The Ledes

Friday, July 31, 2015.

AP: "Beijing was selected Friday to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, defeating the bid from Almaty[,Kazakhstan,] in a surprisingly close vote to become the first city awarded both the winter and summer games."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, July 30, 2015.

New York Times: "The commander of a group of Syrian fighters trained by the United States has been kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, his group said in a statement Thursday. The commander, Nadeem Hassan, and seven of his fighters were taken by the Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State in Syria, as they were returning from a meeting in Turkey."

AP: "Afghanistan's Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, who led the group's self-styled Islamic emirate in the 1990s, sheltered al-Qaida through the 9/11 attacks and led a 14-year insurgency against U.S. and NATO troops. The Taliban Shura, or Supreme Council, chose Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who had served as Mullah Omar's deputy for the past three years, as its new leader, two Taliban figures told the Associated Press...."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy rebounded between April and June, new government data showed Thursday, expanding at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent. Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish winter when the economy was at a crawl."

New York Times: "Government officials and families of passengers lost on a Malaysian jet that vanished last year with 239 people aboard responded warily on Thursday to the discovery of possible wreckage from the aircraft, reluctant to fan hopes after more than a year of fruitless searching and false rumors. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss of Australia, whose country has led the search for the jet, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said that the discovery of an airplane part thousands of miles from the search area was 'a very significant development' but cautioned against concluding that it was from the missing aircraft."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 31

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing with Energy Secretary Ernest Munoz

2:00 pm ET: Open government public meeting

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Jane Hamshire of Firedoglake: "... I have decided to pass the torch on to Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein, who will launch their own media organization called Shadowproof that will build on the success of FDL."

Dylan Byers: "MSNBC has formally decided to cancel three programs -- 'The Cycle,' 'Now with Alex Wagner' and 'The Ed Show' -- as part of a larger effort to shift its daytime lineup away from opinion programming.... Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, a 'Cycle' co-host and MSNBC's chief legal correspondent, will remain with the network. Ed Schultz, the host of 'The Ed Show,' will leave the network, as will 'Cycle' co-hosts Abby Huntsman, Krystal Ball and Toure.... In September, MSNBC will add a 5 p.m. program hosted by 'Meet The Press' moderator Chuck Todd, while Brian Williams, the former 'Nightly News' anchor, will serve as the network's breaking news and special reports anchor."

If you can memorize & learn to use the University of New Hampshire's long list of "bias-free language," you can be the most politically-correct person in your neighborhood. Via Jonathan Chait. ...

... CW Etiquette Tip: calling out your friends for using outmoded terms like "overweight" & "rich" is not politically correct. Simply try to steer the conversation in a more "inclusive" direction. So if your friend says to you, "My rich neighbor got so overweight he has to use a wheelchair now," you say, "Oh, that person of material wealth has become a person of size who is wheelchair mobile? Wow! He's your neighbor? I remember him when he was a person experiencing homelessness who lacked advantages that others have." It sounds so natural, your friend will never realize you've corrected his biased, dated stereotypes. ...

     ... UPDATE: Turns out the university's president is biased against the bias-free language guide & he was unaware of its existence until this week. Also, a Republican state legislator is "outraged" & finds the guide a good excuse to cut funding for the state university. Naturally. Thanks to MAG for the lead.

Will Oremus of Slate likes Windows 10. CW: I haven't had the courage to try switching over yet. I'll lose EVERYTHING!

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done for you, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."

NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."

Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."

For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.

Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."

Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...

... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."

New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."

New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.

New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."

Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Sunday
Jul152012

The Commentariat -- July 16, 2012

CW: Sorry for the slow morning. I had major connection problems overnight, & among the sites I couldn't access was my own. I'll try to get up to speed shortly, though I expect interruptions, access-wise & otherwise.

Banksters! Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times: "Some of the nation’s biggest brokerage firms appear to be giving a handful of top hedge funds an early peek at ... changes in [their] analysts' views ... of a company's prospects ... allowing them to trade on the information before other investors get the word." CW: these are not "savvy businessmen"; they're cheats, liars & crooks. ...

... Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has so far escaped responsibility for the spreading Libor fixing scandal by releasing documents showing that when he became aware of the problem in 2008, as head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he made recommendations to address it.... [But] the recommendations Geithner sent to London did not come from staff, but rather were proposed by major banks and more or less forwarded on verbatim." Thanks for the link go to Kate M., who shares my opinion of Wall Street's Man in Washington.

Bill Keller debunks five myths about the Affordable Care Act. Little of this will be news to Reality Chex readers, but Keller's piece provides good responses for you to toss at your Foxbot friends when they start explaining why ObamaCare is the canary in the coalmine of civilization.

Sen. Dr. No Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) writes an op-ed in the New York Times claiming Republicans are only to happy to raise taxes and they just pay no attention at all to Grover Norquist. To be fair, Coburn -- who is retiring, so he doesn't have to face Norquist/Tea Party wrath -- has been more willing than most in his party to discuss raising taxes in exchange for cuts in the social safety net. ...

... AND, in another op-ed from a Very Serious Jerk, Larry Summers writes in the Washington Post that the wealth inequality he helped create is maybe not such a good thing. One of his revolutionary suggestions for reducing inequality: "... the custom could be established [at top private universities] that for each 'legacy slot' room would be made for one 'opportunity slot.'" Summers was president of Harvard till nobody there could stand him, either. ...

... E. J. Dionne takes a whack at conservatives' "solutions" to wealth inequality, & notes that David Brooks' ruminations are "wrong."

NEW. Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "Democrats are making increasingly explicit threats about their willingness to let nearly $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect in January unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher taxes for the nation's wealthiest households. Emboldened by signs that GOP resistance to new taxes may be weakening, senior Democrats say they are prepared to weather a fiscal event that could plunge the nation back into recession if the new year arrives without an acceptable compromise."

Presidential Race

NEW: Anthony Gardner in Bloomberg News: "What's clear from a review of the public record during his management of the private-equity firm Bain Capital from 1985 to 1999 is that Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm's partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses. What's less clear is how his skills are relevant to the job of overseeing the U.S. economy, strengthening competitiveness and looking out for the welfare of the general public...." Gardner works at a private equity fund and was director of European affairs in the U.S. National Security Council in 1994-95."

NEW: Kevin Robillard of Politico: "Mitt Romney on Monday accused President Barack Obama of running a 'campaign based on falsehood and dishonesty,' while brushing aside suggestions from anxious conservatives to release more than two years of tax returns." ...

... NEW. Mackenzie Weinger of Politico: "Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz offered Mitt Romney and his campaign team some stark advice on Monday: They 'need to put their big boy and big girl pants on and defend his record.... They don't want to show us his record. They're running the most secretive campaign for president of a major party in history.'"

** New York Times Editors: "After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it's clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn't want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin." ...

... After three days of the New York Times not covering the story, today Nicholas Confessore & Michael Shear have a long piece looking at the evidence for and against Romney's claim that he "left Bain" in February 1999.

... The Personal Is Political." Paul Krugman: "The point is that talking about Mr. Romney's personal history isn't a diversion from substantive policy discussion. On the contrary, in a political and media environment strongly biased against substance, talking about Bain and offshore accounts is the only way to bring the real policy issues into focus. And we should applaud, not condemn, the Obama campaign for standing up to the tut-tutters." ...

... T. J. Walker, writing in Forbes, lists 35 questions Romney must answer before the controversy surrounding his "retirement" from Bain is resolved." ...

... Ben LaBolt, the Obama campaign's national press secretary, put out a memo (pdf) to the media highlighting some of Walker's questions. Via Greg Sargent. ...

... No Apologies. President Obama on WAVY-TV (Richmond, Virginia). The transcript is here. Via Taagen Goddard:

Drip, Drip. Ryan Grim & Jason Cherkis of the Huffington Post: "Add another document to the pile of evidence contradicting Mitt Romney's continued insistence that he ended his active role with Bain Capital in early 1999.... A corporate document filed with the state of Massachusetts in December 2002 -- a month after Romney was elected governor -- lists him as one of two managing members of Bain Capital Investors, LLC...." ...

