Craig Eisele on …..

March 4, 2012

Latest Reason to Be Against Romney… Eric Cantor

Yes it is True…. Eric Cantor…. one of the main people who have helped destroy my Republican Party has endorsed Mitt Romney on Meet The Press this morning…. and then he went on to do the  thing he does best that makes independents go against republicans and that is the HARD LINE RADICAL RIGHT WING rhetoric he is known for.. and the promulgation of lies and misinformation….IT HAS TO STOP!!!!

DAMN IT..  I WANT MY REPUBLICAN PARTY BACK .. the one that had values and principles and  knew  what it was the american public wanted and needed and was willing to work to  make it happen…

February 26, 2012

It’s the 0.000063% of the US Who REALLY Deciding the Presidential Election

How US politics became the politics of the “super rich”.

New York, NY - At a time when it’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed the nation’s political conversation – drawing long overdue attention to the struggles of the 99 per cent - electoral politics and the 2012 presidential election have become almost exclusively defined by the one per cent. Or, to be more precise, the .000063 per cent. Those are the 196 individual donors who have provided nearly 80 per cent of the money raised by Super PACs in 2011 by giving $100,000 or more each.

These political action committees, spawned by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision in January 2010, can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations, or unions for the purpose of supporting or opposing a political candidate. In theory, Super PACs are legally prohibited from coordinating directly with a candidate, though in practice they’re just a murkier extension of political campaigns, performing all the functions of a traditional campaign without any of the corresponding accountability.

If 2008 was the year of the small donor, when many political pundits (myself included) predicted that the fusion of grassroots organising and cyber-activism would transform how campaigns were run, then 2012 is “the year of the big donor”, when a candidate is only as good as the amount of money in his Super PAC. “In this campaign, every candidate needs his own billionaires,” wrote Jane Mayer of The New Yorker.

 
 

‘This really is the selling of America,” claims former presidential candidate and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. “We’ve been sold out by five justices thanks to the Citizens United decision.” In truth, our democracy was sold to the highest bidder long ago, but in the 2012 election the explosion of Super PACs has shifted the public’s focus to the staggering inequality in our political system, just as the Occupy movement shined a light on the gross inequity of the economy. The two, of course, go hand in hand.

“We’re going to beat money power with people power,” Newt Gingrich said after losing to Mitt Romney in Florida as January ended. The walking embodiment of the lobbying-industrial complex, Gingrich made that statement even though his candidacy is being propped up by a Super PAC funded by two $5 million donations from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. It might have been more amusing if the GOP presidential primary weren’t a case study of a contest long on money and short on participation.

The Wesleyan Media Project recently reported a 1,600 per cent increase in interest-group-sponsored TV ads in this cycle as compared with the 2008 primaries. Florida has proven the battle royale of the Super PACs thus far. There, the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, outspent the pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning Our Future, five to one. In the final week of the campaign alone, Romney and his allies ran 13,000 TV ads in Florida, compared with only 200 for Gingrich. Ninety-two per cent of the ads were negative in nature, with two-thirds attacking Gingrich, who, ironically enough, had been a fervent advocate of the Citizens United decision.

With the exception of Ron Paul’s underdog candidacy and Rick Santorum’s upset victory in Iowa – where he spent almost no money but visited each of the state’s 99 counties – the Republican candidates and their allied Super PACs have all but abandoned retail campaigning and grassroots politicking. They have chosen instead to spend their war chests on TV.

The results can already be seen in the first primaries and caucuses: an onslaught of money and a demobilized electorate. It’s undoubtedly no coincidence that, when compared with 2008, turnout was down 25 per cent in Florida, and that, this time around, fewer Republicans have shown up in every state that’s voted so far – except for South Carolina. According to political scientists Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar, negative TV ads contribute to “a political implosion of apathy and withdrawal”. New York Times columnist Tim Egan has labelled the post-Citizens United era “your democracy on meth”.

 
 

The 0.01 per cent primary .

More than 300 Super PACs are now registered with the Federal Election Commission. The one financed by the greatest number of small donors belongs to Stephen Colbert, who’s turned his TV show into a brilliant commentary on the deformed Super PAC landscape. Colbert’s satirical Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, has raised $1 million from 31,595 people, including 1,600 people who gave $1 each. Consider this a rare show of people power in 2012.

Otherwise the Super PACs on both sides of the aisle are financed by the one per cent of the one per cent. Romney’s Restore Our Future Super PAC, founded by the general counsel of his 2008 campaign, has led the herd, raising $30 million, 98 per cent from donors who gave $25,000 or more. Ten million dollars came from just ten donors who gave $1 million each. These included three hedge-fund managers and Houston Republican Bob Perry, the main funder behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, whose scurrilous ads did such an effective job of destroying John Kerry’s electoral prospects. Sixty-five per cent of the funds that poured into Romney’s Super PAC in the second half of 2011 came from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, otherwise known as the people who brought you the economic meltdown of 2007 to 2008.

Romney’s campaign has raised twice as much as his Super PAC, which is more than you can say for Rick Santorum, whose Super PAC – Red, White & Blue – has raised and spent more than the candidate himself. Forty per cent of the $2 million that has so far gone into Red, White & Blue came from just one man, Foster Friess, a conservative hedge-fund billionaire and Christian evangelical from Wyoming.

In the wake of Santorum’s upset victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7, Friess told the New York Times that he’d recruited $1 million for Santorum’s Super PAC from another (unnamed) donor and upped his own giving, though he wouldn’t say by how much. We won’t find out until the next campaign disclosure filing in three months, by which time the GOP primary will almost certainly be decided.

For now, Gingrich’s sugar daddy Adelson has pledged to stay with his flagging campaign, but he’s also signalled that if the former Speaker of the House goes down, he’ll be ready to donate even more Super PAC money to a Romney presidential bid. And keep in mind that there’s nothing in the post-Citizens United law to stop a donor such as Adelson, hell-bent on preventing the Obama administration from standing in the way of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, from giving $100 million, or for that matter, however much he likes.

Before Citizens United, the maximum amount one person could give to a candidate was $2,500; for a political action committee, $5,000; for a political party committee, $30,800. Now, the sky’s the limit for a Super PAC, and even more disturbingly, any donor can give an unlimited contribution to a 501c4 – outfits defined by the IRS as “civic leagues or organisations not organised for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare” - and to make matters worse, that contribution will remain eternally secret. In this way, US politics is descending further into the darkness, with 501c4s quickly gaining influence as “Shadow Super PACs”.

“Forty per cent of the TV ads in the presidential race so far came from these tax-exempt ‘social welfare’ groups.”

A recent analysis by the Washington Post found that, at a cost of $24 million, 40 per cent of the TV ads in the presidential race so far came from these tax-exempt “social welfare” groups. The Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, a leading conservative Super PAC attacking Democratic candidates and the Obama administration, also runs a 501c4 called Crossroads GPS. It’s raised twice as much money as its sister group, all from donations whose sources will remain hidden from US voters. Serving as a secret slush fund for billionaires evidently now qualifies as social welfare.

