One thing I love about election seasons are the ads. Wait, did I really just say that? I actually hate the rhetoric both sides throw out in them, so why in the world would I come out and say I like the ads.

It’s simple: The hidden messaging.

Some of the ads this season have been pretty damned creative. Take one of Romney’s earlier ads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L6b9F9IiAZw

At the 0:18s mark, they insert a clip of Hillary Clinton saying “so shame on you, Barack Obama”. Not subliminal or hidden, but brilliant, in my opinion. Those who voted against Obama in ‘08 and have no intention of voting for him now (the Fox News/Drudge crowd) probably watched that and totally bought what it was trying to do. Did they go look up the clip that was sourced from to see what she was actually talking about and see if it was taken out of context (like most quotes are these days)? In all likelihood, no. The ad did it’s job. Seriously, kudos to whoever put it together.

On the flip side, I saw a newer ad from the Obama campaign that had a nice little subliminal image hidden in plain sight. If you watch the new ad from Obama for America, pay close attention to the background starting at the 0:17s mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1D1jI61ckY

Notice the Trump plane in the background?

Did you notice it before? Some will, some won’t, but make no mistake, it was well thought out by the campaign and completely intentional that they left it on screen for as long as they did. In the back of your mind, they want you to make a connection to the train wreck that is The Donald to try and sway you even further against Romney.

Damn fine work, if you ask me. It also reminds me that I need to be paying closer attention to ads from both sides. It’s always fun to try and spot the subliminal messaging. I suggest you do the same. Regardless of who you currently back, don’t let the ads sway you, as there is always a decent amount of spin in them. Do your homework, make your vote count.

The competitor from Romneyville! You’ve succeeded in pissing off the 2012 host country before the games even started, so take your spot at the top of the podium!

Okay, we get it, you’re the man. You were in charge of the SLC Olympics, and they were the best ever, solely because you were in charge. Again, you’re the freakin’ man.

It amazes me that this guy is going to get the GOP nomination. Even after all the repeated gaffes, they’re still going to make this guy their candidate. After the most recent screw-up, even Karl Rove is beside himself:

(From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/28/mitt-romney-olympics_n_1713616.html?utm_hp_ref=politics )

"You have to shake your head," GOP strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News.

Yea, that pretty much covers it. I’m personally left to laugh at the GOP. We saw a fairly amusing primary full of some pretty bad candidates, and this is who rose to the top. I’m still of the opinion that Huntsman was your best option, but your base decided early on that he was too moderate, and possibly tainted after his time working in the Obama administration. Yea, the guy who put country above politics wasn’t a good choice. Nice call, Conservatives.

Personally, I can’t wait for the debates. I hope Obama lights him up on this when foreign policy comes up. Mitt, you don’t even hold major office, and you’ve already managed to piss off one of our biggest allies. Way to go, pretty sure you’ve outdone Palin in this area. That’s quite a big accomplishment.

And for that, you win the gold.

To date, I’ve been fairly hesitant to mention what happened at Penn State or even talk about the penalties they were dealt this week. I honestly have no solid opinion on whether or not the penalties were too harsh. We’re talking about an unprecedented incident within a major program, and the NCAA was obviously entering new territory in deciding how to handle it. While I’ve also been able to brush off comments made by current and former trustees, this latest post by someone over there just pushes things over the edge:

http://westillare.com/2012/07/23/user-submission-we-are-and-always-will-be/

You guys just don’t get it, do you? You really don’t see why the NCAA felt they had to take the actions they did. In your minds you’re just victims in this whole thing. Let’s break this down:

“You hate us, and base your opinion on every one of us off of 5 people.”

Some people may feel that way, but not all of us. By lumping everyone outside of PSU in that group, you’re doing exactly what you’re bitching about.

"You called for the statue, it was removed."

Yea, some did. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it, and in a way was sad to see it go, but it had to, if for nothing else than to show that you understood what it symbolized to the actual victims.

"You called for the death penalty, but instead received murder."

<sigh> Here’s the crux of the problem: You have no concept of why the NCAA handed down the penalty it did. Do you really think it would have been okay for any school to walk away from this? You’re suddenly turning yourself into the victims here, and it’s going to undo any good will you’ve built up with the actions you mention later in your rant.