... Matt DeLong of the Washington Post: "Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie defended his candidate from attacks over the timing of his departure from Bain Capital during an appearance on CNN's 'State of the Union' Sunday, saying Romney retired 'retroactively' from the firm." With video. ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York magazine: "Over the last few days, Mitt Romney has seen his business experience, which began the campaign as his primary qualification, turn into something perilously close to a scandal. It's now time for a recurrent phase in the campaign called Republicans Give Advice to Mitt Romney. Attack! Defend! Show us your taxes! (The last category, I would note, consists entirely of people who have never seen Romney's taxes.)"

Tom Edsall in the New York Times: there's not much merit to Mitt Romney's "merit-based" society. CW: no kidding. See, for example, Gretchen Morgenson's story, linked above.

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "Now, with a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations." CW: Who said there were no do-overs in life? These spokespeople who can't speak & think at the same time will soon insist on a 4-minute delay on the teevee, too: Eric Fehrnstrom's Etch-a-Sketch remark surely would have been Etch-a-Sketched, bleeped or cut. But seriously, the major media could put a stop to this gaffe-pass practice if the big guys all just said no. ...

... Jonathan Chait agrees with me: "Reporters, then, should just try saying no."

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Trying to shift the presidential campaign narrative away from his personal finances and tenure at Bain Capital, Republican Mitt Romney will launch a fresh assault this week accusing President Obama of political cronyism at the expense of middle-class workers." This Web video is a piece of the assault:

... AND there's this one:

... Margaret Hartmann of New York: "The [Romney] commercial illustrates how Obama abandoned the rhetoric of 'hope and change' and went negative by playing quotes from CBS's Bob Schieffer, the New York Times' David Brooks, and Time's Mark Halperin.... Now two of the three journalists have responded, and surprisingly, they weren't flattered by being dragged into an attack ad without their permission." CW: You'll have to read Hartmann's post to find out which of the three "journalists" (actually, only one is a journalist; the others are hacks) hasn't complained about appearing in the Romney ad; if you try to guess, your first two guesses don't count.

News Ledes

Guardian: "New York and Connecticut attorneys general have joined forces to investigate alleged manipulation of the Libor interest rates. The scandal is already being investigated by the US justice department and financial regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. But the involvement of New York state is likely to ramp up the investigation."

Guardian: "The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for global growth to the lowest level since 2009, when the world was first emerging from the great recession. The IMF said Monday it expects the world economy to grow 3.5% this year, 0.1 percentage points lower than its forecast three months ago, and warned that a sharper downturn was possible if policymakers in Europe and the US fail to act."

AP: "The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS. The agency approved Gilead Sciences' pill Truvada as a preventive measure for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners."

New York Times: "Gunners on a United States Navy supply ship in the Persian Gulf near the coast of the United Arab Emirates opened fire on a small motorized vessel on Monday after the small vessel disregarded warnings and rapidly approached, the United States Fifth Fleet command reported."

The Guardian is liveblogging the civil war in Syria, describing "fierce fighting" in Damascus. The New York Times story is here.

Reuters: "The U.S. Marshals Service has captured Vincent Legrend Walters, one of the law enforcement agency's 15 most wanted fugitives, in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. Walters, 45, wanted on kidnapping, murder and drug charges stemming from a 1988 San Diego case, was apprehended Friday morning, then transported to Mexico City where he will await extradition to the United States...."

Reader Comments (9)

Robert Parry at Consortium.com, reprinted in Reader Supported News, has written today about Mitt Romney's "fact checking" by Glenn Kessler at WaPo and by the Annenberg Foundation. Their main purpose appears to be cutting off any conversation about MittWitt's true activities at Bain after 1999:
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/12433-the- romney-fact-checking-scandal

Parry asserts that:
..."If these supposed "fact-checkers" really cared about facts, perhaps they would use their new status as Romney's favorite defenders to ask the Republican presidential candidate to release Bain Capital's internal records that would show whether he did or did not have any contacts with his subordinates after February 1999."

