Allison Linn of NBC News: out-of-work Mainer Eric Leppanen, once a heavy credit-card user, "recently found [a] box of 169 credit cards [he had discarded]. He used the cards, plus 50 state quarters, to create his own artistic tribute to the boom years of the early 2000s. He calls the piece 'Indebted States of America.'"
"America's Bloodiest Day." CW: I missed this piece by Rick Beard in yesterday's New York Times: "By 5 p.m., the Battle of Antietam was over. Over 22,000 Americans lay dead or wounded or were among the missing: the highest single-day casualty total of the Civil War.... (Sept. 17 also proved to be the war's deadliest day for civilians, when 78 workers in the Allegheny Arsenal were killed in an explosion.) An official with the Sanitary Commission wrote: 'No words can convey the utter destruction and ruin. For four miles in length, and nearly a half mile in width, the ground is strewn with hats, caps, clothing, canteens, knapsacks, shells, and shot. Visit a battlefield and see what a victory costs.'"
Stanley Fish: "We have decided that the potential unhappy consequences of a strong free speech regime must be tolerated because the principle is more important than preventing any harm it might permit. We should not be surprised, however, if others in the world -- most others, in fact -- disagree, not because they are blind and ignorant but because they worship God and truth rather than the First Amendment, which not only keeps God and truth at arm's length but regards them with a deep suspicion."
Presidential Race -- Romney Tapes, Part 2
David Corn of Mother Jones: "Romney spoke of 'the Palestinians' as a united bloc of one mindset, and he said: 'I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way.' ... In public, Romney has not declared the peace process pointless or dismissed the two-state solution." Take a look at Corn's whole post. There is more.
AP: "GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told donors in a newly released video clip that Palestinians 'have no interest' in peace with Israel and suggested that efforts at Mideast peace under his administration would languish."
Presidential Race -- Romney Tapes, Part 1
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "All the Sad Young Men," 1936
** Jonathan Martin of Politico on why Obama is winning. This is a good, comprehensive, impartial analysis. ...
... NEW. Ramesh Ponnuru, an editor & contributor to the right-wing National Review, writes a Bloomberg News opinion piece that knocks the wind out of some conservative memes about voter preferences & GOP policy. ...
... NEW. Jon Chait of New York has a very good post on the significance of Romney's remarks: "Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. ('I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.')"
The End of the Line for Willard. David Corn of Mother Jones: "During a private fundraiser earlier this year..., Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them.... To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination":
... Corn has three more short videos embedded in the linked post, and writes he will be publishing more. ...
... Here's Corn on Rachel Maddow's show. He has an interesting tale about the venue where the Romney Tapes were recorded:
... Michael Shear of the New York Times: "The blunt political and cultural assessment by the Republican presidential candidate offers a rare glimpse into Mr. Romney's personal views as the campaign enters its final 50 days. Liberals quickly condemned the remarks as insensitive and Mr. Obama's campaign accused him of having 'disdainfully written off half the nation.'" ...
... Update: Romney responds to release of the video. ...
... Michael Barbaro of the New York Times on how Romney's mini-presser came about. Read to the end.
Had [my father] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this. -- Mitt Romney, at a private fundraiser, pointing out, I guess, that "those people" get all the breaks
... Digby: "He's literally saying that nearly half the country is a bunch of parasites.... I don't know that I've ever seen a presidential candidate with more contempt for the American people than Mitt Romney. It's one thing for a candidate to attack his opponent, but to attack half he country as a bunch of losers you don't have to care about is just unprecedented. He's obviously as much a believer in twisted Randroid tropes as his chosen VP." ...
... Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic: "What is most jarring about Romney's comments here is ... that sense that Romney's grasp of America is so thin, that he believes that half of it is dismissible strictly on the grounds of laziness." ...
... ** "Thurston Howell Romney." David Brooks: "... as a description of America today, Romney's comment is a country-club fantasy. It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney." ... CW: a la Lyndon Johnson's response to Walter Cronkite's criticism of the Vietnam War, Romney -- if he knew any history, which he probably doesn't -- would be saying right now, "If I've lost Brooks, I've lost the election."
... Paul Krugman: "... if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job -- that is, they're people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future. The idea that half of Americans are just grifters is grotesque. If this is real, it's very, very ugly." CW: it's real. Michael Shear's post quotes a Romney spokesperson, who doesn't even try to deny it; she just says Romney is "concerned" about the grifters. ...