The ‘income defense industry’

In his book Oligarchy, political scientist Jeffrey Winters refers to the disproportionately wealthy and influential actors in the political system as the “income defence industry”. If you want to know how the moneyed class, who prospered during the Bush and Clinton years, found a way to kill or water down nearly everything it objected to in the Obama years, look no further than the grip of the one per cent of the one per cent on our political system.

This simple fact explains why hedge-fund managers pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, or why the US is the only industrialised nation without a single-payer universal healthcare system, or why the planet continues to warm at an unprecedented pace while we do nothing to combat global warming. Money usually buys elections and, whoever is elected, it almost always buys influence.

In the 2010 election, the one per cent of the one per cent accounted for 25 per cent of all campaign-related donations, totalling $774 million dollars, and 80 per cent of all donations to the Democratic and Republican parties, the highest percentage since 1990. In congressional races in 2010, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the candidate who spent the most money won 85 per cent of House races and 83 per cent of Senate races.

The media loves an underdog story, but nowadays the underdog is less likely than ever to win. Given the cost of running campaigns and the overwhelming premium on outspending your opponent, it’s no surprise that nearly half the members of Congress are millionaires, and the median net worth of a US Senator is $2.56 million.

 
 

The influence of Super PACs was already evident by November 2010, just nine months after the Supreme Court’s ruling. John Nichols and Robert McChesney of The Nation note that, of the 53 competitive House districts where Rove’s Crossroads organisation outspent Democratic candidates in 2010, Republicans won fifty-one. As it turned out, however, that election was a mere test run for the monetary extravaganza that is 2012.

Republicans are banking on that Super PAC advantage again this year, when the costs of the presidential contest and all other races for federal posts will soar from $5 billion in 2008 to as high as $7 billion by November. (The 2000 election cost a “mere” $3 billion.) In other words, the amount spent this election season will be roughly the equivalent of the gross domestic product of Haiti.

The myth of small donors

In June 2003, presidential candidate Howard Dean shocked the political establishment by raising $828,000 in one day over the internet, with an average donation of $112. Dean, in fact, got 38 per cent of his campaign’s total funds from donations of $200 or less, planting the seeds for what many forecast would be a small-donor revolution in US politics.

Four years later, Barack Obama raised a third of his record-breaking $745 million campaign haul from small donors, while Ron Paul raised 39 per cent from small dollars on the Republican side. Much of Paul’s campaign was financed by online “money bombs”, when enthusiastic supporters generated millions of dollars in brief, coordinated bursts. The amount of money raised in small donations by Obama, in particular, raised hopes that his campaign had found a way to break the death grip of big donors on US politics.

In retrospect, the small-donor utopianism surrounding Obama seems naïve. Despite all the adulatory media attention about his small donors, the candidate still raised the bulk of his money from big givers. (Typically, these days, incumbent members of Congress raise less than ten per cent of their campaign funds from small donors, with those numbers actually dropping when you reach the gubernatorial and state legislative levels.) Obama’s top contributors included employees of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, hardly standard bearers for the little guy. For obvious reasons, the campaign chose to emphasise the small donors over the big ones in its narrative, as it continues to do in 2012.

Interestingly enough, both Obama and Paul actually raised more money from small donors in 2011 than they did in 2008, 48 per cent and 52 per cent of their totals, respectively. But, in the Super PAC era, that money no longer has the same impact. Even Dean doubts that his anti-establishment, internet-fuelled campaign from 2004 would be as successful today. “Super PACs have made a grassroots campaign less effective,” he says. “You can still run a grassroots campaign but the problem is you can be overwhelmed now on television and by dirty mailers being sent out … It’s a very big change from 2008.”

Obama is a candidate with a split personality, which makes his campaign equally schizophrenic. The Obama campaign claims it’s raising 98 per cent of its money from small donors and is “building the biggest grassroots campaign in American history”, according to campaign manager Jim Messina. But the starry-eyed statistics and the rhetoric that accompanies it are deeply misleading. Of the $89 million raised in 2011 by the Obama Joint Victory Fund, a collaboration of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Obama campaign, 74 per cent came from donations of $20,000 or more and 99 per cent from donations of $1,000 or more.

The campaign has 445 “bundlers” (dubbed “volunteer fundraisers” by the campaign), who gather money from their wealthy friends and package it for Obama. They have raised at least $74.4 million for Obama and the DNC in 2011. Sixty-one of those bundlers raised $500,000 or more. Obama held 73 fundraisers in 2011 and 13 last month alone, where the price of admission was almost always $35,800 a head.

 
 

An increase in small donor contributions and a surge of big money fundraisers still wasn’t enough, however, to give Obama an advantage over Republicans in the money chase. That’s why the Obama campaign, until recently adamantly against Super PACs, suddenly relented and signaled its support for a pro-Obama Super PAC named Priorities USA.

A day after the announcement that the campaign, like its Republican rivals, would Super PAC it up, Messina spoke at the members-only Core Club in Manhattan and “assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign”, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. “Messina told the group of Wall Street donors that the president plans to run against Romney, not the industry that made the former governor of Massachusetts millions.”

In other words, don’t expect a convincing return to the theme of the people versus the powerful in campaign 2012, even though Romney, if the nominee, would be particularly vulnerable to that line of attack. After all, so far his campaign has raised only nine per cent of its campaign contributions from small donors, well behind both Senator John McCain (21 per cent) in 2008, and George W. Bush (26 per cent) in 2004.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Romney outraised Obama among the top firms on Wall Street by a margin of 11 to one. His top three campaign contributions are from employees of Goldman Sachs ($496,430), JPMorgan ($317,400) and Morgan Stanley ($277,850). The banks have fallen out of favour with the public, but their campaign cash is indispensable among the political class – and so they remain as powerful as ever in US politics.

In a recent segment of his show, Stephen Colbert noted that half of the money ($67 million) raised by Super PACs in 2011 had come from just 22 people. “That’s seven one-millionths of one per cent,” or roughly 0.000000071 per cent, Colbert said while spraying a fire extinguisher on his fuming calculator. “So, Occupy Wall Street, you’re going to want to change those signs.”

February 23, 2012

Republicans Secretly Hope for Another Candidate Soon

Could the battle for the Republican nomination go all the way to the Republican convention in August? Could we see an entirely new candidate getting into the race?

One long-time Republican leader tells ABC News the answer to both questions is yes.

“If the Republican primary voters continue to split up their votes in such a way that nobody is close to having a majority, then there is a chance that somebody else might get in,” former Republican Party chairman Haley Barbour said in an interview with ABC News.

Barbour calls such a scenario unlikely, but not out of the question.

“I think the odds of having a contested convention are not good but the fact that we are where we are and there is actually a possibility, I guess this is why there is so much talk,” he said.

A contested convention would mean another six months of Republicans battling Republicans, but Barbour says that’s not necessarily bad for the party.

“It is not accurate to say that a hotly contested convention is necessarily bad,” Barbour said. “I am not saying it is necessarily good, but I don’t think it is accurate to say it is necessarily bad. Let’s just see.”

