Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree, a lot!

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both made a point to put some emphasis on some of the things that they agree on during the debate last week; and there are a lot more things that they agree on, although they would prefer not to discuss them. The following are some of the excerpts from the things they said they agree on, whether they back them up with their policies or not; for complete context see the complete transcripts. 

Barack Obama: When it comes to our tax code, Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high, so I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25 percent….
On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we've got to boost American energy production, and oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years….
Mitt Romney: But the president mentioned a couple of other ideas I'll just note. First, education. I agree: Education is key, particularly the future of our economy….
The second area, taxation, we agree, we ought to bring the tax rates down. And I do, both for corporations and for individuals….
LEHRER: All right. Can we -- can the two of you agree that the voters have a choice -- a clear choice between the two...
ROMNEY: Absolutely.
LEHRER: ... of you on Medicare?
ROMNEY: Absolutely.
OBAMA: Absolutely…..
Barack Obama: And I agree that the Democratic legislators in Massachusetts might have given some advice to Republicans in Congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan….
Mitt Romney: But let's come back to something the president and I agree on, which is the key task we have in health care is to get the cost down so it's more affordable for families….
I agree with Secretary Arne Duncan, he's -- some ideas he's put forward on Race to the Top, not all of them, but some of them I agree with and -- and congratulate him for pursuing that….
Barack Obama: And one of the things I suspect Governor Romney and I probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges so that they're setting up their training programs...
LEHRER: Do you -- do you agree, Governor?
OBAMA: Let me just finish the point….. complete transcripts

They both agree we have to cut the taxes on the rich; they agree that we need to increase energy production and neither one of them puts much emphasis on conservation if they mention it at all; they both agree with Secretary Arne Duncan when it comes to many ideas about education including the privatization of the education system and increased advertising to children.

The list goes on based on either their statements or their action; although in some cases they contradict each other and in many cases when they agree it isn’t in the best interest of the majority of the public; or they agree to tell the public what they think they want to hear; but they often indicate that their policies are different.

They agree that single Payer Health Care shouldn’t be discussed let alone implemented; they agree that we should continue with the surge, at least for now, even though it is clearly backfiring; neither one of them are seriously willing to acknowledge many of the inconvenient facts about their foreign policies. By going along with the Presidential Commission on Debates they have both indicated that they agree that the alternative parties that gain their support at the grass roots without massive campaign contributions should be shut out of the process if at all possible. This also clearly implies that they both agree that the majority of the public should have little or no influence on how the campaigns are run and that it is the campaigns that should have complete control over what issues are discussed; otherwise they would have filled out their questionnaires on Project Vote Smart or found some other way to make their positions clear without limiting their campaigns as much as possible to supporters or things that will advance their chances without educating the public about many of the issues that they choose to ignore.

They do, of course, disagree on some things and this includes many important issues but there are plety of alternative candidates that address these issues as well and even the issues that they disagree on are just used to manipulate the public to distract them from many other issues that they put off limits.

No sincere democracy would present only the candidates that have sold out to the majority of the public as “viable;” and let the corporate media have nearly complete control of the discussion. If there is a chance that this election is going to be democratic it will be based on how many people use alternative media outlets to get their information and refuse to allow the corporations to narrow down the choice to these two establishment candidates. Basically they both agree with the policies that have been dictated to them by the corporate interests that have been donating to their campaigns regardless of what the public wants on many issues including, according to Adam Davidson, the biggest secret of the election is that the candidates basically agree about the economy. He cites polls that indicate that the American people want social security to be protected; but a close look at the policies of both these candidates raises doubts about whether either one of them will do that, although the corporate media is trying to convince the majority of the public that they’re the only candidates they can choose from.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are likeminded on Palestinian issue, according to Chris Bambery; and they have many of the same positions on other issues related to foreign policy; and except for the rhetoric on protecting the environment. The difference on this is mainly that Barack Obama does a better job pretending to protect the environment than Mitt Romney while he has been reducing regulations even while they were in the process of cleaning up after the BP disaster. Noam Chomsky goes into these “Issues That Obama and Romney Avoid” further in the following article.

Issues That Obama and Romney Avoid
With the quadrennial presidential election extravaganza reaching its peak, it’s useful to ask how the political campaigns are dealing with the most crucial issues we face. The simple answer is: badly, or not at all. If so, some important questions arise: why, and what can we do about it?

There are two issues of overwhelming significance, because the fate of the species is at stake: environmental disaster, and nuclear war.

The former is regularly on the front pages. On Sept. 19, for example, Justin Gillis reported in The New York Times that the melting of Arctic sea ice had ended for the year, “but not before demolishing the previous record – and setting off new warnings about the rapid pace of change in the region.”

The melting is much faster than predicted by sophisticated computer models and the most recent U.N. report on global warming. New data indicate that summer ice might be gone by 2020, with severe consequences. Previous estimates had summer ice disappearing by 2050.

