Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown is Anytown, USA

There, but for the grace of God, goes all of us.

What happened in Newtown, Conn., and suburban Portland last week could easily happen in Bend.

Central Oregon is an outdoorsman's paradise and that includes hunting.

There are plenty of guns here.

But, real hunting does not mean using semi-automatic assault weapons with 30-shot clips.

No, such weapons are only needed to kill multiple people in the shortest amount of time as possible.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, the rights of the killer in Newtown to use such high-powered weaponry to murder 20 kindergartners and seven adults, supersedes the ability of the community of Newtown, or any city anywhere in this country, to ban such weapons of warfare.

In essence, we are banned from protecting ourselves through non-lethal methods.

America, sadly, is addicted to violence and guns.

Newtown isn't going to change those obsessions overnight.

There will be plenty of blather about funding mental health programs, curbing the sale of assault weapons and arming teachers.

You can get bet which one will likely happen.

Imagine this scenario: In order to get a teaching credential, a teacher must be proficient in the use of a Glock pistol. Also, that teacher must buy his or her own gun and take yearly classes to keep current with usage of that gun. Plus, wearing a Kevlar vest would become part of the dress code for teachers.

Next, the NRA and other gun nuts will want to arm schoolchildren themselves.

Because the Supreme Court made our 2nd Amendment of the Constitution the de facto 1st Amendment, we can't be like Japan or the United Kingdom, which ban most firearms and have few gun-related murders.

Lord knows we can't hire armed guards for our schools, because we don't want to pay for those guards.

Afterall, it's all about cutting spending not creating another entitled class of government workers whose subsequent pensions will drain our coffers.

So, we are stuck with what we have.

The massacre in Newtown, which has followed scores of massacres around the country, will happen again and again.

There will be more memorials and more grief.

We should just leave our flags at half-staff on a permanent basis.

For television, the horrific gun carnage provides another form of "entertainment" around which to sell ads.

Hollywood sure knows how profitable violent movies are to the bottom line.

This is who we are as a nation. We tolerate the killings of kindergartners, and thousands more each year, by firearms.

This is what the price of freedom means to gun nuts and the NRA.

This is America.

As always, if you feel that you must kill someone, do us all a favor and kill yourself first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'Lincoln': A House divided

Daniel Day-Lewis is Lincoln
As we crawl toward the infamous "fiscal cliff," it's a good thing we have "Lincoln" at the multi-plex. It lets Americans watch a painful debate over a truly consequential issue.

In "Lincoln," as the House debated passage of the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery, the country was still at war in January 1865.

Flash forward to 2012, a year in which an African-American was re-elected president and when we're in year 11 of the war in Afghanistan, the greatest issue of our time is whether or not we can raise taxes on the rich from 35 percent to 39 percent to pay for that war and all the rest that we demand.


Compare our current Speaker (weeper) of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), with a real "radical Republican" in "Lincoln," Thaddeus Stevens (R-Penn.), who spent his life trying to abolish slavery.

Boehner is merely trying to reward his rich benefactors, like the Koch brothers, and to genuflect before the anti-tax god, Grover Norquist.

To say that our current, toxic political climate knows no precedent, is ridiculous.

In "Lincoln," Republicans argued with Democrats, most from border states next to the Confederacy, about the constitutional amendment to forever ban slavery in these United States. It seems like a no-brainer now, but there was a time when many legislators had no brains. Shocking? No.

Democrats, who supported the war effort against the rebellious southern states, could not stomach the idea that Negroes could eventually have the same rights as whites. What would be next? Extending voting privileges to women?

Yes, that sentiment was raised by a Democrat in "Lincoln."

And, yes, there will be moviegoers who will say, "Yeah, look at those Democrats. They haven't changed a bit. They're always trying to stop Republicans from doing what's necessary for the nation."

Well, for anyone with a pulse, today's Republicans are the mirror image of the Democrats in "Lincoln."

Dixiecrats, those folks in the Confederacy and sympathizers in neighboring states, were reliably Democratic until President Johnson signed civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.

"Northern" Democrats were finally willing to shed their racist brethren in the south, even if it meant losing a lot of elections in the short term.

Republicans were ecstatic to embrace the racists, who've been reliably Republican for a generation now.

Of course, the current GOP is willing to embrace anyone so long as they are white and male. Here's a story showing how that pathway leads to a dead end.

Anyway, the strength of "Lincoln," aside from Daniel Day-Lewis' award-winning performance, is that it reveals how racist this country was in 1865. Sadly, America is still divided by race as the recent election attests, though not as much as it was back then. There is some progress.

Also, "Lincoln" shows how horse-trading and cronyism were necessary to getting legislation passed, much as it is today.

Politics is a dirty business. However, when one party asserts total domination over the other, without any room for compromise, then civil disturbance will follow.

Republicans, emboldened by their Tea Party absolutists, believe that to compromise with President Obama or Democrats is like surrendering to terrorists.

As long as extreme Republicans believe that, then we will be a divided nation for quite some time.

And, as Lincoln said, a House divided against itself cannot stand.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Barram, Clinton for city mayor, pro tem

Bend is the largest city in Oregon that doesn't allow voters to pick its mayor.

As it stands now, Bend's city councilors select the mayor among themselves, in secret.

It doesn't really matter that much, but citizens should vote for their town's "leader."

The city manager wields the most power in the city and the citizens really have no control over who the city manager is.

Right now we have a young, inexperienced city manager who is pulled in different directions by an ideologically divided council.

Consequently, we have an expensive water project, that the council approved, on hold by the state due to challenges from Bend's citizens.

The problem with the $68 million water project is that the common household must pay a disproportionate amount to finance it.

The biggest users, the local beer industry, are subsidized by the basic household, even when that household has only one person using the water system. For the past 10 years, city water rates have increased each year at triple the rate of inflation.

Also, for years, ratepayers have subsidized developers and the bill is now due.

Jim Clinton, the oldest and longest tenured councilor, understands this and that is why he is opposed to the water project.

But, as smart and capable as Clinton is, he doesn't have the personality to be mayor. And, we know that personality goes a long way. That is why Jodie Barram is preferred for this position.