I agree. And I am glad Obama continues to go after Mitters on this Bain(al) matter. Even if the MSM wants to let MittWitt off the hook, I hope the Obama campaign and the alternative press, especially Marie Burns, keep on sifting and winnowing the facts!

If this guy wants to be POTUS, he needs to have a credible and mostly truthful resume. HA! Plus an economic and health plan IN WRITING--for the voters to see and judge. Creep!

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Another way to look at Willard the Rat's Bain problem is to compare it to the out of control screeching demands for Obama's birth certificate. The MSM never let up on this issue. Nearly all of them demanded that Obama turn over every scrap of information to prove that he was, in fact, an American citizen. In fact, a fair number of people are STILL demanding this information years after the state of Hawaii blew the birther case out of the water.

Those demands were, and still are, irrational attempts by haters and scheming right-wing con men, like Comb Over Boy, to continue to roll stones onto Obama's road and cause unnecessary distractions, even if it meant that the national business (and by extension citizens) had to suffer.

Now those same schemers and their running dog, boot licking lackeys in the MSM are decrying an entirely legitimate and necessary attempt at prying information out of Willard's campaign to determine once and for all the extent of his truth telling (or not) regarding official federal filings and, further, what he has repeatedly averred to the voters.

If a search for something that was already known was deemed important enough by the media to last over three years, certainly a valid and justifiable probe into the background of a presidential candidate should be considered strong enough not to be belittled and laughed at by that same media.

And we're not talking here about whether or not The Rat chased down and committed felony assault on a fellow student in high school as part of a hate crime he organized (although there is no doubt he did that too). We're talking here about a major component of Willard's rationale for demanding the keys to the White House.

That important enough for ya?

Apparently not.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

akhilleus,

Your analysis is, I believe spot on. But as soon as the media starts to pursue an honest-to-goodness, verifiable retirement date from Bain, the hue and cry from the wingers will begin that we must be shown President Obama's transcripts from Columbia and Harvard as well as his birth certificate. Deflection, deflection, deflection.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

As Krugman writes, the coming election should be a no brainer for voters no matter their economic status.

First, if you’re in the 1% or even close to it (anywhere inside the 5% line should do), Willard is your man. His policies will continue to enrich you and continue the absolution, begun by St. Ronald of Reagan, of your responsibilities as an American citizen. That stuff is for the plebes, and Romney will make sure that either they (the 95-99%) pick up your tab or get less of everything. A lot less. Either way, you win.

Now if you are a member of that 95-99% group, you should vote for Obama for exactly the same reasons. Although no enemy to Wall Street and 1% Masters of the Universe, he at least has some connection with the 99. His tax policies, unlike The Rat’s, won’t saddle the rest of us with quite as much of a burden. AND he offers minor things like healthcare for (almost) everyone, something Willard the Rat has declared unconstitutional, further promising to take it away the first chance he gets.

But like the contours of distant mountain ranges half hidden in clouds and fog, the shape of the world we now inhabit occasionally comes into stark relief when the clouds part and we get a passing glimpse of the ragged and dangerous peaks that block our passage to a more equitable society.

Click on any of the links Marie provides this morning and those crags come into focus. Let’s simply consider the Gretchen Morgenson story about big investment banks elbowing their way into what is basically insider trading information to make money at the expense of average investors.

If you require a starker example for what kind of advantage such information offers, I cite the example of an economics experiment I recently encountered. I cannot, for the life of me, recall the Ec professor who initiated this little test, but several of you may have read about it as well.

Take two players. Sit them down with a Monopoly board game. Now adjust the rules to roughly mirror what’s taking place in MittRomneyWorld.

Player one (a One Percenter) starts off with five times as much money as player two (the NinetyNine Percenter). Each time player one passes go he receives $500. Player two receives nothing. Player two, if he wishes to purchase real estate is charged double the rate of those for player one (reflecting the advantages of inside information and cushy financial quid pro quos). Also, player one gets to use two dice on every spin; player two, only one die. Very rapidly, the headstart given to the Romney player far outdistances the AverageAmericanTaxPayer player who within a few spins around the board is bankrupt, all their money absorbed by the One Percenter.