"You have spent 8 months dragging our name through the mud, so desperately needing blood to be spilled and our entire university to be burned at the stake. You could care less about responsibility and punishing those who deserve it."

So regardless of what Freeh’s report said (which PSU commissioned), you think that all the NCAA should have done was punish those 5? The obvious lack of institutional control over the program should go unpunished because the 5 in question are gone? Sorry, regardless of what school it is, that simply doesn’t fly.

"You reiterate every single time that this is about the victims, about those who were truly at loss during these heinous crimes, yet what have you done to actually help them?"

In this one sentence, you’ve undone everything you had previously done to support the victims. All of it. This post is nothing but you showing yourselves to be the victims in all of this (I know, I keep repeating that), and it’s obviously driven by the same level of blind loyalty to PSU football that got the program in this mess to begin with.

I’d paste paragraph two in here, but it’d be a waste of space. You know what you wrote. The whole paragraph was a way to show that it’s all about you, the Penn State faithful. To show what you did, and how you made it all better. I’m sure the actual victims appreciate that.

Paragraph three is basically more of the same. It boils down to: “We did our part, so we should be off the hook. I bet no one else does anything. WE RULE!”. I will address this:

"Or will you readjust your grip on your pitchforks, and head to the next town that so desperately does not need an angry mob…”

You’re right, there are those who just needed to bring out the pitchforks. Those who were rooting for your program to die, regardless of what actually took place. It’s a reality of human nature. Deal with it and move on.

Look, it sucks for the players, both past and present, who had nothing to do with this but are feeling punishment anyway. It sucks that you lost all those victories, but it had to happen. Considering that your beloved coach had everything to do with this, and could have stopped it years ago, removing his wins over the time period in question was the only fitting punishment since he’s no longer with us.

It also sucks that the players can’t compete in the post-season for the next 4 years, but again, the NCAA had to show that the lack of institutional control displayed during that timeframe will not be tolerated. To soften the blow on the current players, the NCAA is waiving the transfer rules, so they obviously see the impact of these penalties on students who had nothing to do with it.

I get it, you’re mad at the way the NCAA handled it because you’re loyal to your school. Many Penn State fans are, simply because the institution they love (the football program) has been severely damaged. Unfortunately, you’ve chosen to direct that anger at the wrong entity. Direct it at the school for not having proper oversight in place. Direct it at those who knew what was going on and did nothing in order to protect the program. To direct it elsewhere, as you did in this rant, is to undo any good will you’ve fostered through this whole thing.

After the jobs report came out today, we got to see the predictable stream of news from both sides. From the right, it was railing on Obama about his failure to create jobs. From the left, it was bashing the GOP for stalling every attempt the administration has made to advance jobs bills.

I could sit here and re-hash the same arguments you’re seeing all over the news today, but instead, I’m going to take a different path. While reading comments on one of the articles about the jobs report, I noticed people bashing our corporate tax rate, claiming it’s the highest in the world, and Obama’s done nothing to help corporations create new jobs. That first part piqued my interest. Highest corporate tax rate in the world? Haven’t people been bitching about how companies like GE effectively pay nothing in corporate tax? If we’ve got such a high rate, how can that be possible?

I honestly had no idea what our rates were in comparison to other countries, so I did some searching. In one of the first links I hit, I find one of the possible sources for this misguided crap people are spewing. Isn’t the source a shocker?

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/30/no-joke-obama-corporate-tax-rates-are-worst-in-world/

That pretty much reads as: OH NOES!!!1!! WE’D BETTER LOWER CORPORATE TAXES OR ALL COMPANIES WILL LEAVE THE COUNTRY!!11!!!!

