Part 3: Are Mitt Romney and His Supporters Sociopathic?

This will be the last rant regarding the psychological/psychiatric make-up of Mitt Romney and/or those who support them. As fun as it is to make these diagnoses, I am not board certified and these are serious issues of mental health and their potential consequences. I merely throw these out for conversational purposes. Only professionals should be making these diagnoses. This ends the disclaimer except to add that your mileage may very. That being said:

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is described by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR), as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

All any of us know about Mitt Romney in particular is what we hear or observe of him in the media, how he himself responds to reports and what others have said. So does he meet three of the six factors stated above?

Callous unconcern for the feelings of others: Mitt says himself “I like to fire people.” Now that could have very easily been in jest, just an “off the cuff” remark that gets bad play and is taken out of context. However, his business model at Bain thrived under his directions to saddle businesses with debt, that funded the purchase, and then selling off the assets to make profits, while those who worked for the companies lost their jobs, benefits, pensions and healthcare. The “common people” as many of Mitt’s supporters and friends would call them lost everything and suffered. Did Mitt revel in that? We don’t know but he certainly profited from it and continues to this very day. And of course the issues involving how he treated that fellow student with his hair and all. Didn’t really demonstrate any concern for his feelings as noted by Mitt’s “Friends” of the time. And of course, both his and Paul Ryan’s candidacy exhibits complete callousness towards the needs of the elderly, poor and disadvantaged by design.

Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations: Going back to his Bain experience, Mitt essentially created the whole premise of Vulture Capitalism and Outsourcing of Jobs. This by many of his close associates was a form of business of Mitt’s own design. He perfected it. It ran counter to everything that preceded it. Leverage buyouts of failing companies and companies that weren’t failing, only to decimate them for personal profit. The social rules did not appear to apply to the goal of increasing profits at all costs, real and moral. The contracts these companies had with their employees were thrown out the window upon Bain’s actions that forced them into bankruptcy, again for profit.

Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them: As a politician, Mitt has to establish relationships with others to get elected. However, Mitt is famous for being disliked. The stories in Game Change mention how he was the most disliked person by GOP leadership and nothing in the most recent campaign season has shown that this has changed. The anger the other candidates showed him on stage and many still have for him is interesting. He created a quick relationship with Paul Ryan to cement his support of the conservative wing of the Republican party. Yet only a week out, there are signs of strain with that relationship with Mitt reminding people that it’s his budget, not Paul’s that will be implemented. Much to the apparent surprise of Paul Ryan. How long will this relationship last?

Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence: I don’t really see anything that would apply to this criteria. No one has seen Mitt lose his temper. They’ve observed his frustration, they’ve seen him get testy in some media interviews, and he has that nervous laugh. But the violence does not appear to be there. At least none that we are aware of.

Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment: When running for governor of Massachusetts, the issue of Mitt Romney’s tax returns came into play. Not necessarily for what he earned, but to see if it was legal for him to run for Governor of Massachusetts. After much stalling and despite his pleas to “trust me” it turned out that he filed as a resident of Utah, not Massachusetts. But no matter, he was able to “retroactively” re-file his returns to show he was a Massachusetts residence and was allowed to run and win the office. So despite the mess the whole issue conjured up, he really suffered no punishment for his acts. Yet he is essentially doing the same thing again. I place this as a maybe, but we need more examples.

Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society: On one hand, this is where his already noted and discussed projection comes into play. Actions and behaviors that clearly belong to and are orchestrated by him and his campaign he blames on the Obama campaign. The campaign has gotten dirty and personal yet he blames Obama for it. He’s even justifies some of the more immature stunts from his campaign like hiring people to chant at Obama rallies or driving a bus around honking as “Justified” because the other side does it, even though they never had. And though he blames problems in healthcare today on Obama, where did his idea come from?

I focus on Mitt Romney, but these criteria should be applied to those in the media who speak for him and those in the streets who support him. Even those who do not support him but will vote for him anyway. Of course I mean the rank and file of the Tea Party. If anyone exhibits most if not all of the six components of anti-social behavior, it’s them. Hell, they don’t even like the work “socialism” how more anti-social can you get?

Despite what I write and cite here, I don’t know if Mitt Romney is able to be clinically classified as being sociopathic. He certainly can be classified as an asshole who is more concerned for himself than those he says he wants to lead, but that in of itself doesn’t make one a sociopath. However, many of his most vocal and ardent supporters I think do fit the criteria of antisocial behavior. They exhibit it every time they rally against anything designed to aid and assist those things that will help the disadvantaged, every time they place themselves as more important, more correct, more valuable because of their race and social standing than others of a different race, standing or political persuasion.

