Top Ten Coming Disasters: Romney’s America 2016

What will the United States look like in 2016 if Mitt Romney wins? While predicting the future is of course impossible, actually my experience is that if you play out known possible scenarios in your mind, you can often get a fair idea of the likely course of events.

1. Austerity does not work– it produces massive unemployment and deficits. The tight money policies tried in Europe, predictably, have produced spiraling unemployment and ballooning deficits with a continued mortgage crisis in Spain. US corporations are sitting on trillions that they are refusing to invest in the US economy, and only government can continue to get money into the economy. If Romney follows through on his pledge of austerity policies, US unemployment will likely increase and we will replicate many of the Rajoy government’s mistakes in Spain.

2. Romney will abolish the Affordable Healthcare Act or “Obamacare,” throwing tens of millions of Americans back out of health insurance programs and leaving them, as he suggests, to the mercies of emergency room treatment. Emergency room treatment is much more expensive for taxpayers than would be the ACA, and having 30 or 40 million people dependent on it is highly undesirable. It cannot provide, e.g., pregnant women with prenatal care, which in turn is correlated with better health for mother and child. And, there simply are not enough ER doctors and nurses to care for that many people. With ACA, we have a chance to forestall the current 26,000 deaths a year resulting from people lacking health insurance. If ACA is repealed, they’ll still die, and over the four years of a Romney administration there will be 104,000 extra needless deaths among the uninsured.

3. Romney-Ryan want to further lower taxes on the rich. As it is, income inequality has been growing enormously in the United States. the top 1% have captured 93% of the country’s increased income during the recovery from the Depression of 2008-2009. Romney’s policies will accelerate the gap between the rich and the poor. With Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings allowing the wealthy and corporations to buy elections, the growing concentration of wealth and power is deeply undermining American democracy. Even now, 400 billionaires have almost as much wealth as the bottom half of the country. That inequality will get worse under a President Romney.

4. Romney-Ryan are determined to outlaw abortion. Ryan does not even make any exceptions for it. Romney does, but he still wants to deprive women of choice and of the right to control their bodies. There is no scientific argument for the personhood of a cytoblast, and Bishop Willard Romney simply wants to impose religious doctrines on all women in contravention of the First Amendment of the US constitution. Romney will likely have the opportunity to appoint one or two Supreme Court justices, and will attempt to ensure that they are anti-choice.

5. Romney likes to rattle sabers. He says he wants a more forceful intervention in Syria, and seems willing to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities near Isfahan (likely killing 100,000 people). If you hated the Iraq War, you are going to really, really despise the Iran War.

6. Romney supports Republican/ Koch Brothers attempts at voter suppression. By requiring voter i.d. of people who do not drive, he would impose what is essentially a poll tax on urban voters, such that they’d have to lose a day of work and pay money for a state i.d. Voter suppression is a way of decreasing the youth, African-American and Latino vote and so unfairly weighting the votes of white drivers. These voter suppression measures pose the risk of further degrading American democracy and establishing what is increasingly a tyranny of the white minority.

7. Romney is determined to increase the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by backing Big Oil against renewable sources of energy. His policies will accelerate climate change, increasing the average surface temperature of the earth, with more frequent droughts, forest fires, and extreme weather events.

8. Romney is in the back pocket of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is spending $100 million to elect him. Adelson worships far rightwing Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu the way the wayward Children of Israel used to worship the Golden Calf. Romney says he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and it seems clear he will back to the hilt the creeping illegal Israeli annexation of the Palestinian West Bank.

9. Romney-Ryan will end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a privatized voucher system that will screw over the younger Baby Boomers, and then Gen X and the Milennials and the Nexters.