Clinton is not a back-slapper type. Neither is Barram, but she is younger and has more energy to devote to the position. Also, it's important to have a progressive woman as a leader in our city because it shows that Bend is forward looking. Clinton should be mayor pro-tem, or the substitute mayor.

In this era of "standards" and "accountability," it's vital that we have leaders willing to demonstrate these attributes rather than be shills for the development community.

Barram and Clinton look out for all of Bend's citizens, not just those with the deepest pockets.

The elephant, sadly, is still in the room

Just when we thought we would jump off the "fiscal cliff" nice and leisurely, Republicans are distracting our attention yet again.

First, they learned their lesson of the last election, when women voters returned President Obama to the White House, by appointing white men to all of the 19 committee chairmanships of the House.

When there was a modest uproar, the House quickly added a white woman to chair the committee that keeps the House in order.

Senate Republicans felt overshadowed by their buddies in the lower chamber and so they voted against the disabled ensuring the bill's demise.

Of course, the bill they voted against was a ratification of a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled modeled after the American with Disabilities Act.

The treaty states that all nations should attempt to ensure that disabled people enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as every citizen, but the 38 Republicans warned the treaty poses a threat to America's national sovereignty.

One of the tenets of Republican philosophy is paranoia.

And, the UN is as good as it gets these days in the paranoia department now that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

That onetime GOP "Big Tent" is getting smaller every day.

Add the disabled to the GOP's "Unwanted List," which includes women, African-Americans, gays, Hispanics, Asians and Muslims or just about anybody who isn't white, Christian and male.

Good luck with that.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bend on the mend

Reed Market/15th St. intersection is one of the busiest in Bend
While tattoo parlors never left Bend during the Great Recession, plenty of construction workers did.

They're starting to crawl back into town, though, as a smattering of houses go up here and there.

A sure sign that Bend is starting to rebound can be found at the corner of 15th St. and Reed Market Road.

Particularly, the southwest corner of the intersection where a proposed development on a roughly 2-acre parcel is poised to make life miserable for those living in southeast Bend.

Adding to the woes is the proposed reconstruction of Reed Market from Third St. to 27th.

That roadwork, whose funding was approved by voters last year, is supposed to begin sometime next year, but we've heard that song for the last seven years.

Reed Market is one of the busiest and least maintained roads in Bend. The city takes months to even patch potholes. Afterall, this portion of Reed Market is on the east side of town, which always trails the westside when public works projects are concerned.

Reed Market and 15th is slated to be transformed from a two-lane signaled intersection into a four-lane roundabout.

Many southeastsiders don't want the roundabout because traffic will back up into the roundabout any time a train passes by on tracks about a quarter-mile west of the intersection.

You can even sign a petition against the roundabout at the Expressway store at the northwest corner of the crossroads.

To complicate matters more are the plans to build a mixed-use "residential-over-retail" development on the 2.3-acre property on the southwest corner. This would bring 22 apartments above 19,800 square feet of retail. This plan replaces the previous one where 15 single-family homes were proposed.

Throw in a micro-parking lot and you've got a recipe for gridlock-over-driving hazard.

Not that the intersection doesn't have its share of accidents of the deadly T-bone variety.

The planned roundabout would greatly diminish such deadly crashes. But, the proposed high-density development would increase the dangers there.

It's counter-intuitive, to put it mildly.

Leave it to Bend to mismanage a tepid recovery.

This city doesn't need more housing or more retail. It can barely manage what it has now.

Commercial vacancies and housing foreclosures still dominate the landscape.

The intersection of Reed Market at 15th is the last place in the city for such a high-density development on a roundabout.

Obviously, Bend's planners need to reject such a proposal. But, they won't because they're afraid of getting sued by the deep-pocketed development community.

Bend is on the mend, but it's got a long ways to go before it figures out that growth for the mere sake of growth is a losing proposition for all the citizens of the city.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Searching for Sugar Man

There are few times in my life when I have to stop, listen and be in awe of what I've heard and seen.

But, that is the case with Rodriguez.

Here's a little primer on Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, a folk musician in the mold of Bob Dylan.

He looks like a native American, but is actually a Mexican-American from Detroit, the most ravaged city in America.

After recording two albums in 1970 and 1971 that didn't sell at all, Rodriguez was forced to give up on his dream as a singer-songwriter.

He spent the next four decades working as a day laborer.

That's when the alternate universe kicked in.

You see, in South Africa for the last 40 years, Rodriguez has been revered as Dylan is in America.

Many South Africans said Rodriguez' music was "the soundtrack to our lives," according to a report on "60 Minutes."

It inspired a fledgling Swiss filmmaker to make a documentary about Rodriquez on his iPhone.

Even though the documentary wasn't finished, Malik Bendjelloul submitted it to Robert Redford's Sundance film festival which promptly slated it as the festival's opening film.

The movie, "Searching for Sugar Man," could win the Oscar for best documentary next year. It played here briefly in Bend at Pilot Butte Six.

The whole story is astonishing. The music is actually hypnotic.

It's one of the most poignant, inspirational stories I've heard in many years.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Thanksgiving, not thanksbuying

We now have "Black Thursday"
One of the more distressing images of the holiday season is the annual shopping frenzy on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of bargain-seekers trample over one another to get that new video game or HDTV at dirt-cheap prices.

Thanks to Walmart, Target and others, we won't have to wait until Friday to see footage of rabid shoppers wedging through double doors in search of some electronic gizmo.

In fact, Walmart will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving because it's never too early to get that package of tube socks for a pittance.

The occasional worker or shopper may get crushed to death, but that's a small price to pay for record corporate profits. Gotta keep that stock price up.

Walmart, of course, is the poster-child of retail corporate cruelty. Read this story on how Walmart is a dead-end place for almost all of its workers, many of whom live in poverty.

So, who better to make work on Thanksgiving night than the poorest people in our country. It's the spirit of giving, isn't it?

For a company that claims to promote "family values," Walmart does its best to break up the family on a day when we should be celebrating all that we have, not what we can get on aisle 27.

What's particularly sad about all this is that we are conditioned by our modern society to behave this way.