That being said, the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson are clearly sociopathic creeps in my opinion and Mitt at best, is only learning from them.

Mitt Romney Psychological Discourse Part 2: Cognitive Dissonance

We’ve already discussed Psychological Projection, but here’s one that is a real poser in this campaign season.

Cognitive dissonance is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. An example of this would be the conflict between wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is unhealthy; a person may try to change their feelings about the odds that they will actually suffer the consequences, or they might add the consonant element that the smoking is worth short-term benefits. A general view of cognitive dissonance is when one is biased towards a certain decision even though other factors favor an alternative.

Cognitive dissonance theory warns that people have a bias to seek consonance among their cognitions. We engage in “dissonance reduction”, which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias gives the theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.

So essentially, one with reasonable intelligence and confidence, when confronted with issues or realities that do not fit what they believe in, will try to explain things or alter reality in order to meet their beliefs knowing deep down, it’s all bullshit. How does this apply to Mitt Romney?

We can assume that Mitt is of some intelligence. He has two degrees from Harvard and has actually been very successful in business, unlike the previous GOP CEO to occupy the White House. The issue is however, his success was only “profitable” for a small select group of people. Though he destroyed long-standing companies, threw thousands out of work, destroyed pensions that they paid into for years, leaving them destitute and without healthcare, Mitt sees this as successful. Is this dissonance? Not necessarily.

We can speculate on what Mitt’s personal beliefs are and how they place in society as a whole and how his actions impact society. Is he altering his reality to gain cognitive coherence with his beliefs? Maybe not. This may play into another psychological/psychiatric disorder known as Sociopathy. We will save that for another rant. However, we are not done discussing Cognitive Dissonance.

This may or may not apply to Mitt Romney, but does it apply to those who choose to follow and support him? There is the problem in this campaign season. I am of the view that the majority of his supporters suffer from Cognitive Dissonance.

Mitt Romney needed the support of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party to secure the nomination (which he actually has yet to acheive) and in doing so, needed to convince the Tea Party fringe that he was of their mind. As you all know, the Tea Party do not believe in government spending, taxes, the nanny state or regulations. At least that’s not what they are supposed to believe in. The Koch brothers, who fund their infrastructure, have given them those talking points for obvious reasons.

Now Mitt Romney has in the past as a citizen, candidate and elected official supported pro-choice, gay rights, signed an assault rifle ban in Massachusetts and worse of all, fathered and enacted “RomneyCare” for which “ObamaCare” came from. All of those issues run counter to the belief system of the extreme right.

The extreme right are convinced that Obama has raised or plans to raise their taxes despite the fact that Federal Income and FICA tax rates at are their lowest rates in generations. Both the Romney and Paul Ryan Budgets, in order to pay for additional tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country, will raise taxes on the middle and working class by eliminated only those tax deductions that apply to them. This has been documented. And as important as a balance budge is to the extreme right, the Romney/Ryan plan won’t balance the budget for at least 30 years.

The extreme right-wing, when complaining about ObamaCare, famously spoke of keeping government out of their Medicare. Despite the obvious dissonance in that statement, the Ryan record and Romney rhetoric is clear, they want to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare. Both would take services and financial support away from the seniors and disabled, costing them far more than they can afford. These facts are indisputable. Yet they support the claim from the candidates that their plans would strengthen both programs. They believe it.

Their dissonance in my opinion, the reason they alter their reality to accept these defendable positions is the right’s core value that no matter what a black man does, if he is Democratic, he is not “one of them” and anything he supports, even if it’s something they support, is wrong, foreign, Marxist, Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Kenyan, whatever. The cognitive dissonance comes from the Romney supporters because they cannot bring themselves to accept that a black Democrat is the best choice and is closer to their views. They alter, change, blur their reality to fit their narrative.

The Romney supporters, deep in their minds know Mitt is not the answer. They know he is a liar, despite him running neck and neck with Obama, he has higher negatives than the president. He is seen as untrustworthy because of all the flipflops and out and out lies he has been caught in. He is uncomfortable with the “common people” that clearly shows, yet the man is getting support. His supporter block all of that out because they cannot accept a Black Democrat has done, and will do better than this man who they know will make things worse because they do not support anything he’s ever done in his life. They don’t like him outsourcing jobs, not paying his fair share of taxes, not releasing his taxes, not being transparent, seeing himself as privileged, enacting RomneyCare that they know is ObamaCare, outlawing assault rifles, and being on record supporting gay rights and freedom of choice and then spinelessly changing those views without any explanation.