So wait, the corporate tax rate in the U.S., which you admit hasn’t changed since 1993, is all on Obama? I didn’t see Bush jumping to lower it when the market tanked in 2001. I didn’t see it stifling growth during the dotcom and housing booms. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad as Fox would like us to believe. I did some more reading, and came across this:

http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/27/pf/taxes/corporate-taxes/index.htm

At first glance, that chart at the top seems to back up what Fox said. Now if you take the time to read the whole article, you’ll see Fox left out a few very important details. These details show that overall, businesses actually pay less in taxes here than they would in most of the other developed nations. Linked in the article above is this gem, which goes in to more detail:

http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/23/news/international/corporate_taxes/index.htm?iid=EL

So it would appear, at least on the surface, that corporations have it pretty good here. Look, I get it, companies are out there to increase profits for their shareholders. I fully expect them to try and decrease their tax burden by helping media companies like Fox trick people in to believing that they’re being taxed to death. The part that irritates me to no end is that people see one article or news report and simply buy in to whatever they’re told without checking other sources.

Seriously America, wake up and do your homework. I’d think by now people would realize that some of the “news” outlets are playing them, and go out and research things on their own. Me, I’ve seen 4 other articles from other sources that back up the CNN articles linked above with actual facts (unlike the Fox article). Is that enough for me? No, I’m off to do some more research on the subject. I want to see just how bad these citizens corporations have it in America.

As we approach another Independence Day, I find myself wondering how our founding fathers would feel about the current state of the democracy they created so long ago. Personally, I feel they’d be angry with the way our politicians conduct themselves these days. I think most people would agree with that, but knowing how disconnected Washington is from reality, I’ll point out a few key reasons why:

1.      Darrell Issa: Look, I get it, he’s chairman of the House Oversight Committee. One of their key jobs is to probe misconduct in the government. I follow this guy on twitter, and it’s obvious he only intends to go after Obama and the Democratic members of Congress. Is this anything new? No, not really, I’m just sick of it. The guy is just another partisan hack who’s playing party games while Rome burns around him. He’s also happy to use the memory of a deceased Border Patrol agent to further his anti-Obama agenda with the way he tweets about Brian Terry. Does anyone actually think he cares one iota about that man or his family? If he did, where was that same “concern” when Bush used Executive privilege to block the Pat Tillman investigation? Oh yea, that was a Republican President, so it was okay. You’re a real stand-up guy Darrell, shame your constituents haven’t felt the need to boot you yet. Hopefully your day will come.

2.      Nancy Pelosi: I haven’t been a fan since her first day as House Majority Leader. I’m not sure what it is, she just rubs me the wrong way. It could have been the insider trading accusations on her Visa trades, her public stance on waterboarding not matching her actions, or any of the numerous other controversies. I really don’t understand how this woman is part of the Democratic leadership.

3.      John Boehner: Do I really need to cite anything here? Captain suntan couldn’t be more fake if he tried. Here’s another guy who’s been trading on inside information, for starters. Combine that with his tight ties to lobbyists and we have a career politician who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but lining his pockets and getting re-elected. Yet another person in leadership who’s been bought and paid for. What’s funny about this guy is that he seems to be the worst House Majority Leader in history. Thanks to the Tea Party influence, he seems to be incapable of getting his party in lock-step when needed. As a result, he’s constantly flip-flopping between traditional GOP stances and Tea Party stances. He also spends an absurd amount of time bashing everything the Obama administration is trying to do. Obstructionism isn’t an acceptable political practice at this point. The fact guys like him are willing to let this country go down the crapper while they object to every single thing the other party does, just to try and gain control of the White House, shows how little he and the rest of his ilk care about us. It’s all a game to him.

That’s my initial list. I could go on about other key politicians (Harry Reid, for example), but I’ve gone on long enough in this post. Congress needs to put the partisan crap aside and work together to strengthen this country. Unfortunately, they all seem to live in this little bubble that precludes any rational behavior. Our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they could see the state of politics in this nation.

Finally, happy 4th of July from everyone here at PolitiFail.

It’s been an interesting day here in the good old U.S of A.. On one side, the Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona’s immigration law. On the other, they also told Montana that they have no right to block Citizen’s United.

With Arizona, the state gets to keep one provision of the law, the one requiring law enforcement officers to check a person’s immigration status when stopped or otherwise detained. While the remaining provisions were axed, Conservatives everywhere are lauding the decision to keep the main provision as a victory for states’ rights.

