that somehow the left and immigrants are way worse to them that the right and the rich heirs who control it: a lie used to justify their vote without aknowledging that they made themselves the lackeys of people they hate.

    Why are you so sure they aren’t simply voting for the lesser of two evils?

  179. anteprepro says

    I was talking about the cheap shot at his voters, where they are described, once more, as morons lost in a fictional universe.

    Yes, and your problem with that complaint is that they actually are .

    And yes; it is as bad as calling democrats leeches: in both case, it implies that the targeted group deserve to be forcingly put in a submissive position: either because they’re not hardworking enough (so someone needs a stick to force these jackasses to move), or because they are too limited intellectually (so someone needs to think in their stead and force them to obey “for their own good”).

    Am I missing something? There is no such implication. If Romney did imply as much, you could be damned sure someone other than yourself would be taking Romney to task for it.

    I wrote that the lowest information voters are centrist. And I noted that the better educated younger generations are as likely to vote for the far-right than their parents despite being smarter and better informed. Did you actually read what I wrote or just gave a passing glance looking for soundbites?

    Yes, the lowest information voters are centrist. I am aware of that. I read what you wrote and knew of that independently of you. Did you read what I wrote? Because none of your caveats does anything to show that right-wingers aren’t dumbfucks in respect to politics . What exactly is your issue here? Do I need to spell out that right-wingers compartmentalize, even when there have discussion after discussion after discussion here about how otherwise smart religious people can be idiotic when it comes to religion? I mean, really?

    Have you ever heard about this showking concept called “lying”? Let me tell you one truth about politics not told often enough: voters lie all the fucking time. They lie when interviewed by journalists, they lied when called by pollsters, they lie when politics become a subject during family reunions, they even lie in the voting booth.

    Oh, great. Well then let’s just throw out all the data we have on the subject, because people might be lying for no discernible reason, and we’ll just go with your hunches instead!

    And while they do that, “liberals” who should know better spend their time wondering why so many people are voting “against their interest”, conclude that they are stupid and therefore not worth their time,

    First they were people we needed to force into submission, now they are people that are not worth our time. Guess we can’t win, because it is evil to try to change them and it is evil to ignore them.

  180. anteprepro says

    Corrections:
    – should be “the problem” not “your problem”
    -“even when there have” should be “even when we have”

  181. says

    You know how Mitt always uses his fathers “pull myself up by my bootstraps” story as a substitute for his own rather pampered upbringing? Well, a little problem has surfaced. You see, Mitt’s father was on welfare for awhile.

    That’s right, Mitt’s dad was one of the 47%. There’s video to prove it. Here’s Mitt’s mother talking about the welfare episode:

    “We’ve only owned our home for the last four years,” Lenore Romney says. “He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on relief – welfare relief – for the first years of his life. but this great country gave him opportunities.”

    The actual video from 1962 is available at the link:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/19/george_romneys_welfare_relief/

  182. laurentweppe says

    It means the rest of the population has an interest, if not a moral imperative, to make information more accessible to them! This has implications all the way to the education system – and to social policy, given the fact that poverty is an important cause of trouble in school.

    Two things:
    First: this is only another way to call “morons” people who don’t vote like you want, except this one is more spineless since you’re pretty much trying to sugarcoat your contempt with fake thoughtfulness:
    Ooooooh, but if we just educated these quasi-barbaric biggots who got lost in an imaginary land because of ignorance and bad schools, they’d stop voting for assholes the poor darlings. See? I’m better than the GOP overlords because unlike them I use Hanlon’s razor.”
    *
    And second: as I wrote before, even in a country with a very expensive, and very efficient school system, where the population is demonstrately very well educated and very well informed, the far-right still gets millions of votes.
    See: the biggots who you claim would be magically cured if only they had a better education and a better access to information? We gave them all that. And they still vote for the assholes. So, you know, their voting patern may be the result of a deliberate calculus instead of just some sort of cognitive handicap.

  183. anteprepro says

    So, you know, their voting patern may be the result of a deliberate calculus instead of just some sort of cognitive handicap.

    Or, you know, it could be authoritarianism. Nah, couldn’t be. The idea that RWAs even exists is based on psychological tests. And people lie so obviously those results can’t be trusted! It must be some strange agenda that seems like a borderline conspiracy theory instead!

  184. carlie says

    “We’ve only owned our home for the last four years. He was a refugee from Mexico, he was on relief, welfare relief for the first years of his life.”

    Who’s that freeloader? Why, Mitt Romney’s father.

    (via Shakesville)

  185. laurentweppe says

    First they were people we needed to force into submission, now they are people that are not worth our time

    Playing dumb, huh?
    The logic of your rethoric is quite easy to follow:
    Right-wingers are dumbfucks in respect to politics, therefore trying to convince them is not worth it as they’re too stupid/compartimentalized to understand our genius so let’s make sure that we are in charge force them into submission for the greater good of all, of course
    Calling a sizable chunk of society “idiots” is -like calling them “looters”- the first step toward advocating their submission. You’re free to pretend that the implication is not here, as I am free to not play along.