The Cognitive Dissonance is within the registered voters of this country and there is too little time for therapy to correct the issue before November. So you all need to get out, get registered, get your ID’s and vote.

Mitt Romney’s Psychological Projection

I think its possible that Mitt has a lot of psychological problems. Now I’m not a psychologist, but I play one on Twitter and the Blogs, but I’m only going to address one right now. I heard a speech from Mitt today and felt a need to bring this up. In his speech he said of the President that he is running a campaign “of enmity and jealousy and anger,”  he thinks Obama is “running just to hang onto power, and I think he would do anything in his power” to remain in office. “These personal attacks, I think, are just demeaning to the office of the White House,” he added. He later made reference that the President wants to hold on to power and is only trying to get to that 50.1% of the vote to do it while dividing the country. I found that line very interesting.

“Psychological Projection: or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.”

It was Mitt Romney who famously told everyone who would listen to him during the primaries that he wasn’t responsible for the SuperPac negative ads against his opponents and added his goal was to get 50.1% of the vote to win. “You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

As for the Obama Campaign playing it personal, getting dirty, not focus on issues. Well, when confronted with his first major ad that showed that he was altering the tape when President Obama in 2008 was quoting John McCain to make it seem like Obama was talking about himself, Mitt said he was allowed to do that in a campaign. When confronted about those speaking on his behalf questioning the President’s citizenship, education, religion, political ideology Mitt refuses to distance himself from any of those people making extremely vile personal attacks. People like Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump. I guess these are the good people he referenced during the primary.

When Mitt Romney and his surrogates discuss important issues like Medicare, he and they clearly lie. There is no doubt they are painting a false narrative. The issue of the President taking $716,000,000,000.00 from the trust fund has been clearly debunked by independent sources. No services to Medicare patients have been cut to the slightest degree. The amount cited is savings by eliminating fraud, waste and give-aways to the Insurance Companies that do not go to patient care. The money is diverted to the American Care Act and goes directly to patient care. Mitt says services were cut, but he won’t say what services. Sounds like a bit of misdirection on Mitt’s part. Or more simply, a fucking lie.

As to the demeaning level the White House has gone to, without really citing anything, Mitt proudly admits he had paid political stooges boo David Axelrod at an Obama event and had his bus driving around an Obama event honking its horn. Very professional Mitt.

Whenever asked to provide details to the claims Mitt makes against the Obama campaign, Mitt deflects, throws up smoke, innuendos, but cites no specific examples. The most he would say is that “the people know what they hear” but he doesn’t say what they hear or observed.

I find the President citing historic facts about Mitt Romney regarding his time at Bain, his time as Governor where things he stood for didn’t work out so well for others. Mitt is running on his record as a CEO and former Governor, at least he used to. So bringing up those issues is as Dick Cheney would say, Fair Game.

The truth is not an attack. Citing specific actions and specific results is not an attack. Mitt Romney is accusing Obama of doing what Mitt’s campaign has already been doing and cannot bring any facts to support it. Mitt is lying and projecting. Later we will discuss Cognitive Dissonance.

Class Dismissed.

Just In: Mitt Romney Declares War on the Wind

Mitt “Don Quixote” Romney Attacks the Wind

In Ohio coal country today, perennial asbestos pants wearer Mitt Romney spoke with coal miners and told them how Vice President Joe Biden said that “coal was more dangerous than terrorists.” It would be a damning statement, if alas, it were true. Remember, we’re talking about Mitt Romney here.

In a 2007 interview on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher; Biden, then a 2008 presidential candidate, was asked which is more likely to contribute to Americans’ deaths – air pollution from coal, high-fructose corn syrup or a terrorist attack. Biden responded: “Air that has too much coal in it, corn syrup next, then a terrorist attack. But that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack is real. It is not an existential threat to bringing down the country, but it does have the capacity, still, to kill thousands of people. But hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives are shortened because of coal plants, coal-fired plants and because of corn syrup.”

Poor Mitt Romney, quotes when heard in context just won’t support his narrative. While continuing his fairy story to his audience he added that the Obama Administration has declared a War on Coal. He went on to cite declining usage of coal in the country, but left out the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency, following through on mandates that existed long before President Obama took office, have been devising court-mandated rules on air pollution at a time when low natural-gas prices are pushing out coal-generated electricity. He also neglected to point out his own little issue with a proposed coal power plant that was being considered in 2003 in Massachusetts, that he opposed, in which he declared that he would not “create jobs that kill people”. When asked for clarification, his spokespeople said that Governor Romney had concerns about the safety of that plant.

