Shorter Question Everything
• Employees of Romney Family’s Secret Bank Tied to Fraud, Money Laundering and Drug Cartels. As previously reported in by the Columbus Free Press, the Romney family, namely Mitt, Ann, G Scott and Tagg Romney, along with Mitt’s “6th son” and campaign finance chair have a secretive private equity firm called Solamere Capital Partners. This firms ties to Romney’s campaign and bundlers is already well documented, along with its connection to the manufacture and distribution of voting machines. What is not as well documented is a subsidiary of that private equity firm hiring employees of a failed firm tied to a Ponzi scheme that has a long history of money laundering for Latin American drug cartels and to the Iran-Contra scandal.
• Why We Are Having The Wrong Debate On Foreign Policy:
Did Romney think the best way to score points with voters was proving Obama didn’t say the magic T word?
As it happens, yes. A survey of Romney’s foreign policy positions reveals an elevation of word choice and symbolism to totemic status; a basic assumption that the way the President speaks and presents himself is a principal determinant of American policy success. If you presuppose that, then it matters a great deal whether Obama chose to call the Benghazi attack terrorism, as refusing the label would lead to an inability to respond to the attacks as such. And it’s more than that – understanding why Romney thinks language is so important is the key to explaining why so many of this year’s foreign policy debates have seen so petty.
This fetishization of linguistic argument pervades Romney campaign arguments on foreign policy. He chastises Obama on Israel not for specific policies, but rather for having the temerity to say critical things about its government in public. He won’t explain how, specifically, Obama could’ve been harsher on Iran beyond rhetorical posturing and more strident remarks supporting the 2009 uprising. His Afghanistan message is that we should withdraw in 2014, but the administration was wrong to say that publicly. Romney blasts Obama’s diplomatic overtures to Russia, but doesn’t have much in the way of a specific alternative approach except stronger public criticism of Russian policy. Ditto with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. This pattern repeats on issue after issue after issue — Romney won’t commit to significant policy differences with the administration, but will happily propose to “project strength, not weakness” and end “appeasement” by shifting American rhetoric on the issue in question.
• That’s right up there with Queen Ann declaring that serving as a missionary to their church is equivalent to serving in the military during wartime. Gingrich Cites Romney’s Time as Missionary in France as Foreign Policy Experience.
• The GOP presidential candidate took a breather from preparing for the third and final presidential debate on Sunday, watching reporters and his staff partake in a football game. The Associated Press reports that Romney mediated the coin toss, handing out bracelets to the team captains that read “Clear eyes, full hearts, America can’t lose.” A little more than a week ago, “Friday Night Lights” creator Peter Berg sent Romney a letter imploring him to stop fusing his show with the 2012 campaign
• The Virginia State Board of Elections announced Friday that it will not ask the state’s attorney general to investigate the Republican operative accused of tossing out eight completed voter registration forms, rejecting Democratic-led efforts at a full investigation into the alleged tampering.
• An airship promoting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Florida drew attention for other reasons Sunday when it was forced to make an emergency landing just north of Miami. According to WSVN-TV, the blimp, bearing the banner, “America Needs Romney,” was caught in high winds on its way back to a local airport, forcing it to the ground near a residential area in Davie, Florida. “It was getting lower and lower,” one resident said. “It was totally going down, it was just losing altitude. The wind was just taking it and taking it.”
• A federal judge has blocked Arizona from implementing HB 2800, a measure that would have revoked Medicaid funding for family planning services at any health organization that also provides abortions, effectively defunding the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates. The ruling represents a victory for Planned Parenthood, who sued to prevent HB 2800 from going into effect after Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed the bill into law in May. Judge Neil Wake rejected the argument that Arizona can cut off federal funding for family planning simply based on the state’s own determination that abortion providers aren’t qualified for Medicaid eligibility, pointing out that Medicaid recipients have the right to choose between the full range of qualified providers “without government interference.”
• GOP opposition to Fair Pay Act intensifies. Yesterday on ABC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a leading Romney surrogate, argued, “[J]ust because they call a piece of legislation an equal pay bill doesn’t make it so. In fact, much of this legislation is, in many respects, nothing but an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees and file lawsuits, which may not contribute at all whatsoever to increasing pay equity in the workplace.” Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, said something very similar last week, criticizing the proposal as being little more than “opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations.” Pete Hoekstra, the Republicans’ U.S. Senate hopeful in Michigan, called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay law “a nuisance.” A Romney surrogate in New Hampshire said the law is little more than “a handout to trial lawyers.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) agrees. Rich Beeson, political director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, dismissed this as a campaign issue altogether, saying of the Obama campaign, “[T]hey want to talk about the small things and distract America from the important things.”In other words, efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work are “small” and unimportant.
• Mass shooting reported in Wisconsin: 7 hospitalized, remains suspect at large, police say. A shooting near a mall in Brookfield, Wis., on Sunday left at least seven people hospitalized, according to local news reports , and police are searching for the suspected shooter. WISN-TV first reported a “mass shooting” at the Azana Salon & Spa across the street from the Brookfield Square Mall at around 11:15 a.m. local time.
• A man who was ordered last week to turn over all his weapons in a domestic dispute opened fire Sunday at his estranged wife’s workplace near Milwaukee, killing three women and injuring four others, authorities said. He then apparently shot himself to death, police said. The suspect was identified as Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, Wis., said Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus, who said Haughton was found dead in the building, a 9,000-square-foot, two-story salon and day spa across the street from a busy mall. Police had not identified the dead on Sunday evening. It took several hours to find him because their search was slowed by concern there may have been an explosive device.
• Israeli and US troops were on Sunday beginning a vast missile defence exercise called Austere Challenge 12, in what was hailed as their largest-ever joint military operation, officials said. The exercise, which involves 3,500 personnel from the US European Command (US EUCOM) and 1,000 Israeli troops and is expected to last three weeks, is likely to send a clear signal to Tehran over its disputed nuclear drive, which must of the West believes is a weapons drive.
• Middle Eastern oil and gas companies have been targeted in massive attacks on their computer networks in an increasingly open cyber war where a new virus was discovered just this past week. The United States and Israel, believed to behind the first cyber sabotage campaign that targeted Iran’s nuclear programme, are now worried about becoming targeted themselves. In what was interpreted as a veiled threat against Iran, Panetta said the US military “has developed the capability to conduct effective operations to counter (cyber) threats to our national interests.” A senior US administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP the cyber attack on the Gulf oil giants was believed to be carried out by a “state actor” and acknowledged that Iran would be a prime suspect. US officials have “more than a suspicion” that Iran was to blame for the August attacks, said James Lewis, who has worked for the State Department and other government agencies on national security and cyber issues and who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. He said the US authorities were used to cyber espionage from Russia and China, but were surprised by the swift rise in Iran’s digital warfare capability.