... AND where are all those freeloaders? Oh, my goodness gracious me! A whole passel of them just might be Republicans!
... Map via David Graham of The Atlantic.
... AND, as Kevin Roose of New York magazine points out, some of those freeloaders are Mitt's BFFs: "There are two primary ways to pay no (or negative) federal income taxes. The first is to be poor, and the second is to be elderly.... There, are, of course, some exceptions to the old-or-poor rule. As Bruce Bartlett noted last year, roughly 12 million households making over $33,542 in 2011 paid no federal income tax. And there are an untold number of illegal tax evaders who haven't paid a dime either. (Like Wesley Snipes!) But the most egregious members of the 47 percent are the 3,000 people who made more than $2,178,866 in 2011 (putting them in the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers), and yet paid no federal income taxes." ...
... AND, since Lord & Lady Willard Romney won't release their own tax returns -- for all we know, they are among the non-taxpaying freeloaders. Of course we already know they're major moochers, since they have knocked themselves out not to pay their fair share of income tax. Their own record of serial tax avoidance makes Mitt's little "socioeconomic theory" one giant, oozing corpuscle of hypocrisy. ...
... ** Ezra Klein: "Part of the reason so many Americans don't pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans.... When you look at graphs of the percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes, you see huge jumps after Ronald Reagan's 1986 tax reform and George W. Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.... Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.... Romney's theory here is ... actually core to his economic agenda." ...
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "Romney appears to conflate a few things — Obama's approval rating, the percentage of people who do not pay income taxes and people who rely on government assistance. There may be some overlap between these groups but they really are not the same thing.... Perhaps it is too much to expect a politician to be entirely accurate in a closed door speech, but one would think he would have even less need to stretch the truth if he thinks the cameras are not rolling."
... Josh Barro of Bloomberg News: "You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president." ...
... John Sides of the Monkey Cage runs the numbers & agrees with those of you who have argued that gaffes are not game-changers: "Many a news cycle was built on a 'gaffe' with a remarkably short shelf life."
Even tho, like Barro, I think the presidential race is over, let's keep at it. Here's an Obama campaign ad hitting Romney on his promise to get tough on China:
... AND what's left of the campaign will be dirty. Charles Pierce: "There's really only one campaign left to [Romney] now.... It's going to get extraordinarily dirty extraordinarily fast. There is going to be pale birtherism and barely covert racism.... There is going to be poor-baiting, and gay-baiting, and ladyparts-baiting, and probably baiting of things I haven't thought of yet. The polite part of the campaign is going to be Romney's effort to convince You that he was really talking about Them when he was calling people moochers and sneak thieves."
AP: "Republicans ... produced an 'Apprentice'-style Donald Trump video that they never showed to delegates." CW: aw, shucks. The "you're fired" part would have been so clever.
"Patriot Games," by the Gregory Brothers for the New York Times:
Chicago Tribune: "The Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates decided this afternoon to end the city's first teacher strike in 25 years and return more than 350,000 students to the classroom Wednesday."
Washington Post: "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday called for more hearings on whether a new Republican-backed voter ID law can be implemented this fall without disenfranchising voters who currently lack the needed photo identification. The decision drew sharp rebukes from two of the six justices. They said it was already clear that some legitimate voters could not secure the needed ID in time for the election."
AP: "The United States said Tuesday it is ending the U.S. Agency for International Development's operations in Russia after a Kremlin demand that the aid organization leave the country, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama;s policy of 'resetting' relations between Washington and Moscow."
Washington Post: "The USS Long Beach, the first nuclear-powered surface warship in history, went around the world in a 1964 tour designed to showcase the possibilities of nuclear power.... The ship, which is docked in Bremerton, Wash., is saying its final goodbyes. But there won't be a ceremonial sinking; instead, the Navy is sending the ship off for scrap."
Guardian: "The Nato-led military strategy in Afghanistan has been thrown into disarray after joint on-the-ground operations were suspended because of a collapse in trust over the killings of Americans and other Nato soldiers by Afghan government forces."
Washington Post: "Anti-American protests that started in Cairo and spread across the Muslim world have stalled negotiations to provide crucial U.S. economic assistance to Egypt, U.S. officials said Monday."
Washington Post: "Ten people were killed near Kabul’s airport Tuesday when a suicide car bomber rammed into a minivan carrying foreign aviation workers, police said. A Pakistan-based militant group said it carried out the attack to avenge an Internet video that defames the prophet Muhammad."