Mitt Romney has ridiculed the President’s push for Wind Energy. Of course, he would have to. A number of right-wing organizations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which also has financial links to the Koch’s, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy. I heard or read somewhere that the Koch’s are really big financially in both oil and coal. Go figure.

The think-tanks have placed a lot of effort into dealing with the threat of wind and solar. They came up with a memo:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2012/may/09/wind-power-memo

According to The Guardian: “Among its main recommendations, the proposal calls for a national PR campaign aimed at causing “subversion in message of industry so that it effectively because so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it.”

It suggests setting up “dummy businesses” to buy anti-wind billboards, and creating a “counter-intelligence branch” to track the wind energy industry. It also calls for spending $750,000 to create an organisation with paid staff and tax-exempt status dedicated to building public opposition to state and federal government policies encouraging the wind energy industry.”

Remember, Mitt Romney is now a good Conservative in order to get the backing of the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party (sponsored by the Koch Brothers) the Conservative think-tanks (sponsored by the Koch Brothers) and the Republican Party (sponsored by the Koch Brothers). Do any of you see a strange connection here?

So Mitt Romney, doing the bidding of his economic superiors, the Koch Brothers has declared War on the Wind. But he leaves things out yet again. Go figure. As President Obama pointed out today while in Iowa in response to the Mitt Romney Declaration:

“My opponent and I disagree when it comes to homegrown energy like wind,” …. “Wind power is creating new jobs all across Iowa. But Governor Romney says he wants to end the tax credit for wind energy producers.”

“America generates more than twice as much electricity from wind than when I took office. That’s right. The wind industry supports about 7,000 jobs right here in Iowa. Without these wind energy tax credits, those jobs are at risk, 37,000 jobs across the country would be at risk.”

“So my attitude is let’s stop giving taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that don’t need them, and let’s invest in clean energy that will put people back to work right here in Iowa,” he added. “That’s a choice in this election.””

As they say, the first casualty in War is the Truth. In Mitt Romney’s case, the casualty occurred long before he declared the war.

“Stars Earns Stripes” should be “Struck Out”

Those of you who have followed me on Twitter and on this blog may know my story. At age 18 I joined the Republican Party and though saw myself then, and in many respects today, as a conservative on traditional conservative values, the degrading of the party beginning 30 years ago and it’s accelerating degradation in the past 5 years have caused me awe. Though my deep core values have not really changed, the definitions have appeared to have changed. The Tea Party proudly calls me a RINO, (Republican In Name Only) as they do all “non crazy folks” not happy with the how the party has become essentially domestic terrorists, assaulting democracy in its purist form. Taking a once effective progressive and rational party and letting the children and deranged take over. My posts on twitter and this blog have been very derogatory towards those on the right and those in the Republican Party. One can make the correct assumption that I’m not so much a Moderate as a Lefty. However, I think it’s more changing definitions than core values. What was once Conservative is now Moderate, Moderate is now Liberal/Progressive, and nut jobs are now Conservatives, you get the idea.

I asked on Twitter today something new to rant about and Lynn @illiter8 gave me a great idea. A man who I admired has really blown it. On twitter, most of the people I’ve gotten angry with and blocked have of course, been Right Wing Nut Jobs. However, there have been a few Lefties who I have not seen eye to eye with. Though I tend to treat them with more respect, there have been some nasty exchanges and one or the other of us have blocked each other. No side is free of doing surprisingly stupid things that run counter to common sense or what you would expect of that person.

General Wesley Clark once ran for President on the Democratic side. At the time, though I was still in the Republican camp, I admired the man. What was not to admire? A Four Star General, led NATO, did an outstanding job in Kosovo. Intelligent, articulate, and as a soldier, knew the futility of war and had nothing but concern for the reputation of the Army and of course, the United States. So what has he done?

http://m.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2012/08/wesley-clark-todd-palin-nick-lachey-blow-things-america-stars-earn-stripes-nbc

NBC is launching a new reality show, just what this country needs, another show of people pretending to be real, doing and saying things they never would if cameras weren’t around. The name of the show is “Stars Earns Stripes” where C-List Celebrities essentially play war-games with real weaponry. The show is hosted by General Clark. How does that go? WTF!