Barbour, who has not endorsed any candidate, says Mitt Romney has never really been a true front-runner.

“In our primaries the more conservative candidates have an advantage,” Barbour said. “Doesn’t mean they always win. But that is just a fact and I think Romney is showing himself to be moderately conservative. We still have a long way to go with three candidates who are to the right of Romney.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he thinks Romney cannot win.

“In our party it is an advantage to be more conservative, but at the end of the day I think most Republicans want somebody who can beat Barack Obama,” Barbour said. “And nobody in my opinion has made that case to the Republican voters yet – Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich. I don’t think any of them has made the case that ‘I am the guy who has the best chance to beat Obama.’”

February 9, 2012

Conservative Political Action Conference Outlook

Who needs more GOP primaries? Although the campaign to select a Republican nominee has just started a quiet period, there will be more than enough political excitement this weekend inWashington, D.C., at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. If you’re giddy about the presidential race, Mitt Romney,Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will speak; if you’re interested in conservative ideas, Paul Ryan will be giving the keynote address; if you’re eager to meet C-list celebrities, Stephen Baldwin and Chuck Woolery will both be speaking; and if you’re just looking for love, there will be a conservative dating event as well. And, if you’re a political reporter looking for another delegate-free presidential vote to cover after Tuesday night, there will be a presidential straw poll as well.

CPAC is a nearly 40-year-old event held by the American Conservative Union annually, and has been likened to a “Mardi Gras for the Right.” According to Alyssa Farah, the communications director of the College Republican National Committee who has attended the conference every year since she was a freshman at Patrick Henry College, “its giant strategy session meets party.” By day, it’s a frantic political networking event, with attendees “going in and out of different speakers and trying to brush elbows.” By night, it becomes “a much more informal atmosphere” with “cocktail receptions,” culminating in the Reaganpalooza party on the last night of the conference, held at the Teatro Goldoni, a pricy Italian restaurant on K Street.

The event in recent years also been has been punctuated with controversy over the participation of a GLBT Republican group, GOProud. Its participation in the past sparked controversy, as other social-conservative organizations like the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women of America boycotted in protest. This year, however, GOProud was dropped as a co-sponsor. (Although to balance things out, CPAC excluded the John Birch Society as well). According to GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia, “this was the best thing that ever happened” to the organization, which advocates for “gay conservatives and their allies.” He said “all the folks that ranted and raved did nothing but good stuff [and] raise[d] our credibility, membership and budget.”

But while the fireworks over the participation of GOProud are now relegated to the past, the rise of Occupy Wall Street has raised the potential for new conflict. Occupy DC has announced that it will “Occupy CPAC” to protest what it terms “a gathering of bigots, media mouthpieces, corrupt politicians, and their 1 percent elite puppet masters.” The presence of Occupiers should not create any internal conflict among conference attendees, but it does create a significant potential for protests and unrest around the conference, which is being held at a Washington, D.C. hotel. But whatever media frenzy the occupiers may create will pale compared with the infinitely more polarizing and headline-grabbing force of Sarah Palin, who will be present.

Palin, who has never before appeared at CPAC, will be speaking before thousands of active movement conservatives, and the national political media, in the midst of a contentious GOP presidential primary. Although she has yet to endorse a candidate, the 2008 vice presidential nominee has frequently spoken highly of Newt Gingrich. Her husband, Todd, has even endorsed the former House speaker. Given Rick Santorum’s big night last Tuesday, an endorsement of Gingrich would be a huge boost for a campaign that has struggled since losing the winner-take-all primary in Florida at the end of January. Whether Palin explicitly endorses Gingrich or not, her speech is sure to be pored over by the national media, practicing a kind of Kremlinology, Wasilla-style, to get hints of her views on the race.

The most important moment for those looking for portents of what’s to come in the GOP primary contest is the annual presidential straw poll held on the last day of the conference. Although Ron Paul has won this popularity contest the past two years by “stacking the deck” according to chief Santorum strategist John Brabender, the straw pool looms as having some significance, since as it is being held at the beginning of the February hiatus in the GOP primary race. Further, Paul is at a comparative disadvantage this year because he won’t be at CPAC, unlike his three main competitors—instead, he will be campaigning in Maine, in what Brabender terms “a real race.” The CPAC straw poll isn’t as critical as, say, a nonbinding primary in Missouri, but it still will be viewed as an indicator of the candidates’ relative popularity in the conservative movement. Plus, it’s the only election that’s also the pregame party for Reaganpalooza.

Way What?? Romney HAD Mojo… WOW

Romney Losing His Mojo After Caucus, Primary Losses to Santorum

 Rick Santorum’s sweep exposed glaring weaknesses in Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Howard Kurtz on whether the ex-senator can capitalize on conservative qualms about Romney.

It’s easy to wave away Santorum’s triple triumph in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado as an exercise in symbolism that netted him no delegates. But as a snapshot of the state of the GOP race, it’s a rather dark picture for Romney.

“These results are a serious blow to Romney that crystallized the conservative questions about his bona fides and punctured it,” says Ari Fleischer, the former Bush White House spokesman. “If your campaign is built on inevitability, a puncture can take you down.”

Ed Rollins, the veteran GOP strategist who briefly ran Michele Bachmann’s campaign, says Romney “has been running for six years and never quite connected. He’s spent no time talking about his years as governor, which is not exactly an all-star four years. He now wants to pretend he’s a right-winger, and it’s just not believable.”

Adds John Feehery, a former House Republican official: “Santorum doesn’t have any organization or money—he’s able to win based on the idea that the base doesn’t like Romney.” Romney “struck a bad chord” with his gaffe about not being concerned about the very poor, says Feehery: “Many conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, actually care about the poor.”

Romney is still the likely nominee, of course, but these and other GOP analysts are saying for the first time that Santorum has a shot. They see him as having eclipsed Newt Gingrich, whose fortunes have sagged since his brief, shining moment in South Carolina.

Given that Romney was coming off solid wins in Florida and Nevada, his vote totals on Tuesday were stunningly weak, even if social conservatives form the backbone of the electorate in the three states.

As Ron Brownstein points out in National Journal, Romney got 25,900 votes in winning the Minnesota caucuses four years ago; this time, in finishing third, he won only 8,090. The same pattern held in the Colorado caucuses, which Romney won last time with 42,218 votes; on Tuesday he finished second with 22,875. And he drew just over a third as many votes in Missouri’s beauty contest as in 2008.

Maybe the results amounted to a giant protest vote. Maybe Romney does poorly when he doesn’t have much time to campaign or when he doesn’t pour money into attack ads. But there may well be something deeper that goes to both style and substance.

Romney comes across as overly scripted, and sometimes aloof, whether he’s hitting his talking points or reciting “America the Beautiful.” He’s a bit ill at ease among average voters. What was striking about his concession speech Tuesday night was that when he talked about his father struggling to make it as a carpenter, he seemed to be speaking from the heart. (Of course, Dad went on to become head of American Motors and Michigan’s governor, so that’s the closest Romney can come to a rags-to-riches narrative.)