We are told to spend, spend, spend, because that is what drives our economy. Who cares if the credit card is maxed out.

Then we're told to pay down our debts. Save, save, save.

It's enough to make us all schizoid.

Sadly, shoppers will likely have less to spend this holiday season since so many are struggling to handle their monthly cell phone bills. Check out this story on the monthly $300 bill for smartphones and data plans.

What makes Black Friday enticing for so many consumers is that it helps stretch that dwindling dollar.

We're making less than we did 20 years ago, when adjusted for inflation, and we need cheaper goods no matter who makes them or how little they are paid.

Here's hoping that most people stay home on Thanksgiving even if it means arguing with the in-laws or falling asleep early from eating all that turkey.

The best things in life aren't things.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Junk food tragedy

Twinkie the Kid, a Hostess mascot, as interpreted by Fortune
Bring out the hankies for the end of Twinkies.

Actually, it's amazing that Hostess Brands lasted this long with such unhealthful products as Ding Dongs, Sno Balls, Ho Ho's, Twinkies and Wonder bread.

The company's honchos said they had no choice but to close the troubled company because the greedy union would not agree to deep cuts to pay and benefits for the 18,500 employees.

Yes, blame the unions again.

It's an argument that resonates throughout the country. Consequently, less than 12 percent of American workers belong to a union. If union membership dwindled to less than 1 percent of the workforce, America corporations would still have a reliable scapegoat.

Yet, the real story has not emerged in the mainstream media.

Check out this story about how Hostess executives enriched themselves as the ship was sinking:

"As the company was preparing to file for bankruptcy earlier this year, the then CEO of Hostess was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000) and at least nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises. One such executive received a pay increase from $500,000 to $900,000 and another received one taking his salary from $375,000 to $656,256."

Obviously, Hostess was a poorly managed company, with or without unions.

And, in classic American fashion, we cheer the executives who looted the store before they closed the business while blaming the rank-and-file worker.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secessionaires' disease strikes U.S.

It's official.

Citizens in all 50 states, from the deepest blue to the brightest red, have filed petitions for their individual state to secede from the United States of America.

So, what are we gonna call ourselves?

The Cranky Communes of America?

We not only have losers spouting their racist rhetoric, but we also have hundreds of thousands willing to disband the union because their Bain brain lost to our community organizer.


The utter despair displayed by the teabagging right-wing is reaching new lows.

A letter writer to the local daily had this to say after the decisive Nov. 6 victory by President Obama: "After 236 years of existence, a new country emerged, run by secular progressives who openly reject our constitution."

Okay ... The lug-nuts are loose on that wheel.

There is now an attempt to impeach President Obama.

And, if that doesn't work, well, you know what's left. Yes, you can be sure that tens of millions of Americans would rather see President Obama assassinated than serve out his term. Actually, they would rejoice.

That's how far we have fallen as a nation.

For those filled with hate for this nation, no one is keeping you here against your will.

Please leave, and I hope the door hits your ass hard on the way out.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Might as well Jump!

GOP lawmakers charging ahead to see America fail
Yes, the so-called "fiscal cliff": the combination of tax increases and budget cuts are said to push America over the edge into another recession beginning Jan. 1.

That is what congressional Republicans want.

House Speaker John Boehner says no to a tax increase on the rich.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: "I am not willing to raise taxes ... period."

President Obama and the vast majority of Americans believe Democrats have a mandate for a balanced approach to fiscal responsibility which includes tax increases on the rich as well as cuts to spending. In fact, a report, that Republicans tried to suppress, shows that raising taxes on the rich won't hurt the economy.

Of that mandate, turtle-face Mitch says: "Yes, well, we Republicans in the House and Senate think we have a voter mandate not to raise taxes."

The reason for that false belief is that Republican legislators have pledged their allegiance to Grover Norquist rather than to the United States of America.

Grover's group, Americans for Tax Reform, oppose any tax increase. Actually, he believes there should be no taxes at all. That's right, Grover hates our government.

Evidently, so do Republicans who were elected to serve in our government and pledge allegiance to our country. Obviously, they'd rather serve Grover.

So, the GOP wants this country to fall off the "fiscal cliff."

Republicans should jump first so that they cushion the fall for the rest of us.

Friday, November 9, 2012

GOP to Latinos: We like tacos

Remember that cell phone ad about an office group that gets together at lunch to nosh tacos with one guy who didn't get the text message?

Well, that guy who said, "I like tacos," represents the current Republican Party: Out of touch and tactless, too.

Now, after looking at the detritus of their electoral debacle on Tuesday, when the Hispanic/Latino bloc proved an enormous benefit to Democrats, Republicans are now saying they must win over the Hispanic vote.

Let's be clear, Republicans still don't like Mexicans, they just want to figure out how to get their vote.

From Sean Hannity to John Boehner to Rupert Murdoch, Republicans have raised the white flag on fighting immigration reform. No mas.

Getting bull-whipped at the polls will do that to you.

But, the GOP's Hispanic problem goes deeper than immigration.

The Republican Party converted former "Dixiecrats" to the GOP beginning with civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s to Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to Ronald Reagan's restoration of white supremacy in the 1980s.

Now, the entire South bleeds GOP "red."

The Republican Part doesn't do "brown" or "black" or "yellow."

The GOP doubled down on embracing racists and rednecks because, afterall, whites make up the vast majority of voters.

But, such politics of racial-class warfare no longer work in America.  Many whites side with their fellow Americans no matter their color or creed.

The Republican Party, though, is the proud party of whites.

And, the GOP asks: "You gotta problem with that?"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Clear mandate for Obama

In 2004, when George W. Bush won re-election with a paltry 286 electoral votes to John Kerry's 251, which was the narrowest re-election victory since 1916, he felt he had a crushing mandate compared to his Supreme Court-ordered gift in 2000.

Here are his modest comments from 2004: "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style."

Compared to the 2004 election, President Obama has far more political capital to spend than W ever had. Obama will end up with 332 electoral votes after the Romney campaign graciously conceded Florida before all the votes were counted there.

