It doesn’t make much sense, Republicans

via: etzio-sexio

Just Hillary Clinton and Amy Poehler last night, hangin’

Amy Poehler and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend the TIME 100 Gala celebrating TIME’S 100 Most Infuential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur)

Source: claviculars

Ann Romney: “…we value those people too” (unless by ‘those people’ you mean the women who scrub her toilets)

Remember this quote from yesterday by Marie Antoinette Romney:

Well, Ann, we bet you do “love” women who don’t “have a choice” whether to “go to work” and still raise kids. Here’s some very enlightening information from the article, 12 Things We Could Learn From Previous Romney Tax Returns about how much Mitt and Ann Romney actually value “those people” who scrub their numerous toilets:

7: How many additional household workers did Romney employ? Did he pay them fair wages?

Romney Paid $20,603 Total In Wages To Four Household Workers In 2010. According to the Huffington Post, “IRS forms released Tuesday by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign show that despite reporting income of $21.7 million, the couple paid only $20,603 in taxable wages for household help in 2010. This figure was divided among four women: Rosania Costa ($4,808), Kelli Harrison ($8,667), Susan Moore ($2,238) and Valerie Cravens Anae ($4,890).” [Huffington Post, 01/24/12]

Romney Paid Only Half Of The Lowest Range Of An Average Housekeeper’s Salary For Only One Of Romney’s Three Houses. According the Huffington Post, “According to a number of Boston-based domestic staffing agencies, the salary range for a housekeeper is between $20 and $30 an hour, which adds up to an annual salary of $40,000 to $50,000 based on forty-hour weeks and two weeks of paid vacation a year. But this number is only for one house, and the Romneys have three houses — a 2,000 sq. ft. townhouse in Belmont, Mass., a 5,400 sq. ft. lake house on 11 acres in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a beach house in La Jolla, Calif., that is undergoing renovations to double its size. Even if the Romneys avoided spending time in La Jolla in 2010, they spent plenty of time in New Hampshire, with regular visits in the summer from five sons and their families. Yet the Romneys still paid only half of the lowest range of an average housekeeper’s salary, which raises the question of who cleaned the Romney houses the other 50 percent of the time.” [Huffington Post, 01/24/12]

We should all aspire to be Ann Romney: being born into privilege, marrying a man also born into privilege, living off investment income while in college, buying four homes and paying the household help less than the national average to clean them, dressage competition as a hobby… HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD, PEOPLE!

Dreaming with the GOP

Animation: Obama on our future (actual audio)

Animated by Scott Bateman for

Free market capitalism: Fortune 500 companies and privatized prisons have brought back ‘convict leasing’

Or you could call it prison labor, modern chain gangs, or even corporate slavery. You have to read this entire Salon article. It’s long but it’s so interesting and very disturbing.

Did you know,

The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T and IBM.

These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside.  All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses or manufacturing textiles, shoes and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

First, it’s interesting that it’s Fortune 500 companies leasing this prison labor at ‘subprime wages’ because it was recently reported (I posted about it below) that in 2011, Fortune 500 CEOs made 380 times more than the average worker. 380 times more!

And secondly, guess who isn’t making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses or manufacturing textiles, shoes and clothing? All the Americans who are unemployed. All the high-school and college kids who can’t find a job. Everyone who doesn’t have a job won’t be getting any of these jobs, because Fortune 500 companies want to pay subminimum wages to prisoners. And naturally these corporations then compete with OTHER companies and small businesses with their ‘slight’ subminimum wage advantage. The article describes what happened the first time capitalists tried using prison labor exclusively — this is a small excerpt:

[...] In the North, the prison abolition movement went viral, embracing not only workers’ organizations, sympathetic rural insurgents and prisoners, but also widening circles of middle-class reformers.  The newly created American Federation of Labor denounced the system as “contract slavery.”  It also demanded the banning of any imports from abroad made with convict labor and the exclusion from the open market of goods produced domestically by prisoners, whether in state-run or private workshops.  In Chicago, the construction unions refused to work with materials made by prisoners.

By the latter part of the century, in state after state penal servitude was on its way to extinction.  New York, where the “industry” was born and was largest, killed it by the late 1880s….