    ***

    Or, you know, it could be authoritarianism

    And everyone here did read Altemeyer’s book, and everyone only swear by Altemeyer when it comes to authoritarianism, and since Altemeyer sees authoritarianism as a sort of personality disorder, everyone here will see authoritarianism as a sort of personality disorder, disregarding the other studies pushing toward different conclusions, because Hey! Skeptics! Open-minded intellectuals! Now shut up while we keep calling the other guys idiots.

  186. anteprepro says

    Playing dumb, huh?
    The logic of your rethoric is quite easy to follow:
    “Right-wingers are dumbfucks in respect to politics, therefore trying to convince them is not worth it as they’re too stupid/compartimentalized to understand our genius so let’s make sure that we are in charge force them into submission for the greater good of all, of course”
    Calling a sizable chunk of society “idiots” is -like calling them “looters”- the first step toward advocating their submission. You’re free to pretend that the implication is not here, as I am free to not play along.

    And I assume that your argument, that they are defeatists voting for assholes just because , couldn’t also be strawman-slippery sloped into having bad “implications”? Like “therefore we must twist their arms until they see that there is HOPE to fight against the ruling classes and get them to vote against the far-right”? Or perhaps “we must get rid of the rich and then the far-righters will start voting correctly”? I assume not. Because somehow there are only evil implications for arguments that aren’t yours.

    As for authoritarianism: It is not a personality disorder, it is just an aspect of personality that correlates with a variety of other things, some of which are negative but necessarily debilitating. There is a difference between the two. But way to strawman Altemeyer while bashing anyone who thinks his actual research has shown some insight into the American political landscape. Bravo.

  187. vaiyt says

    I wrote that the lowest information voters are centrist.

    The problem is that “centrist”, in the American context, is wayyy over to the right wing, because the political discourse is dominated by a right-wing party and an authoritarian right-wing party. In my own country, the “center” is closer to the left for the same reasons.

  188. says

    Many people do think it is time to bury Mitt. And not all of them are from the center and the left. Steve Benen, writing for The Maddow Blog posted this summary:

    The Hill quoted a GOP strategist saying Team Romney has “the stench of a losing campaign.”

    Politico quoted Greg Strimple, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign, saying, “The problem is the campaign is now in a spiral and no one knows how to pull out.” The same piece quoted a senior Republican who’s also deeply involved in this cycle’s campaign, who said, “As a candidate, [Romney] is just not going to improve.” A Romney bundler added, “[W]e’re just … imploding.”

    The New York Times reported that a “palpably gloomy and openly frustrated mood has begun to creep into Mr. Romney’s campaign for president,” and some Romney aides “are now wondering whether victory is still possible.” A “flustered adviser, describing the mood, said that the campaign was turning into a vulgar, unprintable phrase.”

    The Daily Beast ran a piece from Mark McKinnon, a former Bush adviser, who wrote, “I honestly don’t know what Romney can do to win support from the voters he needs to gain a majority. I thought the debates would be an opportunity, but he has dug his hole so deeply now, I don’t know if he can pull himself out…. I loved Michelle Obama’s line in her speech: ‘A presidency reveals who you are.’ So do campaigns. And mark me down as one Republican not happy with what is being revealed about Mitt Romney.”

    And the Huffington Post quoted a Republican consultant with deep experience on Capitol Hill and extensive contacts in the Romney campaign, who said, “There’s a feeling of almost that this thing’s in free fall.”

    Clearly, Romney is not where he wants or needs to be, but I’m rather amazed the panic is so widespread and public. President Obama’s leading, but his advantage can best be described as modest, and Romney and his allies are sitting on a mountain of cash, which will finance “carpet bombing” that has not yet begun. There’s just no need for this freak-out.

    But the freak-out is nevertheless well underway….

    Links to each of the articles referenced above and provided in the article at the Steve Benen link.

    The “mountain of cash” still bothers me.

  189. says

    From the Romney video transcript:

    Can you imagine working every day, taking a couple of jobs, saving your money so that your brother could go to—I mean, I would never do that for my brother—that he could go to co…so he went to college, and got a degree at the General Motors Institute of Technology, which is one of these programs where you work a semester, and then you go to school a semester and…and then after it was over he started a little company, he became more successful, and he was able to hire his brothers and his brother-in-law, and provide for them in an extraordinary way. By the way, both my dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their life, but when they came to the end of their lives, and, and passed along inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away…

    So, Romney would never work so that his brother could go to college. That sounds like Romney all right.

    But Romney and Ann gave away all of their inhereitance? That sounds like a Romney lie. For one thing, we already have the story of Ann and Mitt selling stock that Mitt’s father had given him to pay for college.

    Fact check of Ann Romney’s story.

  190. says

    How Republicans actually operate matters more than what they say.

    Thanks to a point of order raised by Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, against the Veterans Job Corps Act, 60 votes instead of a simple majority was needed to allow the bill to advance.