Obama's victory was so decisive that Florida, and its 29 electoral votes, didn't even matter.

In other words, with the Senate still controlled by Democrats, President Obama has a clear mandate to govern the way voters elected him to govern. Tax the 1 percent and help the 99 percent.

And that bit about Oregon being a state in play. Well, Obama won 54 percent to 43 percent.

After listening to Rush Limbaugh, reading the Wall Street Journal and watching Fox News, Republicans were certain that this was going to be a Romney landslide.

With the unemployment rate at 8 percent, Republicans assumed that the race was over before it even started. They believed they would run away with the election.

Well, they can run, but they can't hide now.

They are now shell-shocked.

Here's a typical comment from the WSJ after a post-mortem column by Mitt cheerleader Peggy Noonan:

"A 2016 election is not even worth preparing for. The Free Republic that was the United States is now a thing of the past. The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave committed suicide on November 6th."

Yes, 48 percent of voters backed the Mitt-wit on Tuesday. Of the last six presidential elections, though, the GOP candidate has now lost the popular vote in five of them.

And, demographics are not favoring Republicans going forward.

The GOP's "big tent" will have a hard time filling up when the party hates blacks, Mexicans, gays, Muslims and women (who can forget those priceless comments about rape).

The Republican base, comprised of white, mostly male voters, shrunk to just 72 percent of the electorate this year. And Mitt is as white-bred as they come.

Romney won all the states with the most racists, rednecks and least-educated citizens. And, despite the noise those people generate, their numbers are dwindling, too, thank God.

Mitt also represented the uber-rich, who feel they can buy anything, be it love, sex or the presidency and are miffed when they're rebuffed.

This election is a rebuke to the 1 percenters and their ideology that tax cuts solve all ills.

They wasted billions on Mitt and other Republican candidates.

Spend your billions on creating real jobs in this country.

If not, then get out of the way, because President Obama is here for another four years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bend's GOP winners neutered in Salem

Thanks to their brutally effective negative ads, local GOP extremists Jason Conger and Tim Knopp easily won their races for the state House and Senate, respectively.

But, they were Pyrrhic victories in the sense that Democrats won control of the state House and Senate.

We also have a Democratic governor, treasurer and secretary of state.

Still, Democrats work with Republicans, but it's considered a sign of weakness for Republicans to even acknowledge the mere presence of Democrats in the room.

Conger and Knopp will be "creating jobs" by hiring family members to work in their offices.

Oh, and they'll introduce, yet again, anti-abortion and anti-marriage equality bills so they can show their wing-nut constituents that they're fighting their fight.

Nevermind, that they'll do nothing to create jobs in this state, let alone progressive policies.

We just elected two Republicans who will have no clout, whatsoever, in Salem.

Speaking of no clout, Republican Knute Buehler of Bend was crushed in his bid to unseat our Democratic Secretary of State, Kate Brown.

In a rare moment of unanimity, all of Oregon's major newspapers endorsed Buehler. Well, it appears that newspaper endorsements aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Actually, we've known that for years.

And, on the Bend City Council, it was great to see Kathie Eckman finally shown the door. She was a weak councilor. She needed to be ousted by Sally Russell.

Kudos, though, to Jim Clinton for winning re-election yet again. He's the only one on the council with integrity and intelligence.

Finally, it was great to see Democrat Alan Unger returned to office on the Deschutes County Commission. Unger, from Redmond, is one of our best public officials in the area.

Turnout was far lower than 2008. We managed just 80 percent this time, but had 87 percent in 2008.

Obviously, their was less enthusiasm for the president this time around and also for Mitt Romney in Deschutes County.

Park district bond passes

Bond included safe river passage plus whitewater play area
Surprisingly, the $29 million bond, put on the ballot by the Bend parks district, passed by 52 percent to 48 percent.

In these tough economic times, with huge, far more important bond measures -- schools, sewer, water -- facing property taxpayers next year, it was amazing this thing passed.

It doesn't really do much for park district patrons, although the river chute under the Colorado Bridge should save some lives. It also was a way for OSU-Cascades to get voter support for its Shevlin Center "campus" while not asking directly for it

Essentially, the bond is another way for the local construction/development industry to make a living off of the government.

And then, these same people turn around and complain about government spending. Classic hypocrites.

The park district bond spells trouble for the school district's bond and also the bond for an expanded sewer system. Most Bend homes are not served by the current sewer system. Also, the local beer industry is overwhelming the sewer system.

Anyway, it is what it is. The park district bond may enhance Bend's livability, but it comes at a steep price now, and down the road.

Oregon says no to pot, yes to estate taxes

There was mostly good news and some bad with the nine ballot measures facing Oregonians on Tuesday.

Unlike Colorado and neighboring Washington, the Beaver State said "no" to a flawed measure to legalize marijuana. National groups thought the Oregon measure was too broad and would not pass, so they withheld support. A more restrictive measure has a great chance of passing in the future. That said, federal law still says pot is illegal.

Oregonians affirmed their belief that estate taxes are necessary to help level the playing field in our society by rejecting Measure 85, which would have phased out the state inheritance tax. If it had passed, further cuts to public education, public safety and health care were inevitable.

It was great to see Oregonians back public education by passing Measure 85, which re-directs the corporate "kicker" tax refund to K-12 education.

We also rejected, as expected, the creation of non-Native American casinos in the state. That's the last thing this state needed.

Unfortunately, Oregonians passed Measure 79, which prohibits any real estate transfer tax in the future.
We don't have such a tax now, so there is no effect on government budgets. But, it also means that without the ability to broaden our tax base, the burden falls even harder on property taxpayers to make up the difference.

Oregonians have long been trailblazers by being the first in the nation to pass a bottle bill, sweeping land-use reform, assisted-suicide and vote-by-mail; all of which Washington state followed.

Our neighbors to the north, though, have taken the title of political leaders.

Washington affirmed same-sex marriage on Tuesday along with legalizing marijuana. Those are two measures Oregonians will face in the future.

We have some catching up to do, but I'm confident we will do it.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hope wins again; hate loses

President Obama swamps Mitt in electoral votes
As expected, President Obama easily won re-election with the race called about 20 minutes after 8 pm PST.