I went looking to see if that included Romney, and sure enough, Mitt’s all over it. He even said he thinks states should have been given more latitude:

"I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states not less."

What I haven’t seen, anywhere, is his response to the Montana decision. What this decision basically says is that corporations have more rights than states. The vote fell on party lines, with the 5 conservative justices voting to override Montana’s law preventing corporate money in elections. Shameful.

I personally feel this opened a huge door for the Obama campaign. If Mitt’s going to keep silent on the Montana decision while lauding the Arizona decision as a victory for states’ rights, he’s obviously showing that tried-and-true conservative hypocrisy. He’s basically saying: “I’m for states’ rights unless it works against me.”

I’d like to ask my readers a favor: If they allow any debate questions from viewers (via Twitter, YouTube, etc), post one asking Mitt how he feels about this decision, and why Montana shouldn’t be able to enforce its own law (which has existed for decades). Ask him why the rights of one state matter and the rights of another don’t. I have no doubt his answer will somehow be to blame Obama.

Political hypocrisy at its finest if you ask me…

One thing that really gets under my skin during election cycles is the amount of money spent on the campaigns. It’s absurd to me that people will donate the kinds of money to a campaign that we’re seeing this time around. Recent examples:

  • Bill Maher donating $1m to a pro-Obama Super-PAC
  • Sheldon Adelson donating $10m to a pro-Romney Super-PAC

These are just two public examples. Millions more have been donated to the various Super-PACs during this election cycle. I find this absurd because there are so many places that money could be better spent. Take Adelson: He’s allegedly prepared to donate a “limitless” amount of money to Romney’s efforts to ensure the GOP takes the White House. Think of the good that could be done with that money if he chose to give it to some charity. I know, it’s his money, but I just find uses like this absurd.

What cracks me up about Adelson’s donation is his stance on whether or not the ultra rich should be able to donate whatever they want. He’s been quoted as saying that he’s “against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections”. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades.”

So wait, you’re against it, but you’ll do it anyway since someone else does it? In other words, you’re not really against it, you just want the GOP puppets to believe you are so no one can use it against you (or the nominee). If you were really against it, you wouldn’t do it. You’d find ways to fight against it and reverse the laws that allow it. Instead, you pretend to be against it and use it to your advantage. He claims to be doing it to counteract George Soros, but guess what? The right already has the Koch brothers to offset Soros.

What’s even better is that Adelson backed Newt in the primaries, funding ads specifically targeting what he felt was bad about Romney. So one minute, Romney’s a bad guy who shouldn’t be the nominee, the next minute you’re prepared to spend limitless amounts of money to help him get elected. The amount of hypocrisy coming from this guy is staggering.

I’ve read why Adelson is doing this, he feels Obama is running a “Socialist-style economy”. How, exactly? You can repeat the transfer of wealth crap all you want, but you know down deep that it’s bogus. Nothing our current President is doing on the economy is any different than anyone before him. He inherited a mess, and is trying to clean it up. It’s a shame the GOP doesn’t want it cleaned up until they come in to office, otherwise we might have made more progress over the last 3.5 years.

Sheldon, here’s a challenge: Give me specific examples of one of Obama’s economic policies that you see as Socialist, and why you feel that way. I want precise detail, not half-quotes you strung together from some press conference. Oh, and don’t bring up Obamacare. It’s probably all you’ve got though, correct? Just remember, the vast majority of stuff in there was proposed by someone in the GOP at one time or another. It’s only bad to folks on the right because it came from the left, and you know it…

We’re in full swing with election season now, with both candidates stopping in Ohio today to deliver speeches on the economy. Most of what you hear from both of them is likely to be a bunch of crap, spun the way their strategists dictate.

Personally, I’m sick of hearing about it. Neither side has presented an idea worthy of implementing on their own. Combine pieces of the two, and you might get a plan worth considering. Let’s take a look:

First, the GOP is pushing a plan that basically cuts spending and taxes in hope of spurring private sector growth. Sorry, that on its own is doomed to push us further down. Much of the government spending cuts called for in Ryan’s (half-assed) plan would result in hundreds of thousands more out of jobs. So basically, you want to get Romney in office and then take the unemployment rate higher, in hopes that the private sector will kick in and start hiring? Keep dreaming.