And what, at its heart, is Romney’s message, other than that Obama is flailing and the former head of Bain Capital is the man to fix the economy? Romney lacks an animating idea that would bring voters to their feet and faces such complications as the similarities between Obama’s health-care reform and his own in Massachusetts.

“The conservative electorate of 2012 really is hungry for the authentic, Washington-changing candidate,” Fleischer says.

Perhaps that’s why the Romney camp is now going after Santorum as a Beltway insider. Top adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told MSNBC that Santorum and Gingrich are “two peas in a pod—longtime Washington legislators.” And a Romney email blast portrayed Gingrich and Santorum as wild-eyed earmarkers, with such headlines as “Santorum Brought Over $1 Billion in Pork-Barrel Spending Back to Pennsylvania” and “Santorum Voted for the Bridge to Nowhere.”

It’s no accident that Santorum, a favorite of religious conservatives, used his Tuesday-night speech to trumpet his opposition to the White House rule requiring Catholic organizations to offer contraception in health-insurance plans—an issue that has been heating up in recent days.

“If he becomes the champion of the conservative Catholic/Christian coalition, he could be very credible,” says Rollins. “He’s a tough debater. There are no liabilities to him. He’s every bit as knowledgeable as Gingrich, though not as articulate. He’s more disciplined in his message. He is the true-blue Catholic; Gingrich is a convert who’s had multiple marriages.”

Santorum “knows the issues better than Romney does,” Feehery says. “He’s got a better message and is more consistent.” One political weakness, says Feehery, is that Santorum is not a Tea Party favorite: “He’s a big-government conservative, a traditional Republican—a George W. Bush compassionate conservative.”

“Santorum doesn’t have any organization or money—he’s able to win based on the idea that the base doesn’t like Romney.”

Santorum’s ability to remain in the first tier depends in part on whether his big night triggers a flood of donations, so he doesn’t get buried in Michigan or Arizona by millions in negative ads. One question is the extent to which Wyoming financier Foster Friess, who has been bankrolling Santorum’s super PAC (as well as The Daily Caller), is willing to open his checkbook.

It may turn out that Santorum is only the latest in a series of Not-Romneys—Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich—who flash across the political landscape before burning out. But if Santorum can eclipse Gingrich and get Romney one-on-one, as in Missouri, or if they alternate tackling the frontrunner in states where each man is the strongest, this race isn’t over by a long shot.

February 3, 2012

Coming of Age and Facing a Poor Quality of Life and Uncertain Future

This Post is scheduled to post on  the early morning of Friday February 3, 2012. It is My Daughter Birthday today… and I am sad …..

It is a sad post actually… it is about my daughter. While the happy news is that on this day she attains the milestone of 21 years  of age…. and I will  abide by her wished to give her the first legal drink in her life (I have been instructed by her to make sure it is sweet) ….. the sad news is  she faces a glib future.

My daughter is Autistic.. and hope as I may have I  hoped and prayed that she would  develop enough to be at least minimally self sufficient…. but that is not going to be the case for her. If I am no longer able to care for her then I  fear.. really fear…. that  the Government , in its efforts to care for her.. will in fact fail her like they have…. many others. WORSE, my own republican party has  taken on an ANTI-NEEDY stance….. and   if you know anyone on a fixed income you will know that the “COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT”  that Social Security Recipients Get is NOT true….NOT real.. and their costs of living are far far greater than the  adjustment they get every year.

I have thought of putting my assets into a specified Trust Fund…. but who will administer it…. I do not know anyone that is related to me or my daughter that I can trust to do what is right for her and to safeguard the money… and I mean that….. NO ONE related to us do I trust…. and that is a sad state of affairs in itself.

Lawyers charge too much to do this over time….. and if the assets were  placed in my daughter’s name I fear she will not qualify for aid until all of that money was used up… and I wanted her to have that for the simpler things in life… Ruffles Potato Chips , Pepperoni Loves Pizza cut into half-inch squares  so she  can eat them without having any front teeth, the newest Sims 3 or whatever version is current  expansion packs. I tunes, and Music players and the occasional new computer and  TV set… and Movie and game rentals…. it sounds like a lot.. but it is not cost wise….

But then it is things that Insurance does not cover.. like dental… and Medicare does not cover dental.. or who will help her chose a good Medical plane if Medicare goes private.. and how will she affords it.

I am NOT going to outlive this child/Adult… so what is going to happen to her… where is she going to live… and because she is 100% NON VIOLENT   and is not  the personality that can even stand up for herself.. and gets upset if she is confronted and buckles like a house built of cheap cards….. She really is the most sweetest, kindest, caring, compassionate, empathetic young lady you would ever want to meet.

She is able to achieve intellectually to some extent. She even was able to earn a REGULAR ED diploma and pass the STATE High School  exam…. but some days she cannot remember the days of the week and always has trouble with the months of the year.  She is spatially challenged.. meaning  she cannot see things in her mind.. so when it came to learning how to drive… she had to look down at the pedals to look at them before she wold put her foot down on one to stop or go…. Same with brushing her own hair.. she can not  envision it by feel or concept and can’t brush it as a result.. Bathing, the same…  and even if she could in some ways her dexterity and coordination is so awkward that she gets frustrated and gives up trying….. ohh and she is just 4 foot 8 so even kitchen cabinets are to high for her….  In the simplest terms she needs help in her every day living..  so even finding a good place to live is extremely difficult and I have not found that place yet.

I cold go on about my troubles with getting her her own Medicaid… she does not qualify because she lives with me and our HOUSEHOLD income is too high… or the supposed Medicaid Waiver Program that Congress refuses to fund so I can get her additional help and services…  but what is the use.. there are a lot of people in that position and I am not alone…

What I am alone in and have been for almost 9 years now is taking care of this  sweetheart. No ONE has really helped.. and respite care  … I have no idea what that is.. even family ignores my needs to have real-time for myself… and so I am tired… and have literally lost my will to live.. no I am not going to kill myself… First because I have this obligation to this great person .. but second because i am a Cowardly Catholic… and help has no appeal for me.

And last….. which may seem the strangest thing of all is I am afraid….. NOT OF DYING…. For that Concept I fully embrace…. BUT BECAUSE MY OWN REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BETRAYED ME AND MY FAMILY…. They have gone so far as to actually now believe the lies they have been telling the public for the last 4 years.. and I am DISGUSTED by their  lies, distortions and worse….. their heartlessness….  and remember I AM A REPUBLICAN!!   …… and it is for this reason I  have to live longer.. because of their  hubris…. their complete disregard for the human condition… because they have become something I do not recognize…. and maybe the 2012 doomsday prophecy will be true if my party wins the  Presidential race based on this platform of hate.

Some of you will say.. ohh then you’re a Democrat… I say no way I am not that  compassionate and soft on people who need to take responsibility.. so others say ohh your libertarian….. I say no there is a need for government and regulations because humans by nature are greedy and selfish and  if left unchecked hurt all of humanity.

