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Ryan Grim

Posted: 08/30/2012 12:29 am Updated: 08/30/2012 11:52 am

TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan pledged Wednesday that if he and his running mate Mitt Romney were elected president, they would usher in an ethic of responsibility. The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential candidate repeatedly chided President Barack Obama for blaming the jobs and housing crises on his predecessor, saying that his habit of “forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago -– isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?”

Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. “That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight,” Ryan said.

Except Obama didn’t promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 — while George W. Bush was president.

It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan’s much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign’s demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Ryan, for his part, slammed the president for not supporting a deficit commission report without mentioning that he himself had voted against it, helping to kill it.

He also made a cornerstone of his argument the claim that Obama “funneled” $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. But he didn’t mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings.

Ryan also put responsibility for Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. government debt at Obama’s doorstep. But he didn’t mention that S&P itself, in explaining its downgrade, referred to the debt ceiling standoff. That process of raising the debt ceiling was only politicized in the last Congress, driven by House Republicans, led in the charge by Paul Ryan.

The credit rater also said it worried that Republicans would never agree to tax increases. “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” S&P wrote.

Jodie Layton, a convention goer from Utah watching the Ryan speech, said she was blown away by the vice presidential candidate. But she said she was surprised to hear that after his speech about taking responsibility, he’d pinned a Bush-era plant closing on Obama.

“It closed in December 2008?” she asked, making sure she heard a HuffPost reporter’s question right. After a long pause, she said, “It’s happening a lot on both sides. It’s to be expected.”

Ryan has referenced the GM plant before, and his attack was debunked by the Detroit News, which called it inaccurate. “In fact, Obama made no such promise and the plant halted production in December 2008, when President George W. Bush was in office,” Detroit News reporter David Sherpardson wrote earlier this month. “Obama did speak at the plant in February 2008, and suggested that a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises as Ryan suggested.”

After the speech, CNN’s political commentators focused mostly on Ryan’s misstatements, demonstrating the degree to which they were evident.

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The Washington Post

By Jonathan Bernstein

Posted at 11:56 PM ET, 08/29/2012

It was, by any reasonable standards, a staggering, staggering lie. Here’s Paul Ryan about Barack Obama:

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

“They.” “Them.” “Them.” Those words are lies. Because Paul Ryan was on that commission. “Came back with an urgent report.” That is a lie. The commission never made any recommendations for Barack Obama to support or oppose. Why not? Because the commission voted down its own recommendations. Why? Because Paul Ryan, a member of the commission, voted it down and successfully convinced the other House Republicans on the commission to vote it down.

That wasn’t the only bit of mendacity – lazy mendacity, incredibly lazy mendacity – in Ryan’s speech. Twitter lit up as soon as he started telling the story of the Janesville auto plant that Barack Obama didn’t save – a plant that, it turns out, closed before Obama was president. And of course there’s the infamous cuts to Medicare that Ryan lambasted Obama for without happening to mention that those very same cuts were in Paul Ryan’s own budget. Yes: absolutely everything in Obamacare is an abomination, says Paul Ryan, except for (as he forgets to mention) the cuts to Medicare that he supports – and yet he still singles that part out to use as an attack.

It isn’t even true in some symbolic or abstract way. The real truth is that Paul Ryan completely rejects the approach of that commission – because it includes tax increases along with spending cuts – while Barack Obama has, while not endorsing the exact plan that Ryan shot down, basically endorsed the commission’s approach. Nor was this a side point; Ryan’s complaint about Obama on the deficit was absolutely central to his case against the president.

And then there’s the logic of the whole thing. As Seth Masket said, it all comes down to arguing “we must cut entitlements! Obama cutting entitlements is un-American.”  There’s also, as many were pointing out, the plain fact that until January 2009 Paul Ryan faithfully supported all the tax cuts and spending increases which created the deficit problem he’s been so concerned about since January 2009.

But really, the proper response to a speech like this isn’t to carefully analyze the logic, or to find instances of hypocracy; it’s to call the speaker out for telling flat-out lies to the American people. Paul Ryan has had what I’ve long thought was an undeserved good reputation among many in the press and in Washington. It shouldn’t survive tonight’s speech.

Follow Jonathan Bernstein on Twitter and at his blog.

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Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson. AFP PHOTO / AARON TAM

Reuters | Posted: 08/04/2012  1:25 pm Updated: 08/04/2012  2:55 pm

CHICAGO, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Las Vegas Sands Corp,  controlled by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is  the target of a federal investigation into possible violations  of U.S. money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported  on Saturday.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office is looking into the  casino company’s handling of the receipt of millions of dollars  from a Mexican businessman, later indicted in the United States  for drug trafficking, and a former California businessman, later  convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal said, citing  lawyers and others involved in the matter.