You would think a General who commanded men in battle beginning in Vietnam and culminating in Kosovo would have more respect for what War really is and wouldn’t stand for treating the weapons of war like fire crackers on the Fourth of July. I am offended by the concept and the decision General Clark made by being part of this. Idiots who have no business being anywhere like Todd Palin will get to blow things up in the desert and play army like real children only using real weapons. Considering the timing too. With our soldiers still dying in Afghanistan, domestic terrorism with assault rifles at movie theatres, 9 mm semi-automatic guns at Temples, the shootings that are getting more and more common using weaponry designed for war, but being used against unarmed civilians. And this is a reality show?

No doubt the show will be successful. In our culture today, crap like that is successful. It attracts sponsors who pay to get advertising on the show, everyone gets rich while those who may not be properly medicated watch, masturbate and wonder if they can go get an assault rifle or bazooka and blow something up themselves. The show was going to happen. But Wesley Clark agreeing to Co-Host it? As Bill O’Reilly would say, he is a pin head. I think he is making light of the seriousness of the military, their missions and the weapons they use. This is not for children wanting to play war, this is for trained professionals who risk their lives for those of us who stay at home. Bad move General.

See, I can be snarky to those on the left too.

Is Paul Ryan and his plan, “Courageous and Bold”?

The day after the formal announcement,  the Sunday talk shows, trotting out the GOP’s talking heads, are on the same talking point, that the selection of Paul Ryan by Mitt Romney is “courageous”.

Interesting word. It’s used because that was the Frank Luntz talking point to discuss the Ryan Budget. It polls very well for the uniformed and/or very stupid, or cruel. And since Paul Ryan is synonymous with his Budget, the word for anything “Ryan” must be “Courageous”.

Time to examine the definition of some words at play here:

Courageous – possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with
danger or fear without flinching; “Familiarity with danger makes a brave man
braver but less daring”- Herman Melville; “a frank courageous heart…triumphed
over pain”- William Wordsworth; “set a courageous example by leading them safely
into and out of enemy-held territory”

Synonyms: Spartan, Trojan, Adventuresome, Adventurous, Assured, Audacious, Cool, Daredevil, Daring, Dauntless, Doughty, Fearless, Fiery, fire-eating, Gallant, Game, Gritty, Gutsy, Hardy, Heroic, high-spirited, Impavid, Indomitable, Intrepid, Lion-Hearted, Martial, Nervy, Plucky, Red-Blooded, Resolute, Stalwart, Stand Tall, stout-hearted, Strong, Tenacious, Tough, Unafraid, Undaunted, Valiant, Valorous, Venturesome, Venturous.

Antonyms: Cowardly, Faint-Hearted, Fearful, Fearing, Meek, Shy, Timid, Weak.

To boldly go where no man has gone before

Bold: adjective, bold·er, bold·est. 1. not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero. 2. not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent: He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor. 3. necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure. 4. beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative: Einstein was a bold mathematician. a difficult problem needing a bold answer. 5. striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy: a bold pattern.

Cruel: adjective, cru·el·er, cru·el·est. 1. willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others. 2. enjoying the pain or distress of others: the cruel spectators of the gladiatorial contests. 3.causing or marked by great pain or distress: a cruel remark; a cruel affliction. 4. rigid; stern; strict; unrelentingly severe.

Inhumane: adjective, cruel and heartless. Used to describe terrible things like your neighbor’s inhumane treatment of his hound dogs, which he leaves tied up in the yard in all kinds of weather.

Cowardly: adjective 1. lacking courage; contemptibly timid. 2. characteristic of or befitting a coward despicably mean, covert, or unprincipled: a cowardly attack on a weak, defenseless man.

Now that we have the basic terms involved here, let’s examine what is the crux of the Ryan Budget, who according to his own people, is at his heart. Keep in mind also that although he recently denied it, he is clearly on tape saying what a big believer he is in Ayn Rand’s principles that selfishness is a virtue and Christian charity is a farce (my summation, but prove me wrong)

The focus of the Ryan budget is to make the Bush Tax Cuts for the upper classes and corporations permanent, even though they currently account for nearly a third of our current deficit. He also wants to increase military spending. To do this the budget first of all:

Increases taxes on the middle-class and working poor by eliminating sections in the code that assist them in not paying what would cause them to fall into poverty. Home mortgages, education deductions, etc.

He slashes Pell Grants which keeps middle class and working poor from being able to afford higher education.

He eliminates Medicaid needed for disabled and poor who cannot afford healthcare.