I AM A REPUBLICAN… and I am an ANGRY Republican…. but my party does not care.. they have only one goal…. not America.. not Americans.. Not humanity…. no …. ONLY ONE GOAL….. BEAT OBAMA…..  Stupidity reigns in my party!!

Life is HARD.. it is an uphill battle for all of us.. and more so for those like my daughter who are disabled and disadvantaged…. WHO WILL BE HER ADVOCATE when I am not able  to do it anymore….. Obviously not my family, my party, or my country.

So while this is an auspicious day for my daughter turning 21…. and I will make it as special as I can for her.. it is also a sad day as it only  makes me sorry and care  about what will happen  when I can no longer be her advocate and care giver….. and I want to just sit her and cry when I write this………………….

January 30, 2012

Comparison of Mormonism to Christianity

Whether Mormons should be considered “Christians” is a controversial and rather complicated issue. Many Catholics and Protestants do not consider Mormons to be Christians because they believe the differences in doctrines are larger and more fundamental than those between Christian denominations.

On other hand, religious studies books tend to group Mormons in with Christians because: Mormons regard themselves as Christians; Mormonism emerged in a Christian context; and Mormonism shares much in common with other forms of Christianity.

Mormons also consider themselves Christians for much the same reasons as listed above. However, they consider themselves to be significantly different from other branches of Christianity. They regard themselves as neither Catholic nor Protestant, viewing both of those faiths as corruptions of true Christianity, which has been restored by Mormonism. 1

The following chart provides a quick-reference guide to the major similarities and differences between the beliefs and practices of Mormonism and mainstream Protestant Christianity. As is always the case with charts, the information is simplified for brevity and should be used alongside more complete explanations. The beliefs listed for both Mormons and Protestant Christians represent those of most, but not all, churches or individuals within each tradition.

 

Mormonism
Mainstream Christianity
Religious Authority All sacred texts equally, continuing revelations Bible (all), ecumenical councils and creeds (Catholic and Orthodox), official papal pronouncements (Catholic), continuing revelations (Pentecostal)
Sacred Texts Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price Bible (some include Apocrypha)
Trinity Rejected – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct beings who are “one in purpose” Affirmed - Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the “same substance”; three persons in one being
God Heavenly Father, who has a physical body Trinitarian God, who does not have a body
Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior, originally one of the spirit beings that all humans used to be (see Jesus Christ). Has a physical body. Son of God, Word of God, God, second Person of the Trinity (see Christology)
Holy Spirit A spirit being who is a separate being from God and Jesus. God, Third Person of the Trinity
Original sin Denied (see Human Nature) Affirmed (by most denominations)
Free will Free to do good or evil Free will to do good is seriously impaired
Purpose of Christ’s Incarnation Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin, reveal God directly to humanity
Resurrection of Christ? Yes Yes
Salvation Both faith and works; works emphasized Both faith and works; faith emphasized (in most denominations)
Second chance after death? Yes, during a period of “learning and preparation” after death No
Afterlife All spirits go to the spirit world, undergo preparation, then rejoin with bodies in the resurrection (see Afterlife). The good spend the intervening time in spirit paradise, while the wicked go to spirit prison. Souls of wicked sent to Hell, believers go to Heaven for eternity (see Afterlife). In Catholicism, many believers will suffer in Purgatory before going to Heaven.
Hell The wicked enter an unpleasant “spirit prison” prior to judgment; after that, only the most obstinately wicked (like Satan) will be consigned to “Outer Darkness” for eternity. Place (or state of being) of eternal torment and distance from God.
Place of Worship Chapel or Temple Church
Meaning of Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Ordinances are covenants between man and God and a means of grace. Some of them are necessary for salvation. Symbolic acts commanded by Christ (some Protestant); means of grace if received with faith (Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant).
Sacraments (Chr) or Ordinances (LDS) Include baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (Lord’s Supper), laying on of hands, ordination, temple endowment, and marriage sealing (see Temple Ordinances) Two common to all denominations: Baptism and Lord’s Supper. Total of seven in Catholicism.
Symbols No official symbol; cross is not used; the angel Moroni raising a trumpet is seen atop Mormon temples Cross, fish and others
Holidays Easter, Christmas, national and local holidays, birthdays, celebrations of events in Mormon history Easter, Christmas, saints’ days, several others

 

Mormonism
Mainstream Christianity

 

January 23, 2012

Romney Reassess His Campaign Strategy

 Mitt Romney is pressing reset.

After a crushing loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, the former Massachusetts governor made clear Sunday that he plans to attack his chief rival’s character, release his tax returns this week and try to right a campaign he acknowledged had been knocked off kilter.

“It was not a great week for me,” Romney acknowledged during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

And at a rally here, his first event in Florida after the loss to Gingrich, Romney assailed the former speaker’s leadership abilities. “We’re not choosing a talk show host, alright?” he said. “We’re choosing a leader.”

Romney now turns to Florida at what is possibly the most critical moment of his campaign, after two weeks of sustained attacks from his opponents and a series of self-inflicted errors that erased any notion that he would be able to lock up the nomination quickly by winning this state’s Jan. 31 primary.

“I’m looking forward to a long campaign,” Romney said on Fox News. “We are selecting the president of the United States. Someone who is going to face ups and downs and real challenges, and I hope that through this process, I can demonstrate that I can take a setback and come back strong.”

Even if Romney does manage a victory here — his Florida campaign is by far the strongest of any in the GOP field, and he and his allies have been alone on the air for weeks — the race has become a two-way fight between him and Gingrich, the former House speakerwith a huge dose of momentum.

And now Romney’s team is girding for a long and costly fight that extends well beyond Florida. Saturday night’s shellacking in South Carolina underscored the former Massachusetts governor’s vulnerabilities and undermined his claims of becoming the inevitable Republican nominee.

Over the next 10 days, the candidates — including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — will meet twice on the debate stage, a venue where Gingrich has thrived in recent weeks and Romney has struggled some when pressed about questions about his wealth and private business experience. The debates — Monday in Tampa and Thursday in Jacksonville — present fresh opportunities for both breakout performances and mistakes.

Romney brought out his more aggressive posture and lines of attack toward Gingrich at the Sunday rally. “Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader. At the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader,” Romney said, referring to the ethics investigation that resulted in a rare reprimand for a House speaker.

It’s clear the campaign is worried voters have forgotten Gingrich’s history. “He had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that,” Romney said.

“I’m asking the people of Florida to consider: what are the qualities of leadership?” he said. “What makes an effective president, a great president, even? Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower and FDR, even?”

It was an angrier, more aggressive Romney who took the stage at the rally here. He shouted back and forth with the crowd after Occupy Wall Street hecklers interrupted him and rattled off a list of leadership qualities, drawing cheers after each, in a rare back-and-forth with the crowd.

Romney attacked Gingrich’s time working for the quasi-government mortgage giant Freddie Mac, calling again for him to release records related to his consulting work for them.