The Democrat’s jobs plans at least put people to work, but for how long? Most of what I’ve seen so far revolves around construction work on our infrastructure. There are some merits there, like possible unemployment drops for a couple of years. Additionally, improved infrastructure could spur private sector growth by allowing companies to be more flexible in the location of their business. If they can move to a location with cheaper property (i.e. overhead) costs, maybe they’d reinvest those funds into something that would lead to more hiring. Still, I’m not fully convinced it’s anything more than a short term Band-Aid.

Honestly, if we want to move out of this recession slower economic time, maybe we need to look at Germany. Like most of the major countries in the EU, they’ve been cutting their deficit and are still doing pretty well. The rest of the EU has been suffering under the weight of their spending cuts, which is what I expect to see here if we go all in with Paul Ryan’s plan.

So why is Germany succeeding where others fail? Because they have strong manufacturing thanks to a solid engineering base, combined with world-wide demand for their products. Education is taken seriously, not used as a political tool like it is here (while it crumbles around us).

For us to be as strong economically, we need to take a closer look at the way they operate. Unfortunately, implementing some of those changes is going to negate these large cuts Ryan’s plan calls for, at least for now. It’s also going to require that we reallocate money from some programs like defense to other area, like education. We need to find a way to increase our manufacturing prowess to help increase our exports. Make our products desirable to other countries again. Stop depending so heavily on imports. Only then will the country be strong enough economically to begin to enact the deficit reduction that’s needed. Just doing so without some sort of support in place is asking to plunge us back in to a deep recession or depression.

I know, it’s easier said than done, right?

After a nice little vacation in NYC, I’m back at home catching up on missed shows. During Real Time, one of the guys on the panel, Michael Brendan Dougherty, is claiming that an unnamed Republican Senator admitted to him that Mitch McConnell has told his fellow Senators that they’re going to “do nothing” from now until the election, because any action would be too risky.

Take a second and let that sink in. Anyone with a brain knows that the Republicans have done everything they can to block anything the Democrats put forward, but to hear confirmation that someone in a position of leadership in the GOP giving the order to continue screwing Americans makes me insane. The idea that a leader of this country is intentionally throwing the game in an effort to make an opponent look bad is treasonous in my opinion.

Mitch, you’re the worst kind of scumbag. You’re willing to let this country fall apart so you can win your little game. Shame on you. To those who keep voting this man (or anyone in the GOP) back in power, I’m left to shake my head wondering why you keep voting against your own interests.

As reported by many media outlets last week, North Carolina is moving to allow fracking. It was inevitable, if you ask me. We have all the right ingredients:

1. GOP-controlled state legislature.

2. Plenty of open land supposedly ripe with natural gas deposits.

3. Clean water just waiting to be contaminated.

4. Voters living in those rural areas who continually vote against their own interests.

Yea, that last one was a shot at GOP voters in my state, but I’m allowed to do that, this is my Tumblr. That said, I’d like to address a couple of points that the media in my state hasn’t:

First, the legislation, as introduced, would block town and county governments from interfering with or prohibiting fracking. Wait, what? Isn’t this the party that believes the federal government should stay out of the way of the states? So it’s not okay for federal laws to override things at the state level, but you’re suddenly okay with this? Seems a bit hypocritical, in my opinion, but when we look at point #2, we see why they suddenly think this type of thing is okay.

Second, as reported by the North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections, we see how #1 was made possible:

http://www.ncvce.org/sites/ncvce.org/files/NCVCE%20Fracking%20Report%202012%20wo%20press%20release_0.pdf

Short version, fracking interests have contributed almost $750,000 across 100 candidates over the past couple of years. Another fine example of what we, the populous, are up against.

Once fracking begins in NC, it’ll be interesting to see if voting patterns in those areas change if we start to see the water and air quality issues other states have. Me, I expect the majority of people who are impacted will continue to vote against their interests. It’s hard to shake the beliefs installed in us by our parents.