10. Romney has been the biggest liar among presidential candidates since Tricky Dick Nixon. He has repeatedly mouthed a whole litany of falsehoods. He tried to scare Toledo auto workers by saying that the Obama administration was moving their jobs to China, and the CEO of Chrysler was constrained to slap Romney down. Romney

So these are the contours of the America of 2016 under Romney. Unemployment could remain stubbornly high under austerity policies, and the budget deficit could grow, causing the US credit rating to be further cut and increasing the cost of borrowing money. The country could be at war in Iran and Syria (a further drain on the national budget). Israel would be turned decisively into an Apartheid state with the end of any possibility of a two-state solution, promoting further trouble for the US with the Muslim world. Tens of millions of Americans will be without health insurance. Social Security benefits could be taxed, and Medicare could be cut (voucherized), costing individuals thousands of dollars a year. Women’s rights will be chipped away at. Climate change will accelerate and dirty sources of energy like coal will be encouraged. Hot, dry summers could produce dust bowls in some parts of the US, while hurricanes will increase in their ferocity. And, public trust in democracy will be deeply undermined, since the president will repeatedly be caught in lies, and because the 47% will be effectively disenfranchised.

The US will be hotter, with more violent weather, will be poorer save for the 400 billionaires, will be a virtual nation of hobos, and will end up a brutal plutocracy where those too poor to afford private insurance will simply die in the tens of thousands each year, and where elections and legislation are openly bought and paid for.

35 Responses

  1. While I agree with most of what you have said, I do have to comment that ER utilization likely won’t change much, because those new covered people will have a difficult time finding specialists and PCP’s to treat them under Medicaid, which is a current problem with that program.

    If you a pro Obama what not give us a ten reasons to vote for him other than he is not Mitt Romney.

    • Here’s 50 reasons TO vote FOR Obama, NOT against Romney:

      Mimi Champlin I’ll give you fifty:
      1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.

      2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.

      3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.

      4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.

      5. Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.

      6. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.

      7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.

      8. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.

      9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

      10. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.

      11. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended thirty-year rule when overthrown on February 11.

      12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.

      13. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.

      14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.

      15. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.

      16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.

      17. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.

      18. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.

      19. Began Asia “Pivot”: In 2011, reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. Executed multipronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.

      20. Increased Support for Veterans: With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

      21. Tightened Sanctions on Iran: In effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.

      22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants: New EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution, issued in December 2011, likely to lead to the closing of between sixty-eight and 231 of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. Estimated cost to utilities: at least $11 billion by 2016. Estimated health benefits: $59 billion to $140 billion. Will also significantly reduce carbon emissions and, with other regulations, comprises what’s been called Obama’s “stealth climate policy.”

      23. Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.

      24. Eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws: Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.

      25. Protected Two Liberal Seats on the U.S. Supreme Court: Nominated and obtained confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, in 2009; and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve, in 2010. They replaced David Souter and John Paul Stevens, respectively.

      26. Improved Food Safety System: In 2011, signed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which boosts the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion and expands its regulatory responsibilities to include increasing number of food inspections, issuing direct food recalls, and reviewing the current food safety practices of countries importing products into America.

      27. Achieved New START Treaty: Signed with Russia (2010) and won ratification in Congress (2011) of treaty that limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads (down from 2,200) and 700 launchers (down from more than 1,400), and reestablished and strengthened a monitoring and transparency program that had lapsed in 2009, through which each country can monitor the other.

      28. Expanded National Service: Signed Serve America Act in 2009, which authorized a tripling of the size of AmeriCorps. Program grew 13 percent to 85,000 members across the country by 2012, when new House GOP majority refused to appropriate more funds for further expansion.

      29. Expanded Wilderness and Watershed Protection: Signed Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (2009), which designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, created thousands of miles of recreational and historic trails, and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

      30. Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco: Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events.

      31. Pushed Federal Agencies to Be Green Leaders: Issued executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to make plans to soften their environmental impacts by 2020. Goals include 30 percent reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26 percent boost in water efficiency, and sustainability requirements for 95 percent of all federal contracts. Because federal government is the country’s single biggest purchaser of goods and services, likely to have ripple effects throughout the economy for years to come.

      32. Passed Fair Sentencing Act: Signed 2010 legislation that reduces sentencing disparity between crack versus powder cocaine possessionfrom100 to1 to 18 to1.

      33. Trimmed and Reoriented Missile Defense: Cut the Reagan-era “Star Wars” missile defense budget, saving $1.4 billion in 2010, and canceled plans to station antiballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of sea-based defense plan focused on Iran and North Korea.

