The Callous Mitt Romney: The Full Secret Video of Romney’s Private Fundraiser

The Callous Mitt Romney: The Full Secret Video of Romney’s Private Fundraiser

On Monday afternoon, Mother Jones Magazine posted a short leaked video online that captured Mitt Romney at an exclusive fundraising event that offered a rare glimpse of his personal views. Speaking at a private fundraising reception earlier this year with millionaire donors in Boca Raton, Florida, Romney described almost half of Americans as “people who pay no income tax” and are “dependent upon government.”

Those voters, he said, would probably support President Obama because they believe they are “victims” who are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” With its unvarnished language, the short video clip seems to undermine what Romney’s aides have tried to argue is an enduring attribute that would appeal to independent voters: a sense that Mr. Romney is, at base, an empathetic and caring man.

Now, Mother Jones has posted the full 49-minute secret video of Romney speaking at that May 17th fundraiser, captured raw and uncut. In addition to his denigrating comments about poor people, Romney’s remarks about a critical area of foreign policy set off another media firestorm, generating headlines around the world. Responding to a question about the “Palestinian problem,” Romney said peace in the Middle East is not possible and a Palestinian state is not feasible, telling his wealthy donors that Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

Romney’s remarks, degrading nearly half of the electorate, sent the Romney campaign, which was already rocked by infighting, into panic mode. The new video confirms the impression of a callous Mitt Romney, who has little idea of how Americans actually live. Further, the additional comments in this full-length secret video solidify previous impressions that Romney can be quite a bully to those who are not a part of his small exclusive group.

The Full Mitt Romney Fundraiser Video-Part One (36:39)

The Full Mitt Romney Fundraiser Video-Part Two (31:04)

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Sermon on the Mound: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Sermon on the Mound: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Sermon on the Mound is an inspirational three-minute documentary short film directed by Eliot Rausch. The deeply personal documentary was shot over a period of 36 hours in Los Angeles and is  stunningly filmed and edited. The documentary short expresses a tone of unconditional love and support for the poor in spirit, the impoverished, the homeless and the persecuted. Previously, Rausch was the director of Last Minutes with Oden, which was named the Best Documentary and Overall Best Video at the 2010 Vimeo Awards in New York City.

Sermon on the Mound: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

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The Poor in America: Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

The Poor in America: Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

For some people, our economy may be turning around, but millions of families are at risk of going hungry, in one of the richest nations on earth.  The poorest people in America are those who are the first to feel the downturn, and will be the last to feel the country’s financial recovery.  The hardworking poor in America’s heartland, with their long and deep traditions in mining, manufacturing and military service, are increasingly seen in food pantry lines, feeling ashamed and angry.  Their stories and images push beyond stereotypes and reveal a hidden America of families living in poverty, which is both surprising and haunting.

Friends and Neighbors: The Recession’s Unseen Victims

Poverty in the Hills of Central Appalachia

A Hidden America: Children of the Appalachian Mountains

Kris Kristofferson: This Old Road

Slide Show: The Poor in America/Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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In the Shadows of the Bowery: The Old Bow’ry Fades Away

In the Shadows of the Bowery: The Old Bow’ry Fades Away

When you open the door to a small hotel at 104-106 on the Bowery, you’ll be entering what used to be called the Stevenson Hotel.  A tiny cubicle in the Stevenson was for decades the home to a Greek immigrant named George Skoularikos, perhaps best known for staunchly taking a years-long stand against moving, by eviction or otherwise.  It’s a building that’s been renovated, reconfigured and turned upside down over the generations, always to meet the financial ambitions of the owner of the moment.  Planted like a mature oak tree along an old Indian footpath that became the Bowery, it provides somber testimony to the essential truth of Manhattan: that change is the only constant.

The building dates back at least to the early 1850s, when the Bowery was a swaggering commercial strip of butchers, clothiers and entertainment venues, with territorial gangs that frequently fought one another.  The area used to be home to sometimes rowdy music halls, as well as a series of ethnic theaters.  But the theaters, music halls and small museums built to lure the tourist trade all gradually faded away from the Bowery.

In their place, the Bowery increasingly became the place for men with nowhere else to go, thousands and thousands of them, from war veterans to failed grandiose would-be architects of a new universe.  Large numbers of  the lost souls sought comfort from their dismal feelings of personal defeat in the deadening effects of alcohol and, later, drugs. These abject cast-offs from society found cheap beds, chicken-wire cubicles and brotherhood in the flophouses that masqueraded as hotels.

And the flophouses remained a mainstay of the Bowery for decades, even as wholesale restaurant suppliers and lighting-fixture stores moved onto the street.  However, beginning in the late 1970’s many of the flophouses began to disappear, as the ever-encroaching spread of gentrification claimed loft space and constructed a number of sparkling residential buildings for wealthier residents.

Now, the raucous sounds of a boulevard shadowed by a cinder-showering elevated train track and peopled by swaggering sailors, working-class laborers, fresh immigrants and predatory con men have grown increasingly faint.  In the new urban morning light, the boisterous old sounds have become ghosts receding into the walls.  A new day has dawned on the Bowery.

In the Shadows of the Bowery: The Old Bow’ry Fades Away

Music by Casey Neil/Stevenson Hotel:

Interested readers can learn more about the history of the Bowery, as viewed through a wonderful, colorful narrative about the old Stevenson Hotel in The New York Times here.

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A Heartbreaking Epic: Hand-Out

A Heartbreaking Epic: Hand-Out

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

This photograph captures an unforgettable moment; it’s a simple image, but one that so strongly conveys of the sorrow of our times. The impact of looking at some brilliant pictures can just make your heart skip a beat. This classically understated, but sublime photograph is certainly one of those rare pictures. The photograph is a heartbreaking epic, which powerfully conveys one of those quiet experiences of sad awe.

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Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

Music: Mavis Staples/Hard Times

Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

The filmmaker, Samuel Christopher, is actually a duo consisting of Chris Turner and Sam Tootal. Their short film examines poet Billy Collins’ enigmatic poem “Hunger” by posting the poem’s lines up against a silent urban landscape like hyper-literary graffiti. Christopher interprets Collins’ textual riddle with his own visual rendering of the poem, a forsaken and depopulated cityscape’s lonely craving. In particular, the “fox” that was lugged over your shoulder is anything that you thought was “in the bag”, or “success.” When it escapes, you might mistakenly think you’re stronger, instead of realizing that you’ve lost whatever it was that you thought was safe and secure. Your “cottage” in a forest that “covers the world” refers to the fact that no matter how great your house, it is a very lonely place on a very big planet, and no matter in what esteem you may hold it, or yourself, ultimately you’re very insignificant. In the end, no one is much different from the people who are poor or are homeless.

Hunger

The fox you lug over your shoulder
in a dark sack
has cut a hole with a knife
and escaped.
The sudden lightness makes you think
you are stronger
as you walk back to your small cottage
through a forest that covers the world.

Billy Collins

Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

Short Film by Samuel Christopher

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