Behind the scenes, aides also indicated that Romney would go after Gingrich’s character in Florida as a way to distinguish himself — a father of five who has been married to the same woman for 42 years — from his thrice-married rival. And the aides argued that the results in South Carolina don’t indicate Republican primary voters everywhere are willing to overlook Gingrich’s two divorces and acknowledged infidelity. Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, told ABC News in an interview aired Thursday that the former speaker asked her for an open marriage so he could continue having an affair with the House staffer who is now his third wife.

Publicly, Romney has refused to engage on the subject thus far, saying at a debate Thursday: “Let’s get onto the real issues. That’s all I got to say.”

But Romney has started poking at Gingrich’s character by raising questions about the ethics investigation against Gingrich in the 1990s, when he was House speaker, and suggested that the former Georgia lawmaker was hiding something by refusing to release reams of documents he apparently gave to investigators back then.

Asked Sunday whether character would become an issue, Romney said, “No question.”

“Leadership is the key attribute that people should look for in considering a president,” Romney said, “and character is a big part of leadership, as is vision, sobriety, steadiness.”

Romney’s team also plans to contrast his experience as a governor and businessman with Gingrich’s experience in Congress and his later work with former colleagues on behalf of businesses.

Romney, meanwhile, also is working to fix a key vulnerability — defensiveness over questions about his personal wealth, including money in funds in the Cayman Islands, a popular haven for international investment.

Under pressure to release his tax returns immediately, Romney reversed course and said he would release those documents for 2010 and an estimate for 2011 on Tuesday — months ahead of their planned April release.

The documents will lay out just how Romney, a multimillionaire many times over, makes his money and reveal his actual tax rate, which Romney estimated at about 15 percent.

His wife, Ann Romney, addressed the issue at the Florida rally, suggesting family was more important than money.

“I understand Mitt’s going to release his tax forms this week,” she said as she introduced him. “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”

“That’s where we measure our wealth, is through those children,” she said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a backer who had called on Romney to immediately release his returns, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Romney made the right decision, saying, “I’m happy he’s doing it.”

January 22, 2012

Why Did Gingrich Triumph in an Evangelical State like South Carolina?

Why Did Gingrich Triumph in an Evangelical State like South Carolina?

 By Professor John A. Tures, LaGrange College 

COMMENTARY |

What confounds pundits about the South Carolina results is how a state where half of the voters sampled describe themselves as evangelical could pick Newt Gingrich, and by a large margin. It comes down to a simple fact: Most pundits don’t know anything about Evangelicals.

I have to admit that 10 years ago when I moved to a small Southern town from Washington, I didn’t know what an Evangelical really was either. Like many in the media, I treated it as some catch-all term for religious conservative. Clearly others have made that same blunder.

Not all Evangelicals are Christian, just as not all Christians are evangelical. The term comes from the four evangelists who wrote the Gospel, and it simply means one who spreads the good news.

There are liberal evangelicals, like the Rev. Jim Wallis, just as there are conservative evangelicals. There are also some moderate ones too.

Assuming all Evangelicals automatically religious zealots is like assuming the Sunnis are the more “hard core” Muslims or the Shiites are the real fanatics. You have liberal Sunnis and liberal Shiites, just as you have really dogmatic Sunnis and Shiites. Are Protestants more religiously conservative than Catholics, or vice versa? It depends on the person.

Regardless, how could a state regarded as so religious pick Newt Gingrich, just as news hit about his alleged “open marriage” proposal, along with his infidelity. Again, you have to understand Evangelicals.

As a National Public Radio commentator noted, Evangelicals, especially Southern ones, believe in redemption. They have to — how else could we be forgiven for our own sins? You hear the parable of the unforgiving servant down here a lot.

It explains why Mike Huckabee didn’t run for office, as he pardoned a number of criminals, including one who killed some cops in the Seattle area. It also accounts for Haley Barbour releasing so many before ending his term as Mississippi governor. Evangelicals are forgiving folks.

 In an interview years ago, Jimmy Carter sought to distinguish between an evangelical and a fundamentalist. “Fundamentalism exists in religious circles and now very overwhelmingly in Washington,” Carter said. “A fundamentalist believes, say, in religious circles, that I am close to God. Everything that I believe is absolutely right. Anyone who disagrees with me, in any case, is inherently wrong and therefore, inferior. And it violates my basic principles if I negotiate with anyone else or listen to their point of view or modify my own positions at all. So that is what has permeated this [Bush] administration.” That’s a smaller percentage of the state, and probably explains why Santorum finished a distant third.

Romney’s 21-point lead was always soft, and contingent upon being the most “electable” candidate, even if his views don’t match that of the voter. He finished a close second in Iowa and won New Hampshire because he hadn’t made mistakes. Now that he’s made blunders, folks figure it is better to pick someone who shares their conservative opinion rather than the one who looks less electable than he did a few weeks ago. In other words, South Carolina voters went with their religious “beliefs.” We just didn’t understand what those were.

Gingrich Courts Disenfranchised Evangelical Christians in Florida

 Newt Gingrich’s presidential hopes may rest among the pews of Florida’s ministries and mega-churches.

The former House speaker is looking to Florida’s religious conservatives to counter rival Mitt Romney’s organizational and financial might in a state where so-called “values voters” could constitute more than a third of the Republican electorate in the Jan. 31 primary.

“There’s no question Gov. Romney will always have more money,” Gingrich says when asked about his Florida campaign. But he’s quick to add that his team has between 5,000 and 6,000 volunteers. Aides say many of them are evangelicals.

Thrice-married, Gingrich may not be the obvious pick for church-goers here. But the network of religious activists he’s assembling has far greater concerns about Romney’s inconsistent history on abortion and gay rights than they seemingly do about Gingrich’s two divorces and acknowledged marital infidelity.

And that gives Gingrich an opening as he challenges Romney in the aftermath of Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, where the polls suggest Gingrich may end up winning.

Seeking to capitalize on Gingrich’s burst of momentum, one of his top evangelical backers in Florida planned to lead a conference call in the coming days with 1,000 pastors. Others are spreading Gingrich’s message in the state’s many churches and Baptist publications. And Gingrich has already lined up appearances with the religious community for next week.

“The evangelicals are not going to wrap their arms around Romney in this primary or the general election,” says John Grant, a Baptist leader and one of Gingrich’s Florida evangelical chairmen. “Gingrich is pulling these people together quite nicely.”

The power of Florida’s evangelicals depends on their ability to unite. And while they’re nearly united against Romney, they’re not wholly united behind Gingrich. Some prominent religious conservatives are rallying around Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator long known for passionate social conservatism, but generally considered a longshot in the race to challenge President Barack Obama in the fall.

Santorum is showing no signs of bowing out, especially after the final tally suggested he edged Romney in the Iowa caucuses even though there is no officially declared winner.

The continued division leaves the political power of Florida’s evangelicals fractured, just as anti-Romney conservatives have been in other early voting states all year.

“We have to figure out how we’re going to come together,” said John Stemberger, a Santorum supporter who led the 2008 push to amend Florida’s constitution to ban gay marriage.