He places Medicare on a voucher system that would increase the average elderly recipient out-of-pocket costs up to $3,000.00 per year (from people living on fix earnings) or in other words, takes a system where they currently pay 25% of their medical costs and increases it to over 80% while providing vouchers to those who are already so rich and cared for that they don’t need it.

He also will privatize Social Security, a system designed to not make people rich, but to keep them from lapsing into poverty. He plans on doing this by allowing Wall Street investors access to the $3,000,000,000.00 trust fund, take commissions and gamble with money that is currently safe from risky market fluctuations like the one that is responsible for the crash of 2008. 

Incidentally, he wants to remove regulations that are designed to keep bankers from gambling with your deposits that caused the current depression.

So what is he doing here? It is indeed bold and courageous because of his audacity to jeopardized the health and financial welfare of elderly, infirm, disabled, sick, powerless people to provide more money to people who already have more than they can spend in a life-time. People who if they never received another dime on income, would still live till their dying days and beyond in the lap of luxury, never wanting from anything.

It’s bold and courageous in its cruelty and inhumanity to others in need and are too weak to defend themselves. It is has bold and courageous as was rounding up people who couldn’t defend themselves, and murdering them even though the world may have taken a dim view of it.

Yes, it is bold and courageous in its cruelty and inhumanity. But you don’t have to be cruel and inhumane to be bold and courageous.

You can also be bold by telling your financial backers like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson that you will work to help the less fortunate while taking their campaign contributions.

You can be bold and courageous by telling racists, misogynist, bigots that you do not accept what they say in public and openly and critically ridicule them for their comments.

You can be bold and courageous by doing what right for the country despite the power base being hell-bent on doing only what’s right for them and not the people.

I’ll add that by not being bold and courageous in the ways mentioned above, you are in fact, weak and cowardly and not deserving of any support.

Responding to those who say “Romney’s paid more in taxes than you would in 5 lifetimes”

After my twitter tirade this morning on the Mitt Romney selection of Paul Ryan as Vice President I added a blurb asking Mitt Romney again about his tax returns. Kenny K @GoAvi8tor had to chime in with the above quote (he also made a derogatory reference to my dog and her picture on my twitter page). Well, this is a common talking point from those who apologize for the uber rich, that they already pay more taxes than the rest of us, so lay off them! I’ll try to keep this simple and succinct for those people should they have the courage to read and intelligence to comprehend this rant.

Surviving in the world today requires money. I know that’s a wild concept for many but it’s true. Basic living expenses, housing and food, breaks down to what is called the “Poverty Level”. The poverty level for a family of four in this country is $23,050.00.  Basic subsistence is about at that level, though many would argue it should be higher. Currently in our nation, 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty level. Those below that level get government assistance to merely survive. Despite talking points recently flaunted in campaign ads from the Romney Camp, only 4.2 million Americans get what is commonly known as Welfare. However, to get that welfare, they must actually be employed, and can only collect that money for a grand total of 5 years of their entire lives. After that, they don’t ever get a dime again. This has been in place since 1996 and hasn’t changed at all, nor has anyone in the administration proposed any changes.

So, we have people at or below the poverty line. They pay no Federal Income tax. None at all. However, they do pay FICA (if employed) and pay State, County, City and sales taxes. The taxes they pay come out of what little money they have in order to simply survive. You can say it comes out of their disposable income if they had any disposable income, which they don’t.

Now if you make above the poverty level, then in theory you have more disposable income, money above what is absolutely needed to survive in the country. The more you make, the more in Federal Taxes you should be paying, is called a “Progressive Tax Code”. This is an amount over the money absolutely needed to survive. The more money you make over this level, the better your standard of living and in theory, the more you are able to pay in taxes and not impact that standard of living. In short, you’re not taxed into poverty.

Now let’s take the example of Mitt Romney (for whom we still don’t know what tax rate he’s paid over the past 12 years and beyond). If we take him at his word, he is worth $250,000,000.00 and earned $21,600,000.00 in 2011. At the reported 13.9% income tax rate he paid, that means he paid approximately $3,002,400.00. At that rate, Kenny K is right, Romney paid more in taxes than I could earn in 5, possibly even more than 5 lifetimes. But here’s the thing of it. Take that $3,002,400.00 away from his earnings of $21,600.000.00 for 2011 and he’s left with $18,597,600.00 to apply to his standard of living. And he has a very high standard of living. The man and his family will never starve or end up living on the streets. How could he? You know how many homes you can own if you’re worth $250,000,000.00?