    The final tally was 58 to 40, and all 40 opponents of the proposal were Republicans.

    As proposals go, this should have been a no-brainer. The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), sought to lower unemployment among military veterans, giving grants to federal, state, and local agencies, which in turn would hire veterans — giving priority to those who served on or after 9/11 — to work as first-responders and in conservation jobs at national parks.

    The bill was fully paid for, and entirely bipartisan — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had his own set of ideas for the bill, and Murray incorporated all of them into her legislation.

    And yet, all but five Senate Republicans voted to kill it anyway, 48 days before a national election. Even Burr sided with his party to defeat the bill, and it was filled with his provisions….

    Republicans cannot let the Obama administration provide a path to putting more veterans back to work. That would count in the plus column for the Democratic Party, according to Republican thinking, so it cannot be allowed. So fuck the vets, they don’t count.

    This single-minded emphasis on making it possible for Republicans to win elections by making Obama look bad reminds me of Romney’s approach. It seems to hold true across the board. It does not look like democracy to me. It looks like the plutocrats doing whatever it takes to take over. And they are doing so under false pretenses. Jobs? Economy? Nope. Looks more like power and cultural authoritarianism.

  191. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    laurentweppe,

    The book you link to does not, from the description and reviews, appear obviously at odds with Altemeyer. In what way do you consider it to be so?

  192. Ichthyic says

    since Altemeyer sees authoritarianism as a sort of personality disorder

    no, he doesn’t.

    he sees it as an alternative personality, not a disorder.

  193. Ichthyic says

    …seriously, it would be like identifying certain characteristic personality traits of people who really like dogs as pets, and then you claiming that this means one is claiming it as a “disorder”.

    fail.

  194. Ichthyic says

    Now shut up while we keep calling the other guys idiots.

    strangely, I find myself rather calling YOU an idiot instead.

  195. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @238,

    The Republicans love to bray about supporting our troops. If I were a veteran, I’d sue them for non-support.

  196. laurentweppe says

    laurentweppe,
    The book you link to does not, from the description and reviews, appear obviously at odds with Altemeyer. In what way do you consider it to be so?

    Well, as reminded by the authors in this interview, Altemeyer views authoritarians as an underlying population with unchanging views about the world (he refers to it as “the authoritarian personality“).
    The book, on the contrary, showed that authoritarianism may not be a fixed aspect of one’s personality, but more likely a by-product of social anxiety and stress: the more stressful life is for people, the more numerous authoritarians among them will be. The more stressful your life is, the more likely you will turn authoritarian.
    This contradict Altemeyer’s idea of an “authoritarian personality”, as it means that many individuals can and will go from agreeing with the authoritarian worldview to rejecting it and vice-versa depending of whether they’re in a stressful situation or not.
    *
    Of course it’s not a conclusion that many “proud”, “smart”, “enlightened” anti-authoritarian commenters will like, as it implies that their bubble of upper-middle-class comfort and relative privilege may well be the only thing keeping many of them appart from the authoritarian mob… It’s much better to pretend to be inherently smarter than them

  197. Ichthyic says

    Altemeyer views authoritarians as an underlying population with unchanging views about the world (he refers to it as “the authoritarian personality“).

    exactly.

    this, however does not make it a “disorder” as you stated was Altemeyer’s position.

    care to retract that now?

    or would you like to go on misreprenting?

  198. Ichthyic says

    what’s more, the entire authoritarian INDEX is just that, an INDEX, it indeed shows a sliding scale of authoritarian personality.

    did you even READ his book, FFS?

  199. Ichthyic says

    many individuals can and will go from agreeing with the authoritarian worldview to rejecting

    strange that Altemeyer himself covers this in his book then.

    makes me again think you never even read it.

  200. anteprepro says

    The book, on the contrary, showed that authoritarianism may not be a fixed aspect of one’s personality, but more likely a by-product of social anxiety and stress: the more stressful life is for people, the more numerous authoritarians among them will be. The more stressful your life is, the more likely you will turn authoritarian.
    This contradict Altemeyer’s idea of an “authoritarian personality”, as it means that many individuals can and will go from agreeing with the authoritarian worldview to rejecting it and vice-versa depending of whether they’re in a stressful situation or not.

    I knew that this is what the perceived discrepancy would be about. It’s a false dichotomy. Personality isn’t supposed to be some innate quality that is unaffected by external reality. It isn’t independent of biology, experience, culture, etc. Nothing in psychology is. So no, the fact that aspects of the “authoritarian personality” can be influenced by stress does fuck all to disqualify “authoritarian personality” from being an accurate description.

  201. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    The book, on the contrary, showed that authoritarianism may not be a fixed aspect of one’s personality, but more likely a by-product of social anxiety and stress: the more stressful life is for people, the more numerous authoritarians among them will be. The more stressful your life is, the more likely you will turn authoritarian.
    This contradict Altemeyer’s idea of an “authoritarian personality” – Laurentweppe

    No, it doesn’t. No serious psychologist, including Altemeyer, views personality traits as either binary, or immune to environmental influence.