Yes, the overall vote is close, but that is irrelevant. The electoral vote is all that matters and right now, Obama is up to 290, when all you need is 270. If he holds onto Florida and Virginia, he'll reach 332 EVs. We're talking a beat-down here, relative to anything Bush II achieved.

While watching the various networks tonight, you could tell all the announcers knew the outcome, through exit polling, but withheld the news to maintain viewership throughout the night.

The editors at the Wall Street Journal knew the outcome well before the polls closed. The Rupert Murdoch paper's early editions ran an editorial titled, "The Republic Will Survive."

There was nothing but venom spewed at Obama from the Journal, Fox News, and hate-radio 24-7 for four long years. As noted before, hate is not a winning strategy.

This election is great on many levels, but the one I'll mention now is this: For four years, Republicans have been comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter and calling him a one-term president.

Remember that video of the Mitt-wit deriding 47 percent of Americans as moochers? The one that help put the nail in Mitt's political coffin? Well, Jimmy Carter's grandson arranged the release of that video on the Mother Jones website.

Karma is sweet.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Obama should win, pollsters say

Nate Silver's blog, fivethirtyeight, is the most bullish on President Obama's chances of winning re-election. Nate now rates the president's chances at over 91 percent. He also projects his electoral total to be 314.4.

He rates Ohio as the key state to watch. He predicts an Obama victory there, which means he wins re-election.

Over at Intrade, President Obama has better than a 67 percent chance of winning. Read this piece about a 29-year-old who has six figures riding on the outcome Tuesday.

Even the right-leaning website Real Clear Politics shows Obama taking 303 electoral votes.

Things we know before Tuesday is that the Romney/Ryan will lose their "home" states.

In Romney's case, that means Massachusetts (where he governed), Michigan (where he grew up) and California (where he has an ocean-front home with a car elevator).

For Ryan, his home state of Wisconsin will back the president.

Mitt will win Utah decisively and its whopping 6 electoral votes. This, in spite of Utah's largest daily newspaper backing Barack.

Still, pre-election day voting is showing a number of problems in the battleground states. In Ohio, untested and uncertified vote-counting software was installed at the last minute. 

It will likely be worse on election day.

But, the GOP is ready with their excuses if the Mitt-wit loses.

Forward with Obama, not backwards with Myth Robme.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finally, just one week left

Mitt wishes you a Happy Halloween
If there is any good news out of "Frankenstorm" that pounded the eastern seaboard is that it kept politics off the top of the evening newscast.

One of the worst things about our democracy is the seemingly interminable presidential election cycle.

From the TV ads to the debates to the newscasts devoid of any real substance, this election just begs to be over.

Almost all of the $2 billion raised by the Republicans and Democrats goes towards TV advertising.

In order to keep that revenue flowing, TV news stations hype the presidential race to ridiculous levels rather than give viewers information that is useful.

Yes, the presidential race is close, if you look at the national polls of the popular vote, with Mitt holding a slight edge.

As we learned in 2000, though, the popular vote means nothing compared to the electoral vote (EV) count. The winner needs 270 EVs.

And, we know that there are three battleground states (Ohio, Florida and Virginia), but that Ohio is the key to it all.

And, in Ohio, about four counties will decide the next president of the United States. Those counties have balloting machines owned by a company with ties to Romney by way of Bain Capital.

News events, including Hurricane Sandy, probably will have little impact on the race, unless the power is still out.

With that said, President Obama still has a tenuous lead in Ohio. Republicans appear to be turning out better in early voting than they did in Ohio in 2008. Conversely, Democrats appear to be doing much worse than they did 2008 in early voting there.

And yet, the number crunchers at Real Clear Politics, a right-leaning website, give President Obama the edge to claim 281 EVs.

A professor with a civil engineering background in Orange County, Calif., used his computer model to forecast President Obama's reelection. He thinks Obama will get 286 EVs. Predicting this in one of the most Republican areas of the country could put the professor's life in jeopardy.

The Intrade gambling folks, who only care about money, still show President Obama with better than a 63 percent chance of winning.

At fivethirtyeight, Nate Silver, who is a left-leaning numbers guru, is still giving President Obama about a 73 percent chance of winning with 294.6 EVs.

Meanwhile, the Princeton Election Consortium sees Obama taking 305 EVs.

We can only hope.

Still, many right-wing blogs are predicting a 5 percent to 7 percent Mitt victory. They claims the polls are biased because they under-represent Republicans.

Commenters on political stories on the Wall Street Journal and Fox News websites are confident that Mitt will blow the president away. Whenever the Journal runs stories that suggest perhaps the president has a slight lead, these ranters accuse the Journal of being another left-wing rag.

Progressives, though, are nervous.

I think both sides can agree that the sooner this thing is over, the better.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why do corporate czars hate Obama?

Thrifty rental car bumper sticker
Check out this story on how corporations have done better under President Obama than all of our presidents in history since 1900.

And yet, corporate honchos are threatening their own workers if they vote for President Obama.

They even have bumper stickers to show their disdain for a president under which they have made record profits. Check out this story about bumper stickers on Thrifty rental cars in Buffalo that say: "Vote for the American."

Well, we know that since American corporations would rather see millions of Chinese have jobs that once went to Americans, we know who is a real American and who is not.

Republicans say that regulations have stifled corporate America.

Well, guess what, America could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest exporter of oil. 

Obviously, President Obama's policies have NOT stymied oil companies from record output and record profits.

That hasn't stopped oil companies from taking all that cash they've gouged from drivers and pumping it into GOP's coffers.

American corporations claim that they alone create jobs. They do. In China.

If you want a real American, re-elect President Obama.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not much of an early turnout in Deschutes County

We've had our ballots for a week now and the Deschutes County Clerk's office is reporting just a 19 percent return rate. My ballot is in.

Statewide, the Secretary of State's office is showing the turnout by party as 16.4 percent by Democrats, 15.8 percent by Repubicans and 9.5 percent by non-affiliated voters.

Oregon, of course, was the first state in the nation to go to all-mail balloting in 1998.