The transactions date from the mid-2000s.

The Journal said there are no indications that actions by  Adelson, who is the company’s chief executive officer and  largest shareholder, are being investigated.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney could not be reached for  comment by Reuters on Saturday. A Sands spokesman was not  immediately available to comment to Reuters, but spokesman Ron  Reese told the Journal, “The company believes it has acted  properly and has not committed any wrongdoing.”

Reese said the company was cooperating with federal  investigators.

The timing of the investigation could open the Justice  Department to criticism that it is politically motivated, the  Journal said. Adelson is a major donor to the super PAC  supporting presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney  against President Barack Obama and plans to spend $100 million  on Republican candidates in November’s elections.

Adelson, who owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore,  began this campaign season as a major donor to Newt Gingrich  before Gingrich dropped out of the Republican presidential race.  He has since switched his support to Romney and last month was  in Jerusalem with the candidate when Romney met Israeli Prime  Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who Adelson also strongly supports.

The Journal said the Las Vegas money-laundering  investigation focused on two “whales” – as big-money gamblers  are known – and whether Sands officials ignored warning signs  and did not alert federal authorities about millions of dollars  the gamblers had deposited.

The Journal identified one of the “whales” as Zhenli Ye Gon,  a Chinese-born Mexican national who was indicted in 2007 in the  United States on charges of dealing in materials used to make  methamphetamine.

The drug case was dismissed in 2009 but Ye Gon is still in  U.S. custody awaiting extradition to Mexico, where authorities  want to try him on drug trafficking and money laundering  charges, the Journal said, citing court records.

The Journal said Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, a former executive  with the Fry’s Electronics retail chain, also was under  scrutiny. Court filings in another case showed Siddiqui sent  more than $100 million to the Sands. Siddiqui was charged with  taking kickbacks from Fry’s vendors, pleaded guilty and is now  in prison.

U.S. authorities also are investigating the Sands to see if  there were breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),  which prohibits bribes to foreign officials by U.S. companies,  in its Macau operation.

HERE

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The Daily Beast
Andrew Sullivan
12 May 2012 01:03 PM
[Re-posted from last night.]

Below is a remarkable document. It’s a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It’s on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster’s conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.

Read the bluntness of this. This is the GOP establishment talking to itself. And the Republican pollster who arguably knows more about the politics of the gay issue than anyone else (how else to explain the Ohio campaign of 2004?) is advising them in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they’re not going to damage their brand for an entire generation:

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The Washington Post

By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Friday, April 27, 8:46 AM

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.

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Huffington Post

Posted: 04/18/2012 4:05 pm

By- Laura Bassett

Lilly Ledbetter, the woman who famously sued her employer after discovering she was being paid less than her male colleagues and who inspired the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed upon entering office, fired back against likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney after he declined to say whether he would have signed the bill into law.

“It took me more than 20 years to get an answer for the injustices that I suffered as an unfairly paid worker, so I know what it’s like to wait for justice. I know what it’s like to fight for justice. But Mitt Romney told me and millions of other women that he couldn’t commit to fighting with us or for us,” Ledbetter told reporters Wednesday.

On National Equal Pay Day Tuesday, one day after Romney dodged a question about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party called the law a “handout to trial lawyers” that allows women to “sue their employers unnecessarily.”

“Romney and the New Hampshire Republican Party should also consider this isn’t just about women,” Ledbetter responded. “It’s all about families and their economic security. I know Obama believes in those values.”

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Time Swampland

By Michael Crowley | @CrowleyTIME | March 27, 2012

For months now, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has overwhelmingly focused on the economy.  But as he geared up his candidacy a couple of years ago, Romney opened with an argument heavy on foreign policy. In March 2010, for instance, he published No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, a campaign stage-setter largely based on the idea that Barack Obama was allowing America to slip into decline while bowing and caving to global rivals like China, Russia and Iran. It wasn’t until the recovery sputtered and Obama scored a string of foreign policy successes that Romney adopted a monomaniacal focus on the jobs picture.

But some Republicans remain convinced that they can score points against Obama on foreign policy. And now, in the wake of Obama’s open-mic comment to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he can show “more flexibility” on missile defense and other issues after the November election, Romney seems to be reviving his earlier line of attack. Romney pounced on the comment Monday, calling it “an alarming and troubling development” that suggests Obama is “not telling us what he’s intending to do” on various key foreign policy matters. Later in the day he delivered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Russia as “without question our number one geopolitical foe,” a perhaps defensible position when you consider questions like U.N. Security Council vetoes, but still a tough one to square with his past remarks about Iran. (For example: “Right now, the greatest danger that America faces and the world faces is a nuclear Iran.”)

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/03/27/romneys-well-rehearsed-case-against-obama-and-the-russians/#ixzz1qMQxp4UM

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