August 30th, 2012


Debt Creator: Mitt Romney Didnt Build That, But Sure As Hell Did Destroy It.

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn't stand for anything. He's a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who'll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn't be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He's closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he's somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Like John McCain four years before, Romney desperately needed a vice-presidential pick that would change the game. But where McCain bet on a combustive mix of clueless novelty and suburban sexual tension named Sarah Palin, Romney bet on an idea. He said as much when he unveiled his choice of Ryan, the author of a hair-raising budget-cutting plan best known for its willingness to slash the sacred cows of Medicare and Medicaid. "Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party," Romney told frenzied Republican supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, standing before the reliably jingoistic backdrop of a floating warship. "He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt."

Debt, debt, debt. If the Republican Party had a James Carville, this is what he would have said to win Mitt over, in whatever late-night war room session led to the Ryan pick: "It's the debt, stupid." This is the way to defeat Barack Obama: to recast the race as a jeremiad against debt, something just about everybody who's ever gotten a bill in the mail hates on a primal level.
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Get out of the pub: Rinehart tells whingers

Mining tycoon Gina Rinehart has slammed those jealous of Australia’s wealthiest, asking them to cut down on drinking and smoking and start working harder, The Australian has reported.

In a scathing attack on what she calls the country’s “class warfare”, Ms Rinehart inisists billionaires like herself are doing more for the country by creating jobs.

Ms Rinehart’s opinions were published in her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine.
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BOOTSTRAPS! and fuck off with wanting to lower the min wage.
Paddies Kinney Still

The Cancer “Breakthroughs” that Cost Too Much and Do Too Little

‘Death panels’ are a bad idea. But asking hard questions about health care is not.

In his more than 35 years of practice, Dr. Lowell Schnipper has seen a lot of women die from breast cancer. A patient’s options start to dwindle by the time tumor cells set up outposts in the bones, lungs, and other organs, defying all attempts to keep them under control. But in June, when the government approved Perjeta, Schnipper had something new to offer. The drug is one of an innovative class of drugs known as “targeted therapies.”

As the chief of oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Schnipper knew Perjeta was not a cure: added to a standard treatment with Herceptin—another targeted therapy that was hailed as a breakthrough in 1998—Perjeta gives the average woman only about six months more of calm before her disease starts to stir again. Given the limited benefit, the price was startling. For most women, a full course of the drug combination will cost $188,000—enough, he says, “to give anybody a cold sweat.”

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Do you think that the cost of a drug or treatment vs. its survival benefit should be a consideration when deciding whether to cover it under a single-payer health care system? Resource allocation is one of the trickiest ethical areas in medicine, IMO, and I don't have a clear answer for this. I want to say that the cost of a drug or treatment should NEVER be a factor, and that as a society we should just raise taxes or cut funding from other areas to compensate. But at the same time if drug prices keep rising the way they are, we will reach a point where that may no longer be possible.

I also think the government needs to step in and set-up non-profit nationalized pharmaceutical institutions to compete with Big Pharma. These government-owned pharma companies could attract the best and brightest minds in medicine by offering higher salaries and better benefits than private biotech/pharma companies (who treat their employees like shit, generally). Any drugs developed by these government-owned companies would be sold at a reasonable price, and revenues would be used strictly to cover R&D costs. There would be no profit margin needed to line the pockets of executives or shareholders.

Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words

1. Dazzling
At least a quarter of Americans still don’t know who Paul Ryan is, and only about half who know and have an opinion of him view him favorably.

So, Ryan’s primary job tonight was to introduce himself and make himself seem likeable, and he did that well. The personal parts of the speech were very personally delivered, especially the touching parts where Ryan talked about his father and mother and their roles in his life. And at the end of the speech, when Ryan cheered the crowd to its feet, he showed an energy and enthusiasm that’s what voters want in leaders and what Republicans have been desperately lacking in this campaign.

To anyone watching Ryan’s speech who hasn’t been paying much attention to the ins and outs and accusations of the campaign, I suspect Ryan came across as a smart, passionate and all-around nice guy — the sort of guy you can imagine having a friendly chat with while watching your kids play soccer together. And for a lot of voters, what matters isn’t what candidates have done or what they promise to do —it’s personality. On this measure, Mitt Romney has been catastrophically struggling and with his speech, Ryan humanized himself and presumably by extension, the top of the ticket.

2. Deceiving
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She actually cites everything she mentions, very good read.
daphne | peek a boo

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact

Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, outside the Supreme Court  in Washington, D.C., in March.

A federal court on Thursday struck down a Texas law that would have required voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting their ballots in November, ruling that the law would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” by charging those voters who lack proper documentation fees to obtain election ID cards.

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(no subject)

World’s Richest Woman Says People Are Poor Because They’re Lazy Drunks

According to the world’s richest woman, low-income people are only poor because they don’t work hard enough, and because the government has coddled them with a minimum wage that is too high. Australian Gina Rinehart, who inherited her $30 billion fortune, said, “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working”:

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she wrote in an industry magazine column. (In Capitalism, yeah, there is.)

If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.

“Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.”

Rinehart blamed what she described as “socialist”, anti-business policies for the plight of Australia’s poor, urging the government to lower the minimum wage, as well as taxes, unless it wanted to end up like Greece.

Australian Treasury minister Wayne Swan replied, “These sorts of comments are an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills.” Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Rinehart’s comments about the minimum wage “just plain wrong” and an “odd thing to say.” Australia’s minimum wage is $15.96 per hour. (Holy Fudge, I wish we had your minimum wage, Australia.)

Rinehart is not the only one of the the world’s richest people to weigh in on public policy recently. Last month, Carlos Slim, whose $65 billion fortune makes him the world’s richest person, said countries that are struggling economically should raise their respective retirement ages to 70. (Yeah, let's take advice from the guy who runs a monopoly.)