      34. Began Post-Post-9/11 Military Builddown: After winning agreement from congressional Republicans and Democrats in summer 2011 budget deal to reduce projected defense spending by $450 billion, proposed new DoD budget this year with cuts of that size and a new national defense strategy that would shrink ground forces from 570,000 to 490,000 over the next ten years while increasing programs in intelligence gathering and cyberwarfare.

      35. Let Space Shuttle Die and Killed Planned Moon Mission: Allowed the expensive ($1 billion per launch), badly designed, dangerous shuttle program to make its final launch on July 8, 2011. Cut off funding for even more bloated and problem-plagued Bush-era Constellation program to build moon base in favor of support for private-sector low-earth orbit ventures, research on new rocket technologies for long-distance manned flight missions, and unmanned space exploration, including the largest interplanetary rover ever launched, which will investigate Mars’s potential to support life.

      36. Invested Heavily in Renewable Technology: As part of the 2009 stimulus, invested $90 billion, more than any previous administration, in research on smart grids, energy efficiency, electric cars, renewable electricity generation, cleaner coal, and biofuels.

      37. Crafting Next-Generation School Tests: Devoted $330 million in stimulus money to pay two consortia of states and universities to create competing versions of new K-12 student performance tests based on latest psychometric research. New tests could transform the learning environment in vast majority of public school classrooms beginning in 2014.

      38. Cracked Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges: In effort to fight predatory practices of some for-profit colleges, Department of Education issued “gainful employment” regulations in 2011 cutting off commercially focused schools from federal student aid funding if more than 35 percent of former students aren’t paying off their loans and/or if the average former student spends more than 12 percent of his or her total earnings servicing student loans.

      39. Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.

      40. Expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

      41. Avoided Scandal: As of November 2011, served longer than any president in decades without a scandal, as measured by the appearance of the word “scandal” (or lack thereof) on the front page of the Washington Post.

      42. Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill: Though lacking statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.

      43. Created Recovery.gov: Web site run by independent board of inspectors general looking for fraud and abuse in stimulus spending, provides public with detailed information on every contract funded by $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks partly to this transparency, board has uncovered very little fraud, and Web site has become national model: “The stimulus has done more to promote transparency at almost all levels of government than any piece of legislation in recent memory,” reports Governing magazine.

      44. Pushed Broadband Coverage: Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.

      45. Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.

      46. Recognized the Dangers of Carbon Dioxide: In 2009, EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant, allowing the agency to regulate its production.

      47. Expanded Stem Cell Research: In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.

      48. Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers: In 2009, signed Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers who the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past.

      49. Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Appointed two envoys to Sudan and personally attended a special UN meeting on the area. Through U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, helped negotiate a peaceful split in 2011.

      50. Killed the F-22: In 2009, ended further purchases of Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin-engine, fighter aircraft, which cost $358 million apiece. Though the military had 187 built, the plane has never flown a single combat mission. Eliminating it saved $4 billion.

  2. You gave 10 disasters.

    Here is my suggestion of number 11.

    11. the federal government is no longer legitimate

    The Republicans are playing with fire. If 11 happens, there is a good chance that our republic can never be regained.

    • I don’t think this option 11 is as paranoid as it may sound. With these people power is everything – economic power, religious power, power over women, gays, education, society in general – and the actual democratic process means very little to them.

        • “Freedom belongs to the strong,” as Richard Wright would sometimes autograph his books…… (I have one here.)

          Let’s hope democracy offers the individual enough power to be free. And that ain’t any Ayn Randian notions of a superior individualism. Meeting the common good is hardly an assault on individual liberty.

          In fact, I would think of it as an increase in freedom. Since providing universal healthcare, for one, would relieve us from the worry of having to afford decent health coverage. And we would be free to think about other things…..

          Try explaining that to a Libertarian, though. We can not be absolutely free and live among neighbors and fellow citizens, can we? Which is why we have a representative democracy. We vote, and hope our tax money is used wisely. And if spent for the common good – schools, medical care, etc. – services which we need and can not do without – Is that really an assault on individual freedom?

    • I agree with your #11, Mr. Utter. However, we’ve had #11 under President Obama, at least according to the Republicans, and we’ll continue to get it when Mr. Obama wins re-election.