Consequently, Oregon has one of the highest turnout rates for presidential elections at over 80 percent. It was nearly 86 percent in 2008.

Still, the turnout so far suggests a lack of interest compared to four years ago.

In fact, the primary last May had the lowest turnout since 1960.

That was to be expected since President Obama was the nominee for the Democrats and since the Republican field was so weak and weird with Willard (Mitt) Romney the presumptive nominee.

It doesn't seem, though, that the get-out-the-vote efforts from either party are producing big results in Oregon.

The Beaver State is not considered a toss-up state, but President Obama's expected margin of victory should be less than it was in 2008 or in the 5 percent range.

That doesn't mean Oregon voters are smitten with Mitt. In spite of a sizable Mormon population in the state, particularly in Bend, the Mitt-wit does not energize the GOP here.

He's a one-man, voter-suppression machine.


'My party is full of racists'

The truth hurts.

Below is the story from the Huffington Post about the reaction from a retired Army colonel about the Republican response to Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama:

Colin Powell's former chief of staff condemned the Republican Party on Friday night, telling MSNBC's Ed Schultz, "My party is full of racists."
Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson made the comment in response to Mitt Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu's suggestion on Thursday that Powell's endorsement of President Barack Obama's re-election was motivated by race. Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff when the general was secretary of state during the first George W. Bush term, told Schultz that he respected Sununu "as a Republican, as a member of my party," but did not "have any respect for the integrity of the position that [Sununu] seemed to codify."
When asked by Schultz what, if anything, the remark said about the attitudes of the Republican Party, Wilkerson said:
My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people -- not all of them, but most of them -- who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable.
The retired colonel also said that "to say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Theresa worked for profit."
Powell, a Republican, endorsed Obama for the second time on Thursday morning --he also backed the president in 2008 -- saying on CBS' "This Morning" that he was "more comfortable with President Obama and his administration" than with Romney on a host of issues.
Sununu, no stranger to incendiary rhetoric this election cycle, reacted to the endorsement on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," saying that "when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama."
Obama himself dismissed Sununu's suggestion on Friday, telling radio host Michael Smerconish:
Any suggestion that Gen. Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything but what he thought was what's going to be best for America doesn't make much sense.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Positive news on polls

It's hard to make sense of all the polls that show conflicting results for the same race and state.

Like Ohio.

President Obama continues to lead in Ohio, but the advantage is either within the margin of error or above that same margin.

Well, here's an article that helps explain the differences between the polling methods used today.

Some outfits, like Rasmussen, use "robo-calls" of "likely voters," as opposed to "live" calls of likely voters.

Likely voters apparently are more valid than "register voters."

Robo-calls are computer generated. Live calls are people calling people.

The big difference between the two methods is that robo-calling cell phones is prohibited by law, but live-calling is not.

Live-calling of likely voters evidently yields the most valid responses.

This makes sense since virtually no one under the age of 35 owns a land-line these days.

Conversely, robo-calls target older voters who tend to vote Republican.

Anyway, President Obama holds a larger lead in Ohio, about 4.5 percent, with live calls.

This is critical, because if President Obama wins Ohio, it is all over for the Mitt-wit.

So, this is good news for President Obama's chances of winning re-election.

However, as noted in the previous posting, a company with close ties to Mitt owns the voting machines in the key counties in Ohio that will decide the entire election.

It's crucial for the media to be vigilant of "irregularities" in voting results in those Ohio counties.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trouble on election front

While the presidential election remains incredibly tight, there are some good and bad trends for President Obama.

The Intrade numbers are moving in his direction again, roughly 62 percent to 38 percent as of Thursday night.

Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight still gives Obama a 73 percent chance of winning even as the national polls show a dead-even race.

Obama is fading a tad, though, in Florida and Virginia, but retains a slight lead in the polls in Ohio.

However, the voting machines used in certain key counties in Ohio are owned by a company with ties to Mitt Romney.

It worked in 2004 when a Bush buddy at Diebold skewed results in Ohio in favor of Bush over Kerry.

Also, states with Republican governors or legislatures, from Pennsylvania to Florida to Virginia to Colorado to Ohio have worked hard to slant the election toward Republicans by repeatedly purging voter rolls, even of citizens who are entitled to vote. They also tried to suppress the vote by passing voter I.D. laws that most courts said were discriminatory.

Republicans are the first to cry "voter fraud" because they are the ones who are practicing it. Almost no one else is committing voter fraud.

The company that the GOP hired to register voters was fired because it committed actual voter fraud in Florida. 

It's gotten so bad that an affiliate of the United Nations is sending people, from countries with their own problems with democracy, over here to monitor our election.

And, if this isn't enough to hand the election to the Mitt-wit, he's got his buddies in the corporate world to threaten their workers if they vote for Obama.

Judging from these episodes, it doesn't appear America is that exceptional after all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

We rue the day

Ben Affleck directed and starred in 'Argo'
Having just seen "Argo," the entertaining movie of the astounding rescue of six Americans from Iran in 1980, it's time to look back at those emasculating times and wonder what it means today.

There are no direct comparisons with the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979 when 52 Americans were held captive for 444 days until the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, to anything today.

Six diplomats escaped during the embassy takeover on Nov. 4, 1979.

They hid at the home of the Canadian ambassador for a couple of months before they were rescued by Tony Mendez, a CIA agent, on a ruse that they were scouting locations for a sci-fi movie called "Argo."

It was nice to be at the theater to hear almost a full house erupt in applause as the Americans, against rapidly diminishing odds, got out on a Swiss Air flight.

I'm sure there are a few who would equate the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month to the Iran-hostage situation.

Well, they aren't that similar at all. The murders of our ambassador and three others were tragic. The Iran-hostage crisis was one prolonged nightmare that still haunts us today with our continuing problems with Iran.

But, there are definite parallels to our invasion of Iraq.

In "Argo," the American embassy workers are portrayed as wimpy nerds. With their oversized glasses, ridiculous haircuts and elitist attitudes, they don't appear worthy of saving at all.

The CIA operatives, as portrayed in the film, are clueless, having been completely wrong about the Iranian revolution.