Now let’s apply that tax rate to someone who earns let’s say the average American Household income of $46,326.00. 13.9% of that is $6,469.31 leaving $39,856.69 to live on. Now keep in mind two things, the average federal tax rate for that income as head of household is actually 13.6% very close to what Romney declared. Very nice. But the remaining money goes to home, food, healthcare, State, County, City, Sale taxes, all eating into that $39,856.69 left for an average family of four. Anything higher would certainly impact their “Standard of Living”.

Those who advocate a flat tax rate appear to not understand that such a rate would severely impact those on the lower wage scale, so those people actually could be taxed into poverty. Our current progressive tax rate is designed to bring in the needed funds to run this government and not tax people into poverty. Since the 1% actually do control 40% of the nation’s wealth, wouldn’t be fairer they pay 40% of the taxes coming in. Oh wait a minute, they do. And guess what, they can pay more and still have no impact on their standard of living.

So, if we doubled Mitt’s tax rate to 27.8% of his 2011 income of $21,600.000.00 he would be paying $6,004,800.00 leaving him $15,595,200.00 to live off of for that year. Can you tell me that his standard of living would be compromised as a result? Would he be taxed into poverty?

Do the same to the average family we discussed earlier. Double their 13.6% tax rate to 27.2% and apply that to their $46,326.00. That would be $12,600.62 leaving them $33,725.38 for a family of four. And guess what, they are now getting closer to the poverty line in this nation for a family of four. They are slowly being taxed into the poverty level of $23,050.00 discussed earlier.

It’s not the amount of taxes you pay that determines fairness, it’s the amount you can pay and not have it impact you and your family’s standard of living. That is the math, that is the fairness. Why stick up for the uber rich who have been sticking up the 99% for their own self-interest?

What’s more important to you? Gun rights or voting Rights?

Last year, the National Republican Lawyers Association, an organization that says on its website “Advancing Open, Fair & Honest Elections” and has the GOP Elephant in their logo completed an exhaustive nationwide review of all voter fraud cases in the country in a ten-year period of time. Anything from misrepresenting yourself at the polls, lying on a registration form, placing the wrong address on a form, everything was counted.

At the end of this study, they found 400 total voter fraud cases during those ten years. Most states had three or fewer cases of fraud each year. Compared to the number of ballots cast, this would represent a percentile starting with 0. and followed by a lot of zeros. Now those on the right will rightfully say that no one has really been paying attention to and rooting out voter fraud until just recently. No argument from me except that even today, the numbers are infinitesimal. But let’s examine that explanation shall we.

Why hasn’t anyone examine voter fraud until just recently? Specifically, since 2008? Is it a case that fraud was never there? Is it a case that nobody cared? Is it a case that the alleged crime has no impact on society? Or could it be all of the above?

Regardless, it is of concern now to many on the right. In arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over that State’s voter ID case that is expected to suppress conservatively over 750,000 people from the polls in a state that Obama won with around 600,000 votes, those supporting the law acknowledged there were no cases of fraud at all, few were expected, and the law wouldn’t correct the problem if there was,

Those targeted really aren’t accused of being in the country illegally rather they are accused of leaning a certain direction in their votes that the right doesn’t like. It’s the same with all analysis of these ID laws and voter caging operations. All independent analysis show a disproportionate impact on Democrats or those likely to vote Democratic. And remember this action violates two very important principles in our constitutional Republic, the right to vote and the presumption of innocence when accused of a crime. The fact that people who have legally voted for decades who cannot provide the needed documentation in the right time or be able to pay for it should make any constitutional scholar ashamed of these laws.

But let’s go back to the original point the right brings up. There is fraud out there that nobody til recently really ever looked into until now. It’s the same thing with immigration laws. The American people never really were all that concerned or frighten about this fact of American life until the 1980’s after Ronald Reagan gave them amnesty. They were here illegally, but it was seen more as a nuisance than a legal problem affecting the fabric of the nation. Review the newspapers and magazines over time. Barely a word ever mentioned until the Clinton administration followed by the second Bush administration did it become a national problem and these people became a threat. About the time that laws were being created to house these people here illegally in private prisons at tax payer expense. That was the gist of SB1070.

So two problems that weren’t really problems until people were told/convinced they were problems. Now lets look as mass killings using guns.

Guess what, not a year has gone by in generations when people have been concerned about gun violence, whether it be mass shootings at Post Offices, Companies, Schools, etc or domestic violence cases, assassinations, its been ongoing. Yet after generations of these problems, today it is easier for anyone to purchase an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine than it is for people in those same states to register and vote, especially if they lean left for whatever reason. It’s an observable fact. The NRA has quashed a real concern that affects the fabric of this nation and has left people dead resulting in no true gun sale and ownership reform. Hell, Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer in his murder in Oklahoma City and sales have since been regulated and control, but after Columbine and other mass shootings involving assault rifles by people of apparent mental health and or criminal associations, nothing.