      There is something seriously wrong when one political persuasion refuses, on principal, to recognize democratically-elected officials when they are from the other party. I’ve been saying this since the Reagan years: there is something inherently anti-democratic (and anti-republic) about any candidate who runs on the premise that “government is the problem.”

    • It is not only the legitimacy of the federal government that is in serous jeopardy in America, it is the legitimacy of the supposed democratic process of government, and of the election process. The story is not new; voter ‘disenchantment’ has been haphazardly reported the past three presidential elections, then dropped like a hot potato after an exceedingly brief story run. Voter disenchantment has valid roots that media does not to want to cover because it conflicts with the American myth (that media DOES continually reinforce) that individual votes are somehow actually connected to the future of the nation. But more Americans from all political sectors are in agreement that America is on a disastrous course than there are who agree that any single party offers the best course. In other words, if the presidential vote today was really intended to be the expression of America voter preferences, voter choices would include “None of the Above”, or “None Qualified”, or “No Confidence”. If candidates actually had to run against the shadow of themselves instead of the bogeyman from the other party who really isn’t as different as the candidate’s own shadow, the election would at least yield a better perspective on how much faith Americans really have in their political system. Such a refreshing possibility also suggests a possible scenario where Americans are so disgusted with the candidate choices that they decide they would be better off for the next four years without one. The predictive success rates of monkeys and the weathermen suggest that America might sustain less damage to itself during the ensuing four years if the guiding hand of an inept, ineffectual, corrupt, and/or ignorant sock puppet pol was missing from the wheel of state. The lack of an ever present voter choice that includes None Qualified shows the limitations of the American Constitution as some kind of automatic, eternal protection of Americans more willing to fight each other than work together.

      The results of a close election mean the lack of a new voter mandate, a continuation of societal division, and a continuation of governmental stalemate and inability to effectively deal with the real (not invented) problems that face the nation. Most voters think this election happens this day, November 6. But the majority the election’s outcome has already taken place in all the pre-election “polls” that by election day will have largely established the post election voter blocs and the various frictions to which the real directors of America mass have already tied their reins. Change is not in the air, unless of course one is looking forward to the next war.

  3. I think we can safely assume that President Obama will win a second term. People focus on the polls showing a dead heat between Obama and Romney with the overall electorate. What counts, however, are the states that are key to an Electoral College victory, and they all show Obama in the lead.

    • What, and you think if Obama wins with a minority of the popular vote, the GOP will be as wimpy about it as the Democrats were after 2000? They will go into overdrive rallying their troops to violate federal law on the grounds that the president didn’t really win the election – despite having said the opposite in 2000.

      • “What, and you think if Obama wins with a minority of the popular vote, the GOP will be as wimpy about it as the Democrats were after 2000?”

        No, SUPER390, I do not think that, and if you read my comment you will see that I did not write that, explicitly or implicitly. The topic of this thread is what things would be like in 2016 if Romney wins, and I was addressing the topic. Please do not impute to my comment something I didn’t write in order to advance your narrative.

  4. I think you’re being unfair to Richard Nixon. Romney lies much more frequently and is much more comfortable with casual mendacity.

    • Nixon may have been less flippant about his lies, and less cynical in his confidence that his lies would be readily bought. Since, if I correctly remember, Nixon stuck to a line. Whereas Romney says whatever makes him comfortable and happy even if it completely contradicts whatever he said fifteen minutes ago…..

      • Nixon eventually betrayed everyone on all sides on the Vietnam War. He probably secretly promised Thieu unending support in exchange for sabotaging LBJ’s peace talks when Nixon was running for election. He betrayed Thieu in ’73. He promised liberal Republicans like Mark Hatfield that he would end the war faster than he really intended to. He betrayed his far-right base by cutting deals with Moscow and Beijing to cover his retreat.

        So what we know Nixon was good at was betrayal, strategically planned and premeditated.

  5. And so, as someone says, Americans should vote for Obama (who will merely stomp on our foot) rather than for Romney (who will cut it off at the ankle without anaesthetic).

    Be kinda nice to get big money (corporate and personal, BIG-OIL, BIG-KOCH, BIG-ADELSON, AIPAC, BIG-COAL, BIG-PHARMA, etc. etc. etc.) out of politics (out of advertising, out of campaign contributing, out of lobbying).