And the military, well, the few defenders at the embassy in "Argo" are simply ill-prepared and overwhelmed.

In our 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, on which the invasion was premised.

The military was ill-prepared to deal with improvised-explosive devices and scores of Americans were blown to bits.

And, the diplomats? Well, let's just say their attire and grooming improved, but they were as elitist, condescending and clueless as their counterparts were in 1979.

Yeah, let's disband the Iraqi military and ban former Baathist party members from having any say in the new American-imposed government.

That didn't work out too well.

What is also impressive about "Argo" is how it deals with the uncomfortable facts about how America laid the groundwork for the Islamic revolution, that's still sweeping the world today, by deposing a democratically elected leader and installing the Shah in 1953. We still rue that day.

Dictatorships don't work out too well, particularly when you torture and imprison thousands of your countrymen and women. But, that's what the Shah did, to our nodding approval.

Afterall, we got oil out of the deal. That's all we ever wanted.

We invaded Iraq for the same reason.

And, look what that has done to the Middle East. It's less stable now than any time in history.

The Arab Spring will do what it should: Allow self-determination of each country, from Libya to Syria.

They may choose Islamic governance, which is not good, but in the long run, it simplifies the potential conflicts. Instead of fighting a word like "terrorism," we would be fighting a country like Egypt or Syria or Libya.

It would be nation against nation and it's a battle we can win decisively and swiftly.

As President Obama debates Mitt Romney tonight, we should think of "Argo" and Iraq.

The president was handed a devastated economy and, for good measure, a complete mess on the international front. It will take years to undue the harm.

President Obama is on the right track. Mitt would takes us backwards to the Bush era.

We must move forward with President Obama.

If not, we'll rue the day.

Will Armstrong lose CCC title?

Now that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, will organizers of the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend take away Armstrong's CCC title from 1998?

One can only hope. That's what happens when you dope.

The CCC is the longest, consecutively run stage race in America.

Armstrong won the CCC the year before he went on his unprecedented record run in France.

A former teammate of Armstrong's testified that he and his wife heard Armstrong admit using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) as early as 1996.

As we all know now, Armstrong was not only using PEDs, he was also a ring-leader among his many teammates over the years. By getting them involved, Armstrong bet he could keep them silent.

Well, obviously, that strategy failed as many of his former teammates spoke out against him.

Armstrong is wealthy beyond most measures. His former racing teammates are not.

I always thought that Armstrong used drugs to get a competitive edge, so I wasn't terribly surprised when his sordid past caught up with him. I figured most of the racers were using PEDs.

Unfortunately, getting that "racer's edge" has always been a part of sports and always will be. Sometimes that edge is legitimate, many times it isn't.

Drugs or not, it is still impressive what Armstrong "achieved" especially after surviving testicular cancer.

In 25 years, I won't be surprised at all if performance-enhancing drugs, particularly the ones Armstrong used, are considered legal.

That's how the bicycle rolls.

Until then, yank Armstrong's CCC title.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Progressive voters' guide

The ballots are in the mail. We got ours today.

By mailing your ballot in sooner, rather than later, you'll be able to avoid all those annoying phone calls urging you to vote.

Below are my recommendations for the Nov. 6 election:

President: Barack Obama. The Mitt-wit promises to return this country to the halcyon days of the George W. Bush administration. No thanks.

Secretary of State: Kate Brown. Knute Buehler, her challenger, is a RINO and hypes the phony issue of "voter fraud." The only voter-fraud that has occurred recently is by Republicans.

House District 54: Nathan Hovekamp. His opponent, Jason Conger, is another GOP extremist who is anti-public education. He favors slashing government revenue, which would force more shortened school years.

Senate District 27: Geri Hauser. She would be far better than Tim Knopp, an extremist who supports gutting public education at all levels by supporting repeal of the state inheritance tax that rewards the few at the expense of almost all Oregonians.

Deschutes County Commissioner: Alan Unger. He's one of the best public servants we've had here. His opponent, Tom Greene, is a real-estate agent who gambled big on the local housing market and lost big. He now desperately needs a high-paying government job, which is a terrible reason to run for office.

State treasurer: Ted Wheeler. No competition.

Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum. No contest.

Representative 2nd District: Anyone but Greg Walden. He'll win easily, but he's just an errand boy for the GOP.

Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries: Brad Avakian. Again, no credible competition.

Supreme Court, Position 5: Nena Cook. We need more eminently qualified women on the state high court like Cook.

Court of Appeals: Tim Volpert. He's got a great list of endorsements. Check out his website.

Circuit Court Judge, 11th District: Beth Bagley. She easily beat all competitors in the primary, but must now win the runoff.

Bend City Council, Position 1: Barb Campbell. A weak lineup here, but she's better than her opponents.

Bend City Council, Position 2: Doug Knight. Not a strong slate here but Knight knows our local city government better than the rest.

Bend City Council, Position 3: Sally Russell. The incumbent, Kathie Eckman, has long overstayed her time on the council.

Bend City Council, Position 4: Jim Clinton. He's the only one on the council with brains and integrity.

Measures 77 and 78: House-keeping measures long overdue. Yes on both.

Measure 79: NO! Stop Realtors from increasing property taxes.

Measure 80: Yes and No. Sooner or later marijuana will become legal, as it should. But this Oregon measure is too open-ended to survive. A more limited measure in Washington will likely pass and Oregon should follow that lead. Not in favor of promoting vices, but if we tax marijuana to the hilt maybe the state can profit from it someday.

Measure 81: Yes. End use of gill-nets on the Columbia River.

Measures 82 and 83: NO on both. We don't need anymore casinos in Oregon.

Measure 84: NO! Keep the inheritance tax. We don't need to further slash funding for education including the fledgling OSU-Cascades.

Measure 85: YES! Corporations don't even care about getting a "kicker" refund. Let's fund education instead. It's our best way out of our current troubles.

Measure 9-86: NO! It's the wrong time for the Bend parks district to ask voters to spend $29 million on non-essential upgrades. Wait until the economy turns around and most in Bend will support it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Do newspaper endorsements matter?

Salt Lake City Tribune endorses President Obama
Not really.