“But governments have not responded to the change with any greater urgency about limiting greenhouse emissions,” Gillis writes. “To the contrary, their main response has been to plan for exploitation of newly accessible minerals in the Arctic, including drilling for more oil” – that is, to accelerate the catastrophe.

This reaction demonstrates an extraordinary willingness to sacrifice the lives of our children and grandchildren for short-term gain. Or, perhaps, an equally remarkable willingness to shut our eyes so as not to see the impending peril.
That’s hardly all. …. complete article

Neither of these candidates has a lot of support amongst the majority of the public as far as I can tell; nor do they have solid support among their own bases, based on my best estimate of the coverage of the issues, polls, and what I hear from many of the people that debate it either in person or on line. the most statistically representative of these sources would be the polls if I thought they were well done but I don’t. They’ve been jumping all over the place and they did little if anything to explain how they conduct these polls and many of them are highly suspect. Recently a Pew Research Poll indicated that both Romney and Obama have 47 percent among women voters while Obama had a lead of eighteen points a month ago, 56 to 38 percent. This is just one of many polls that I find to be highly suspicious. The methods of these polls, as I said are rarely discussed but they do an enormous volume of them, so it is hard to imagine that they take the time to get a diverse segment of the population and they almost certainly don’t ask the right question. For one thing they don’t even include alternative candidates in most polls; and they almost certainly get many responses from people that give them quick answer without worrying about whether or not it is the way they would vote. I recall the only poll that was asked to participate in over the phone and I agreed until I heard the first question and realized that it was an incompetent poll and told the person that and she responded by saying these were the only options which I considered bad so that was the end of that poll for me. Many other people might have continued to provide answers to be polite and they would have screened out those that thought like me making the poll unrepresentative.

Mitt Romney’s campaign is such a disaster that it is hard to believe that anyone would vote for him yet the polls have consistently given him a fair amount of support even though, until recently he has been trailing behind. Either these people that support him are mindless zombies or there is something seriously wrong with the polls. Barack Obama does a little better job pretending to address the issues but even that doesn’t stand up after many people think things through, assuming people actually do think things through.

There are plenty of people on both sides of the political spectrum that have become so fed up with the candidates that have been presented to them and it appears as if this is almost certainly much more than the corporate media would lead most people to believe. The large amount of support for the Occupy Wall Street movement is just a part of the protest movement that ahs recognized that neither of the establishment candidates recognize the best interests of the majority of the public. This includes many African Americans that many people might expect to be supporters of Barack Obama. Tavis Smiley and Cornell West are among the few that have had some access to the corporate media but there are many more including Bruce Dixon who is a major contributor to the Black Agenda and wrote the following article; other contributors are also opposed to both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

Why This Black Man Is Watching the Debates, and Voting Green 
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon I'll be watching the debates. Not on CNN or ABC, but online at Occupy the Debates or at Democracy Now or Free Speech TV, where the third party candidates and others have a chance to answer questions and comment in real time.

I can't say I'm not mad at anybody. If being ripped off and lied to, and having murders committed in your name around the world don't make you mad, there's something wrong with you, and whatever is wrong with me, it's not that. I'll be watching tonight's presidential debates, but like most people, I already know what I'll do on November 6.

I won't vote Republican, because among other things, the GOP is the permanent party of white supremacy. Republicans are also the permanent party of Wall Street, the party of Big Agriculture, the party of Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Real Estate, Big Pharma, of more nukes Republicans are the party of privatizers, jailers, charter schools and military contractors. Republicans started the 40 years war on drugs, and of course they remain the party of Empire and Permanent War.

Republicans hate brown people and threaten to jail and deport as many as they possibly can.
Democrats on the other hand, are the permanent party of Wall Street. Democrats are the party of Big Agriculture, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Real Estate, Big Pharma and more nukes, more jails and continuing the 40 years war on drugs. Democrats are the party of more privatizations --- Corey Booker is trying to privatize the water in Newark New Jersey for instance.

Democrats are the party of military contractors and charter schools as well. When Obama Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ran the school system in Chicago he gave several high schools and even a middle school to the US military to run as their own charter schools. Obama's Race To The Top program bludgeons school districts around the country into closing public schools, firing teachers and replacing them with charters, and is lauded by Democrat big city mayors in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats often say they like brown people, and they get the lion's share of the Latino vote. But President Obama's words don't match his actions. Obama has deported more brown people in 3 years than the last three Republicans put together. On the good side, this Democratic president, and many other Democrats even support gay marriage and the right to access birth control and abortions. And although Democratic congressional leaders, when they controlled the House during and after Katrina, refused to hold hearings on the disaster because they were afraid of looking too pro-black, Democrats are emphatically NOT the party of white supremacy. In fact all the black elected officials elected with majorities of actual black votes are Democrats.