    With our two BIG PROBLEMS now well known — [1] climate change now (post-SANDY) known to the many as well as to the few, and [2] big-money-in-politics known to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear — THEN WHAT?

    Is there a GALILEO or a MARTIN LUTHER in the house to usher in big change, or are we doomed to be led by those anointed by the short-sighted prophets of short-term greed?

  6. All too possible…… these are considerations which should make any sane voter turn away from Romney. How this election appears so evenly split, in spite of Obama’s failings, is a true wonder. The Romney machine is throwing all its last minute hopes into a torrent of lurid lies, depending upon the gullibility of the voters. And it may work, offering a preview of what we can expect in the White House. Stealth and cynicism.

  7. If the voters show, Obama wins. Then, his opponent who made his millions from exporting American jobs will disappear, McCain (=R’s most visible surrogate) will have “lost” for a second time, and thankfully, all the NeoCons will be retired to “their barracks.” Freedom wins. America wins. Just, Show up, America…

    • if the voters show, are not disenfranchised (i.e. in the name of battling fictitious voter impersonation)), and their votes are counted (especially provisional ballots and such which can be simply “lost”)…

  8. On the other hand, consider Romney – the “ambition”, rather than Romney – the “candidate”.

    On day one of his fantasized administration (if not before) “ambition” will be plotting his “four more years” strategy. He’ll sit with his amoral political advisers (aka Etch-a-Sketch Grand Masters) and review the substance of “candidate’s” positions, so well articulated in today’s blog.

    The conclusion of course is that there will be no “four more years” if “candidate’s” positions are implemented. At the end of the huddle “ambition” gives the order: “Etch to left, move the neocons from the VIP list to the no-allowed-here list, and go see if Dennis Kosincich (domestic) and Ron Paul (defense, foreign policy) are available for consultation. Oh, and let’s tax the crap out of the rich.”

    Personally I’ll choose spineless ambition, Obama, over the spined variety because I might be totally wrong.

  9. It won’t be a problem because the American media will tell the American people that its all someone else’s fault. So they will believe it and just put up with it. The American public like the British public are frankly stupid, and will go on voting for the two main stream parties indefinitely.

  10. Its only natural to think The Mitt is only saying what he needs to say. Although less transparently than Mitt the etch-a-sketcher, its a big part of being a politician afterall.

    Still, its hard to reconcile what his tenure (if it its limited to 8 yrs) portends when you review closely those guiding him. I know halloween is over, but this link is to a group who tracks these people in detail:

    link to rightweb.irc-online.org

  11. I think what would likely happen to the Romney economy is that his oligarch buddies will suddenly open up the money floodgates they kept closed to sabotage Obama. Then we will have a repeat of the Bush financial bubble.

    Most Americans still don’t understand how the 2001-2008 bubble scam worked. They don’t want to understand, because it’s their last hope for a better life. The scam creates the illusion of prosperity because:

    1. People are able to “buy” more stuff even though they earn less income. This in turn allows retailers to hire more badly-paid workers, which doesn’t permit inflationary pressure from wages.

    2. As some of us recall, the mortgages or whatever lending instrument will be weaponized next time will in turn be traded on unregulated markets at dizzying rates of speed, again without affecting inflation. This will create paper wealth that will be lent to more people who will eventually be unable to repay.

    3. On paper, homeowners can’t lose.

    How big was the scam? In 2004, it’s said, home equity loans approached a trillion dollars. Now while a few loans were paid off, taking money out of the economy, we can guess that this single financial scam contributed 5% or more to the entire GNP. Yet inflation-adjusted economic growth that year was much lower. The rest of the US economy was SHRINKING.

    Without the mortgage scam, the terrible depression would have started on 9/11/2001, not in 10/2008.

    Since half the country refuses to accept this, it’s bound to happen again. When has Romney or any GOP leader refuted any of these practices? They intend to do it again, and dump another crash on the Democrats in 2020.

  12. Having a tax cheat in the White House might be a problem in that he is used to hiding assets, and not paying his share. How is that for a top down example?