Maybe they had an impact 50 years ago, but newspaper subscriptions have plummeted since then.

In cities where you once had three daily newspapers, you're lucky to have one left that publishes every day of the week.

And yet, newspaper endorsements still get a lot of airplay in the digital age.

The most shocking endorsement, so far, occurred today when Utah's largest daily newspaper, the Salt Lake City Tribune, endorsed President Obama over Mitt Romney, a loyal Mormon, BYU grad and the "savior" of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

In an editorial titled "Too Many Mitts," the Tribune states:

"In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first."
It's worth reading the entire editorial and, of course, the apoplectic comments afterward.
I expected this editorial in the New York Times, but in Utah's largest daily newspaper?
Not in a million years.
This does not mean that President Obama will win Utah. No, he'll lose by 80 percent to 20 percent or worse, so the Obama endorsement doesn't matter.
But, Mitt will lose, by wide margins, the state (Michigan) where he grew up, the state (Massachusetts) where he governed and the state (California) where he's adding an elevator for his cars at his seaside mansion.
Yet, the earthquake the Salt Lake City Tribune delivered with its take-down of Mormon Mitt is likely to reverberate across the landscape. 
It also means that the Tribune did itself no favors in trying to hang on to its declining readership. In fact, this endorsement could put the Tribune out of business.

Knute Buehler is a RINO

Did you know that "Republican" Knute Buehler held a fund-raiser for Democrat John Kitzhaber when he was running for a third term as governor in 2010?

Here's a graph from a recent story in The Oregonian

"Neither Patty, who is an ophthalmologist, nor Knute, an orthopedic surgeon, have been lifelong Republicans. In 1992, while working 100 hours a week as residents at Oregon Health and Sciences University, the couple also worked for independent candidate Ross Perot's presidential campaign. Sometime after that, Knute Buehler says, he joined the GOP. But that didn't keep the couple from holding a primary fund-raiser at their home for Democrat John Kitzhaber when he was making a campaign for a third term."

Also, getting endorsed by The (Eugene) Register-Guard and Willamette Week is total proof that Knute is a RINO.

Of course, being a Republican in Name Only or RINO could help Knute be the first Republican elected to a statewide office as secretary of state in Oregon in more than a decade.

But, being a RINO in Bend has its pitfalls. 

Chris Telfer learned this the hard way when the sitting state senator was ambushed by a cabal of male legislators from Central Oregon and lost the GOP primary last spring to extremist extraordinaire Tim Knopp.

Tom DeWolf, former Deschutes County Commissioner, was chased from office in disgrace by outraged Republicans because DeWolf was a RINO.

Buehler should watch his back because if he doesn't pass the local GOP litmus test of being anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage, and if he stoops so low as to work with Democrats like Gov. Kitzhaber, then he will be toast in Bend.

That's not the only problem for Knute. His ads make it sound like he's running for governor, when he is just running for secretary of state.

Knute, like most Republicans, claims that government can't create jobs but is running on a platform of "creating jobs." 

Evidently, he plans on hiring a boatload of people at the secretary of state's office. That's the only way he'll be able to create any jobs. 

Knute, though, has jumped on the voter-suppression band-wagon that Republicans nationwide drag through the states like a bum on skid road.

There is almost no evidence of voter fraud in this country. Yes, a handful of cases have emerged nationwide in the past decade, but that is hardly a "crisis."

The only recent cases of "voter fraud" are linked directly to the Republican Party, first in Florida and secondly in Oregon.

It's obvious that those crying "wolf" about "voter fraud" are engaging in voter fraud themselves.

Sorry, Knute. Kate Brown deserves to serve as secretary of state for another term.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why Mitt's unfit to lead America

First off, Willard "Mitt" Romney does not support our troops.

No one, including himself, his immediate family, not his five sons, nor any descendants on his mother's or father's side of the family, has ever served in the U.S. military.

This includes:

The Civil War
World War I
World War II
Desert Storm

Yet, Mitt says he supports the military enough to send other American sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers or fathers off to harm's way. Just not his own.

Secondly, Mitt evades supporting our troops with his considerable wealth by shielding it from American taxes in accounts in the Cayman Islands and in Swiss banks.

If the future president of the United States does not believe in this country enough to keep his money here to support our troops in combat, or encourage his sons to serve this country, then he is unfit to be commander in chief of those troops.

Thirdly, Mitt claims he will make life easier for small businesses.

Well, let's look at his record.

The Mitt-wit's greatest claim to fame is that Bain Capital helped create Staples, the office supply, big-box company.

The fact is that Staples helped wipe out all those small office-supply companies in every town throughout the country. Those companies were owned by small businessmen and women. Instead of having family-wage jobs, those individuals and many more were left with minimum-wage jobs at Staples.

The point is this: If you have a small business that hasn't been destroyed by corporate America, it will be under Mitt Romney. You can bank on that.

Fourth: The 47 percent. Mitt truly believes that nearly half of the people in this country are bums trying to scam a living off of the government. What he really means is that he will do everything he can to prevent that 47 percent from letting the other 53 percent from scamming a living off of the government through tax breaks and giveaways to the wealthy.

Fifth: Mitt has no core beliefs. He was for abortion before he was against it, because he desperately needed the social-issue wingnuts of the Republican Party behind him. He passed "Romneycare" in Massachusetts before he was against "Obamacare" nationally, because he needed the support of teabaggers. He signed anti-assault weapon legislation in Massachusetts before he was against such legislation for the rest of America because he needed the backing of the NRA.

Sixth: Mitt claims he was a job-creator as governor. In fact, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation by the time he left office. Maybe that's where he got that 47 percent figure of Americans he considers moochers.

Seventh: Mitt wants to limit the rights of women in equal pay, in equal access to opportunity and in control over their own bodies. Mitt is a former Mormon bishop and stake president in Boston. We all know that Mormons treat women as second-class citizens. Afterall, Mitt once had "binders full of women."

Eighth: Mitt promises to restore the policies of the Bush Administration, which brought this country to its knees.

Mitt is a kneeler, not a leader.

Mitt has no business representing this country.