This is the real world for Romney and his pals. They expect, and they receive, special breaks all their lives, insider information not available to the other players, every economic and social advantage they need to break the backs of their opponents and cart off their money, their homes, their futures. These they stockpile in one of their warehouses. They expect additional breaks such as relief from paying their fair share in taxes, and they don’t much like anyone telling them anything about responsibility or law or morals or any other damn thing that gets in the way of their ability to cash in on all their advantages. They expect never to be called on anything, including and especially information relating to how exactly they got so rich.

What they do expect, and this they receive as well, is an acknowledgement that they had no advantages at all. That everything they have, they EARNED the hard way through no special help from anyone. Because THAT is the most durable of right-wing myths, one Romney will perpetuate and continue to advance through subterfuge, schemes, stonewalling, and outright lies.

Krugman is right. The personal IS political.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Jacquelyn,

Yes. And the subtext of those requests for transcripts will be accompanied by an ugly whisper campaign that will, believe me, find plenty of traction on the right: that no black man could have gotten such high marks from Ivy League schools without "special" help (eg, cheating). Right along with that will be screaming outrage by such as Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh that ANYone dare to call them racists.

They already do this sort of thing. They do it to a T.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: "I just signed the thing, oh, and dated it, som of a bitch." It's like finding Rocco the raccoon sitting on my front porch dipping Squeeky the Kitty's kibble in the water bowl. I say,"Rocko, dude; you've got to stop eating Squeek's food. Rocco just gives me the look and says, "Go back inside and turn off the lights, there's nothing unusual going on here.
Sign SEC documents with no regard to the truth, not unusual.
Say anything to gain advantage, not unusual.
Throw the blame on your detractors, not unusual.
Excuse any action by saying, " That's business.", not unusual.
Stashing millions overseas to avoid taxes, not unusual.
Catering to scum to buy votes, not unusual.
Demanding retractions to cover lies, not unusual.
1999 to 2002, same as ever.
Mitt doesn't think he is responsible for his past because his past is not unusual. Same,same. He'd outsource America if he could.
Tonight I will give Rocco a can of tuna for comparing him to Mitt.
Rocco will slam the can of tuna and tell me to go back inside and turn off the light, not unusual.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@Akhilleus: Hadn't heard of the Monopoly parable but have long tried to teach this simple but apparently elusive math lesson: a distribution system as "fair" as repeatedly giving each player/participant/laborer/manager/owner the same reward/bonus/wage/salary increase--let's say 3%--necessarily widens the gap between those who start out at the top and those at the bottom. Over time that gap becomes a chasm and we end up where we are today.

Seems obvious but it is apparently not for all those whose interests are harmed by regressive taxes and yet support flat incomes taxes and the elimination of estate taxes. Turns out, in the world of arithmetic, treating everyone the same is not fair at all. In short, the One Percenters don't need a lot of rule changes; they don't even need to cheat; all they need is a little patience, and the arithmetic will take care of them just fine.

As it has.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

As a prime example of how egregious is the lack of media responsibility, Jake Tapper of ABC news released a news package this morning describing the Obama campaign's demand for clarity from Romney on his Bain history as nothing but "changing the subject" from the economic misery inflicted on the country by the president. He goes on to repeat, without the tiniest effort at fact-checking, a Romney charge that Obama regularly engages in "insider trading."

And this guy isn't a Fox drooler.

But that doesn't mean he's reliable either. This is the way it works. When rich people are attacked, the media comes to their aid and besmirches those asking the questions.

Plus, don't forget. ABC is owned by Walt Disney, the largest media company in the world, in terms of revenue. You don't think they're going to come down on the side of the 99, do you? We exist to purchase vacation homes and supply gigantic bonuses for Disney executives. They are not in the business of providing information that might hurt one of their own.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Here's my question for Willard: how many American jobs have been created by your stash in the Caymans and Switzerland?

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon
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