Stemberger hoped a recent meeting of national evangelical leaders in Texas would do just that. The group held a nonbinding vote that showed overwhelming support for Santorum. But in Florida, there are serious questions about the viability of Santorum, who hired a Florida staff just last week.

Gingrich’s organization pales when compared to Romney’s, which has been years in the making. But Gingrich’s team is working to capitalize on doubts about Santorum, as well as on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent exit.

Gingrich’s Florida operation is led by Jose Mallea, who managed Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2010 race.

Even before Perry’s exit, Gingrich’s team had been quietly courting key staff and supporters from both the Perry and Santorum camps to boost an organization that was stood up in December.

Underscoring the challenge Gingrich faces, he has yet to run any television ads in Florida, where Romney and his allies have had the airwaves to themselves since mid-December. Mallea said Gingrich will advertise in Spanish and English soon.

Gingrich also faces renewed attention on flaws in his personal life that could turn off evangelicals here.

In an ABC News interview broadcast Thursday, Gingrich’s second wife said he sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife. Asked about his ex-wife’s assertions during a debate that night, Gingrich said it was false and lashed out at the media.

“I wish he didn’t have that background, but I honestly believe he’s had a real renaissance experience,” said Grant, the Gingrich supporter.

In recent years, Gingrich has publicly acknowledged mistakes, converted to Catholicism and says prayer is an important part of his life.

Gingrich’s team estimates evangelicals will represent between 25 percent and 40 percent of the Florida GOP primary electorate.

Exit polling from the 2008 GOP primary shows that approximately 39 percent of voters identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians. They were almost evenly split that year, with 30 percent for Sen. John McCain, 29 percent for Romney, 29 percent for Mike Huckabee and 7 percent for Rudy Giuliani.

Romney would be happy with a repeat performance. His team has organized weekly conference calls with a group of social conservative leaders it hopes will produce at least some of the evangelical vote.

But Romney is not going out of his way to appease this group. He recently declined to respond to the Florida Family Policy Council voter guide, which Stemberger organized. The guide highlights Romney’s non-answers on key social issues prominently and was emailed to 100,000 Florida evangelicals this week. It also is expected to be faxed and emailed to about 8,000 churches.

While Stemberger and Grant don’t agree on a Romney alternative, they share deep concerns about him.

“I hear that if it’s Obama and Romney, evangelicals have no place to go. But there’s a third choice: It’s called home,” Grant said.

Gingrich Pierces Romney Veil of Electability. Questions arise.

Newt Gingrich didn’t just beat Mitt Romney in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the former House speaker kicked away one of the main pillars of his rival’s election campaign.

Exit polling data shows Gingrich convinced voters he would be the toughest Republican opponent against President Barack Obama in the November general election.

Electability – Republican campaign-speak for a candidate’s ability to beat Obama – had been one of Romney’s top selling points until Saturday.

Conventional wisdom was that the former Massachusetts governor’s emphasis on jobs and the economy and his perceived appeal to independents would help him against Gingrich, who is often seen as erratic and divisive.

But Gingrich’s combative style in debates resonated with voters keen for a heavyweight debater to take on Obama, who is grudgingly respected by Republicans as a formidable campaigner.

This may also be helping Gingrich’s message on the economy gain traction, exit polling data showed.

South Carolina’s Republicans rated the ability to beat Obama as a candidate’s most important quality, an exit poll on CNN showed.

Forty-five percent of voters said that was the main attribute they sought in a nominee. Of that group, 51 percent voted for Gingrich compared to 37 percent for Romney.

Twenty-one percent of South Carolina voters said the quality that mattered most to them in their candidate was that he had the right experience.

“It is electability, and that is measured in your ability to effectively debate and prosecute your case against Obama,” said Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak.

Exit polls also showed that for 63 percent of South Carolina voters the most important issue was the economy. Gingrich won this group by a margin of eight percentage points over Romney.

The attraction of Gingrich as an anti-Obama candidate may be the factor that increased his ratings on other issues like the economy, Mackowiak said.

Attacks on Obama in recent weeks, including dubbing him “a foodstamp president,” endeared Gingrich to voters in a state with unemployment of almost 10 percent.

OLD TIMER WITH EXPERIENCE

“He is an old timer with a lot of political experience. He’s the only one who can beat Obama,” said Jim Walters, a retired marine owner in the town of Aiken.

Gingrich slammed Obama as “truly a danger to the country” in his South Carolina victory speech and promised to bring down Obama in a series of long debates.

A master of the sharp turn of phrase who talks in big broad sweeps, the former House speaker was the clear star of the more than 20 Republican debates in recent months.

He left Romney floundering, particularly during two televised contests in South Carolina this week where the millionaire former executive stumbled over questions about his personal finances.

Republican voters in South Carolina, a conservative state with a taste for rough and tumble politics, lapped it up.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people really want to see Newt debate Obama,” Mackowiak said.

“It reminds me of gladiators. You see an amazing gladiator have a string of victories in the middle of the Coliseum so you really want to see him go up against the biggest, baddest gladiator there is.”

In a sign that Gingrich’s well-documented marital infidelities might have created a problem with female voters, exit polls showed Gingrich held an advantage over Romney of 16 points among men but only 9 points among women.

Republican 4 Go On To Florida to Fight Another Day

After a bruising clash in South Carolina, Republican presidential frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich will take their battle to a bigger stage when the campaign moves to Florida on Sunday.

Gingrich, a former U.S. House of Representatives speaker, thrashed Romney in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, suggesting the race for their party’s nomination and the right to face President Barack Obama in November may last months more.

The largest of the early voting states by far, Florida presents logistical and financial challenges that appear to give an advantage to Romney’s well-funded campaign machine.

But Gingrich has momentum after coming from behind in South Carolina to win around 40 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 28 percent. Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator, was in third with 17 percent and U.S. congressman Ron Paul in fourth with 13 percent.

“We proved here in South Carolina that people … with the right ideas beats big money,” Gingrich told supporters after his victory in the conservative state.

After strong performances in a series of debates, Gingrich was seen by South Carolina voters as the most likely Republican to beat Obama, a Democrat, in the November 6 election.

They also rejected millionaire former businessman Romney’s pitch that he is the best bet to fix a broken U.S. economy and win the White House.

Romney and Gingrich, who have attacked each other mercilessly in a series of negative television ads since December, face off in a debate in Tampa, Florida, on Monday night.

ROMNEY TAX SOLUTION?

Romney has stumbled over questions about his personal finances in recent debates and acknowledged last week that he only pays a 15 percent tax rate, much lower than that of most working Americans.

The former Massachusetts governor has so far resisted calls from rivals, and even ally New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, to release his tax returns.

To try to put the tax return controversy behind him, the Romney campaign has a plan to settle the issue next week, a Republican official said.

That is part of a strategy to be more aggressive against Gingrich, a formidable debater who nevertheless has personal and professional baggage that the Romney team could exploit. Romney accuses Gingrich of being a Washington insider.

“The choice within our party has also come into stark focus. President Obama has no experience running a business and no experience running a state. Our party can’t be lead to victory by someone who also has never run a business and never run a state,” Romney said on Saturday.