So there are differences. But down here on the ground where people actually live, those differences don't amount to much. Both are war parties, parties of the rich, parties that want to privatize roads, water, public schools (that's what charters are about --- privatization!) parties that will continue the war on drugs and policies that feed our American prison state. complete article

As I indicated in my previous Blog, Censorship partly prevented at debates: Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson and Democracy Now Present issues, there are other choices that the corporate media don’t want people to know about or they want the public to believe that they aren’t “viable.” This is the same scam they give us every four years. Cenk Uygur had Jill Stein on his show yesterday and she did a great job presenting her views on the issues. Prior to his interview with Jill Stein and on many of his previous shows he has complained about both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and how they have sold out to the corporations and that neither of the two are looking out for the best interest of the public. Unfortunately for some reason the way he introduced Jill Stein was to start and end by saying that she has absolutely no chance of winning which is a typical tactic for political pundits that want to suppress votes for third party candidates even while pretending to support their positions on the issues. It may be a tough challenge for Jill Stein but with people like Cenk Uygur presenting it like that it is clearly hypocritical and contradicts his criticism of the candidates that have both sold out. He could have easily presented it much better but there is a good chance that many people recognized this for what it is and that Cenk Uygur is like many other political pundits that are only pretending to support the public while spinning things so that in the ends the same candidates will gain office and do little or nothing to address many of the issues as they have in the past.

This continues to get worse every four years and there is no reason to believe that it will end any time soon unless people stop falling for the same old scam; and with the massive protest movement there is some indication that that might be happening. Even if Jill Stein can’t win, which I’m not conceding yet, the better she and other alternative party candidates do the clearer it will be to the establishment that we aren’t going to fall for the same scam any more.

Furthermore with all the environmental damage and economic disasters as well as wars going on it is clear that we can’t stand by and let them continue pursuing a course of action that is down right insane without leading to catastrophic consequences. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala are not giving up despite the bad treatment they receive from the pundits that sometimes pretend to provide them with some support; they’re going to be at the site of the next debates protesting and addressing issues with or without the help of the corporate media and it will still be possible to hear from them through alternative outlets and get some positions on issues that Mitt Romney both agree on or decline to acknowledge at all.

Occupy the CPD! Kentucky w/Cheri Honkala 

What: "Paul Ryan" Austerity Wagon protest with Cheri Honkala
Where: 317 W. Main Street, Danville, KY (6 blocks from Centre campus)
When: Thursday Oct. 11, 7 PM (action starts at 8 PM sharp) 

Join Green Party VP candidate Cheri Honkala to Occupy the Vice Presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky on Thursday, October 11! 

Occupy activists around Kentucky and Southern Ohio are organizing some really fun street theatre highlighting Paul Ryan's devastating budget plan that would redistribute wealth upward from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. We aren't counting on Joe Biden or the debate's pre-approved moderator and format, tightly regulated by both campaigns, to bring up that issue - or any of the other issues we really want to hear more about. 

We need as many people as possible to get our message out at the VP debate Thursday night. Please RSVP and our Fair Debates Organizer Carl Gibson will contact you about how to get involved! Occupy the CPD! Kentucky w/Cheri Honkala

Occupy the CPD! New York w/Jill Stein 
What: 99% March on the Debates w/Jill Stein
Where: Hempstead, NY
When: Tuesday Oct. 16, 4 PM

Join Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein to Occupy the CPD Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Tuesday, October 16!

There's no way the Commission on Presidential Debates would willingly allow Jill Stein on the same stage as Obama and Romney to speak about the issues they don't want to discuss... so on Tuesday, October 16th at 4 PM, Occupy Wall Street activists are teaming up with other groups on the ground, including Money Out/Voters In and United NY, for a 99% March on the Debates.

The march will start at 4 PM, and will be at the heart of Hempstead, NY, just 1.5 miles from Hofstra University. The march will be joined by the Big Bird Bloc, an army of activists dressed as America's favorite Sesame Street character, to protest the threat of cutting off aid for public media not beholden to corporate interests. Stay tuned for more details as the date gets closer.

We need as many people as possible to get our message out at the debate Tuesday night. Please RSVP and our Fair Debates Organizer Carl Gibson will contact you about how to get involved! Occupy the CPD! New York w/Jill Stein

Contrary to what the corporate media would have us believe we won’t be throwing away unless we vote for one of the candidates that they chose for us instead we would be throwing away our vote if we Vote for someone that has sold out and is clearly going to betray us once he gets in office.

The following are some other articles that are worth reading on the subject; including some that I have cited previously.

“No Style, All Substance?” by Nina Moliver
Closer Than You Think: Top 15 Things Romney and Obama Agree On
“Guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates” with list of things that they don’t address by Greg Orr
Tomgram: Mattea Kramer, A Recipe for American Decline That No One Will Be Debating

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