Time to get real here. At current projected rates of voter fraud that can be reasonably expected, if they came out and did it, it would have zero impact on any election whereas the draconian efforts to curb it would in fact throw an election the other way. There have been 400 cases in ten years. Let’s assume 40 fraudulent voters in each Congressional District were to occur. It would have no impact. And in a close race, there would be an automatic recount and the issue resolved.

Now if there were just one or two people of questionable mental health and/or criminal association out there in Arizona wanting to buy a few assault rifles and go on-line to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition, it is perfectly legal and they can go out anywhere and kill scores of people. Where’s the bigger threat and where should to true focus of legislation be to correct the problem?

Paul VonRyan’s Express: The Train to Nowhere

He is now listed as one of Mitt Romney leading contenders for the Vice President. Both hard-core conservatives and leading Democrats equally welcome the prospect of Paul Ryan joining the Romney Ticket. (I’m still holding out for a long shot bet that Mitt will drop out at the Tampa Convention for somebody with a better chance, but that’s another rant)

So who is Paul Ryan and what is it about his famous budget the Mitt Romney has already endorsed to bring in conservatives to back his nomination?

Ryan represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. He is a fifth generation Wisconsin native serving his 7th term in the Congress. Prior to that he was a paper boy or something and has essentially always been on the tax payor’s payroll, though he get’s huge contributions from people like the Koch Brothers, Big Pharma, Banks; you know, the everyday people of this country who ask for nothing in return.

Ryan proposed the GOP House Budget called “The Path to Prosperity”.  Essentially it’s designed to slash over 6 trillion dollars in spending, while at the same time giving more tax breaks to corporations and the 1% AND raising military spending. How does he accomplish this seemingly impossible task? Well let’s leave aside the fact that it is impossible. The Congressional Budget Office has already determined it would in fact add trillions to the national debt and would cut assistance to the elderly and disabled via social security, Medicare and Medicaid. His plans places a higher financial burden on anyone born after 1955. It imposes vouchers for healthcare.

You know how well vouchers work. For education, vouchers represent tax payer money being used to supplement education cost for the wealthy, so their children can go to expensive schools that no other kid’s family can afford, even with the vouchers. It does so by taking money away from public schools, leaving them to rot and die, causing nothing but misery for the people who’s only crime is not being rich enough to go to the private schools, that the tax payers now supplement rich families’ children to attend.

In healthcare it would work pretty much the same way. The elderly who are not so fortunate as to be in the 1% will give up tax subsidized funding of their healthcare in Medicare, to pay for vouchers that go to all the elderly regardless on income. There is some means testing, but essentially those who don’t need the financial assistance, will still get it at the cost of those who absolutely need all the assistance they can get. According to the CBO, a typical 65-year-old, who under the current system pays 25% of their healthcare costs via deductibles and copays would now pay 68% under the Ryan voucher system.

Medicare would be privatized. You all know what happens when social services become privatized.  To make the profit margin, services are cut and costs go up. Nice deal for the elderly. It’s the same plan as Ryan has for Social Security. He forgets that Social Security was never meant to be a retirement plan, it was an insurance policy to keep the elderly and disabled from falling into poverty. But Ryan sees the trillions in the social security trust fund that if privatized, would make him and his friends rich while the elderly and disabled fall into poverty.

In a nutshell, this conservative nut’s plan is designed to make the rich richer by screwing those who aren’t rich. People who already have more money than they can spend in a lifetime, must get even more, even if it means taking it away from human beings, disabled, elderly people resulting in them lapsing into poverty like they did before Medicare and Medicaid was created and before Social Security was enacted. Hey, it’s not easy being rich, unless you have more poor people in poverty.

Paul Ryan is an avid believer in Ayn Rand, though he denies it. He says he’s a devout Catholic even though the Conference of Bishops have denounced his budget as anti-Catholic and anti-Christian, which it is. Paul, like the other Tea Party/Ayn Rand types is in it for himself. He has no sense of community responsibility, or Christian fellowship. He follows the teachings of admitted atheist Ayn Rand who ridiculed Christianity but ended up on Social Security and Medicare herself in her decrepid old age. May the same happen to Paul. Or better yet, with perfect Karma, let him lapse into poverty.