  13. The question not asked is what if Obama wins…then what?? Yes, we know Romney is an abomination, but then Obama signed the NDAA which allows him to kill Americans without due process. Due process used to be what made America different–rule of law. He wants to kill it. It was challenged in court and the administration stepped right up and appealed it. Really now, what is worse than that? OTOH, Obama might be able to figure out something.

    My guess is that Obama will implement the austerity that the Romney presidency threatens, and of course his supporters will make all kinds of excuses as to why he has to do this. Unfettered by any problems with seeking another term, he can do whatever he wants…or rather he can do whatever Wall Street and the corporations want including drilling in the arctic, implementing the turnkey totalitarian state–See–The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center: link to wired.com …you name it.

  14. If Obama wins, it will be interesting to look back in 2016 and see how his program differed from Romney’s. My guess is: not by much.

    The main differences will be that Obama will protect women’s choice and Obamacare.

    Obama will initiate devastating austerity, lower taxes on the rich and on business, aggressively pursue small foreign wars, turn a blind eye to voter suppression, continue to kiss Netanyahu’s ring (or backside), aggressively promote coal and nuclear power, and gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (but only because he had “no choice.”)

    By now Obama’s record speaks for itself, and it is totally out of synch with his rhetoric, which makes him the smoothest deception artist in memory.

  15. If American’s are so dumb to elect Romney then they get what they deserve as far as I am concerned.

    • I agree totally I can not believe this race is so close,
      Romey/Ryan are rude and I feel insulted by them. They clearly think we are idiots. I am afraid Romney could win and we will be working for less money longer hours. America is tired and hungry when better to take advantage.

      so Sad that we the people are not seeing this. I see it very clearly.

  16. Importantly, not only will Romney’s SCOTUS picks be anti-choice, but be in favor or rolling back any civil rights legislation they can (marriage equality could be snatched away from a probable Court victory) and as pro-corporate advantage as possible. Reason alone to vote for Obama.

    Despite Obama’s many failings (which are simply writ large the Democratic Party’s failings) the point is not to let the insane, raging lunatics back into the government. Elections are just one day, citizenship is 24/7, and these compromised elected officials need to be pressured every single day by all of us who have issues and causes to pursue.

  17. I really do not care who gets elected.

    Four years ago, most people in my country were excited about Obama and could hardly believe the Americans could elect such a reasonable and liberal candidate after the despised former President.

    What a disappointment. The withdrawal of the troops from Iraq was signed by Bush and the game was clearly up in Afghanistan as well. Guantanamo remains open, the drone war has been stepped up, and after a speech in Cairo, Obama surrendered any criticism of Israel and fell in line with Netanyahu over the state-organized theft of land as soon as any pressure was applied. He has not bombed Iran but that is mainly due to the US Armed Forces recent hard lessons on the limitations on imposing their will on the Middle East.

    We were conned. Far better to have a man like Bush, a US President who galvanised worldwide opposition every time he opened his mouth than this smooth talker with virtually identical policies.

    • Bush also began the GOP reign of terror against minority voters, using his agent Hans von Spakovsky to organize an array of dirty tricks to suppress the non-white vote. Obama’s election has brought out into the open the belief of many whites that blacks and Latinos must not be allowed to determine the outcome of elections, that by definition this is fraudulent because they’re not “real” Americans.

      So what the world would think about President Romney’s foreign policies will matter a hell of a lot less than what his henchmen at all levels of government do to continue us down the road to Jim Crow Jr. – imprisoning non-whites on the slightest pretext in private prisons, creating more economic barriers to poor voters, and most importantly terminating the automatic citizenship of all US-born children, which will create a permanent Latino serf class. (Stateless?) Do you think they mind what the world will do any more than the National Party of South Africa did for 40 years?

  18. I respect Juan Cole, and this is a good list, but climate change coming in at number seven and peak oil not even receiving a mention indicates a lack of awareness of the plight of Americans and humanity as a whole.

    • Exactly so, and there is no political will do deal with any of it. Instead they focus on wedge issues. Climate change was hardly even acknowledged in either campaign.

      As Mathew Stein points up: here we are–The Perfect Storm: Six Trends Converging on Collapse. link to huffingtonpost.com

      And the politicians of both stripes ignore it.

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