Romney saw his aura of inevitability erode in South Carolina after leading opinion polls by 10 percentage points a week ago.

In Florida, he leads Gingrich by 40.5 percent to 22 percent, according to a poll of polls by RealClearPolitics.com. Santorum, a social conservative who is from Pennsylvania, is third with 15 percent.

Campaigns must spend at least $1 million each week to reach voters in the sprawling southern state, according to local political officials. Romney’s allies have already spent $5 million, mostly on ads attacking Gingrich. No other candidate has a significant presence in the state.

 

Romney’s South Carolina Loss Shows Weakness in November

Echoing a worn adage, Mitt Romney said on Saturday night after conceding defeat to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary that a longer, more competitive battle for the Republican presidential nomination would only make him stronger.

“I don’t shrink from competition. I embrace it. I believe competition makes us all better,” Romney told supporters.

That’s a standard talking point from a frontrunner who hasn’t yet locked up the nomination. But in fact, the weaknesses exposed in Romney’s candidacy by the South Carolina results and, perhaps more important, in the days leading up to the primary, are cause for concern among Republicans, including some of Romney’s own supporters.

More than one-third of South Carolina primary voters identified themselves as very conservative, according to exit polls conducted on behalf of the television networks and the Associated Press. Mitt Romney won only 20 percent of their votes, compared to Newt Gingrich’s 45 percent.

Among the 60 percent of the electorate who are evangelical Christians, Romney was able to grab roughly 20 percent of the vote, while Gingrich captured 40 percent.

These groups of voters are part of the core of the Republican Party. But it’s clear that Romney, still the favorite for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination, could enter the general election campaign without the full embrace of his party’s base. That does not put him the position he needs to occupy in order to woo independent voters in the middle of the ideological spectrum.

The soft support among the Republican base is of less concern to Romney’s high command than the narrative beginning to take shape around him–a storyline being fed by both the Obama and Gingrich campaigns. It paints Romney as a wealthy corporate raider who is out of touch with the economic reality faced by most Americans.

Team Romney is convinced, with historic trends and current data to back it up, that the antipathy toward Obama among Republicans will be sufficient to rally the party faithful around Romney in the fall. Anti-Obama energy, however, will not solve Romney’s inability to put his income tax issue to bed or to break the perception that he struggles to connect with the needs of middle-class families.

The Romney campaign is quick to point out that winning campaigns are those that survive tests like this. That’s true. A presidential nomination is never handed to the frontrunner without him (or someday her) being knocked back on his heels once or twice.

But there is a substantial difference between what’s happening with Romney and the challenges that Barack Obama and George W. Bush faced. When Obama emerged from a long and bruising battle with Hillary Clinton, he did so looking like a dragon slayer. And the body blow that George W. Bush took from John McCain came from the center, and allowed Bush to shore up his strength with the Republican base.

Yes, if Romney emerges as the Republican nominee, he will appear as a winner who overcame significant challenges. And an elongated nomination fight may improve his ability to take a punch. But those strengths will come at the expense of exposing not only Romney’s soft support among evangelical Christians and very conservative voters, but also the concern among donors and establishment figures in the party that he is being defined by not by himself and his team, but by his opponents.

A Brief History of “State Capitalism”

Something old, something new

A brief history of “state capitalism”

IN SEPTEMBER 1789 George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as America’s first ever treasury secretary. Two years later Hamilton presented Congress with a “Report on Manufactures”, his plan to get the young country’s economy going and provide the underpinnings for its hard-fought independence. Hamilton had no time for Adam Smith’s ideas about the hidden hand. America needed to protect its infant industries with tariffs if it wanted to see them grow up.

State capitalism has been around for almost as long as capitalism itself. Anglo-Saxons like to think of themselves as the perennial defenders of free-market orthodoxy against continental European and Asian heresy. In reality every rising power has relied on the state to kickstart growth or at least to protect fragile industries. Even Britain, the crucible of free-trade thinking, created a giant national champion in the form of the East India Company.

The appetite for industrial policy grew with the eating, and after the second world war intervention became a mark of civilization as well as common sense. The Europeans created industrial powerhouses and welfare states. The Asians poured resources into national champions.

This long era of state activism has left a surprisingly powerful legacy, despite the more recent fashion for privatisation and deregulation. The rich world still has a large number of state-owned or state-dominated companies. For example, France owns 85% of EDF, an energy company; Japan 50% of Japan Tobacco; and Germany 32% of Deutsche Telekom. These numbers add up: across the OECD state-owned enterprises have a combined value of almost $2 trillion and employ 6m people.

The new kind of state capitalism started in Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew, its founding father, was prime minister for more than 30 years and a tireless advocate of “Asian values”, by which he meant a mixture of family values and authoritarianism. He rivalled Beatrice Webb in his faith in the wisdom of the state. But he also grasped that Singapore’s best chance lay in attracting the world’s most powerful corporations, though he rejected the laissez-faire ideas that flourished in Asia’s other great port city, Hong Kong.

Singapore could easily have remained a tiny oddity but for a succession of earth-shaking events. The first was the oil embargo imposed by the Arab petrostates in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, quadrupling the price of oil and shifting the balance of power in the world economy. Arab governments tightened their control over the newly valuable oil companies and amassed growing financial surpluses. For them the economic shock was proof of the power of their oil weapon. For the Chinese it demonstrated the importance of securing a safe supply of oil and other raw materials.

The second event was Deng Xiaoping’s transformation of China. Deng borrowed heavily from the Singaporean model. He embraced globalisation by creating special economic zones and inviting foreign companies in. He espoused corporatism by forcing state enterprises to model themselves on Western companies. And he concentrated resources on national champions and investment in research and development. By doing all this, he plugged 1.3 billion people into the world economy.

The final event was the collapse of Soviet communism. This was initially seen as one of the great triumphs of liberalism, but it soon unleashed dark forces. Communist apparatchiks-turned-oligarchs grabbed chunks of the economy. Between 1990 and 1995 the country’s GDP dropped by a third. Male life expectancy shrank from 64 to 58. Once-captive nations broke away. In 1998 the country defaulted on its debts.

The post-Soviet disaster created a craving for order. Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president, reasserted direct state control over “strategic” industries and brought the remaining private-sector oligarchs to heel. But just as important as the backlash in Russia was the one in China. The collapse of the Soviet Union confirmed the Chinese Communist Party’s deepest fear: that the end of party rule would mean the breakdown of order. The only safe way forward was a judicious mixture of private enterprise and state capitalism

As Romney so eloquently has stated  that there has been a frontal assault on Capitalism, we should begin this debate on how Capitalism has been  for centuries and later to discuss how it has evolved.  I do not think there is ANY candidate that does not believe we need to have capitalism at the core of our  society. It is how it has become perverted and has gone against the other cores of our society  those being humanity, equality and the protection of the health well-being and rights of all citizens of the United States is above all  … even CAPITALISM. We now must seek a balance  for all these values to peacefully coexist again.

It is my intention to bring this  need to the forefront of the rest of this presidential election cycle

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