Here’s the thing — private prisons, like any corporation, are in business to make money. More prisoners, more money. And as this article explains, private prisons make money in two ways: from the state for warehousing the prisoner, but they’re also making profits by ‘leasing’ the prisoner to corporations who want to pay dirt cheap wages right here on U.S. soil. And as this article points out, America has the largest captive population on Earth to draw from:

[...] On the supply side, the U.S. holds captive 25 percent of all the prisoners on the planet: 2.3 million people.  It has the highest incarceration rate in the world as well, a figure that began skyrocketing in 1980 as Ronald Reagan became president.  As for the demand for labor, since the 1970s American industrial corporations have found it increasingly unprofitable to invest in domestic production.  Instead, they have sought out the hundreds of millions of people abroad who are willing to, or can be pressed into, working for far less than American workers.

As a consequence, those back home — disproportionately African-American workers — who found themselves living in economic exile, scrabbling to get by,  began showing up in similarly disproportionate numbers in the country’s rapidly expanding prison archipelago. It didn’t take long for corporate America to come to view this as another potential foreign country, full of cheap and subservient labor — and better yet, close by.

What began in the 1970s as an end run around the laws prohibiting convict leasing by private interests has now become an industrial sector in its own right, employing more people than any Fortune 500 corporation and operating in 37 states.  And here’s the ultimate irony: Our ancestors found convict labor obnoxious in part because it seemed to prefigure a new and more universal form of enslavement.  Could its rebirth foreshadow a future ever more unnervingly like those past nightmares?

Read: 21st century chain gangs

This country is going straight to Hell. There’s just no other way to say it. How many people’s lives might have been different if these Fortune 500 companies decided their overpaid CEOs really didn’t earn or deserve 380 times more than average workers, and instead invested some of that money into actually creating jobs for this country? Real jobs, with a living wage. Maybe our economy would be better. Maybe fewer people would wind up in prison. What if all the work that prisoners are doing right now for subminimum wages would have been available to them as a job to apply for, that they could have hoped to be hired for? Isn’t there a chance that their lives could have been different and the lives of all the people around them and, ultimately, all of our futures because of that?

Prisons shouldn’t be privatized, they shouldn’t be run for profit. They should be government run. Think about what a bad idea this is: setting up corporate prisons for profit (the more prisoners, the better!), then allowing those corporations to sell the labor of their prisoners to other corporations to make a bigger profit.

And you think I’m joking about the corporate-sponsored work camps we’ll all be living in some day, circled around blazing garbage barrels for warmth, eating our daily ration of Soylent Green.


Adios, Newt

Gingrich is out.

Huffington Post:

Newt Gingrich will end his White House bid May 1 and formally back Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, sources tell CNN and Fox News Politics.

Let’s take a minute to remember the good times:

Sean Hannity says beans and rice are the solution to hunger

SEAN HANNITY THINKS THE IDEA THAT AMERICANS ARE GOING TO BED HUNGRY can’t be true when you can survive on beans and rice“If you look at some of the poorest people in the country, I went through these stats last week, most people have refrigerators and freezers and air conditioners and televisions and DVRs, or I’m sorry, DVDs, or something, and stereos and cars, they just don’t have the best and the latest, and they don’t live in the nicest neighborhoods. [...] You can get things, for example, I have friends of mine that eat rice and beans all the time. Beans, protein, rice, inexpensive. It’s really — and you can make a big pot of this for a week for relatively negligible amounts of money, for your whole family and feed your family. Not the — look, you should have vegetables and fruit in there as well, but if you need to survive, you can survive off it. Um, it’s not ideal. You can get some cheap meat and throw it in there as well, for protein. There are ways to live really, really cheaply. So, uh, anyway, I don’t know where you got that from.”Media Matters via Wonkette 

So according to Hannity-logic, as long as beans and rice are available, no one goes hungry — like Hannity’s “friends” who eat that “all the time.” Hannity-logic could be easily applied to the homeless issue as well: as long as there are large appliance boxes, or quiet alleyways, no one could really be called “homeless.” Take that, Obama!

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 4.25.2012


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD) says he and his senate colleagues may push a government shutdown to get out of the debt deal agreed upon last year with President Obama. — TPM

ROMNEY SWEEPS GOP PRIMARIES (i.e. collects on his investments) Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to “hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.” Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of “false promises and weak leadership.” He declared, “Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.”  The former Massachusetts governor spoke as he swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, the first since Rick Santorum conceded the nomination. — HuffPo  

ROMNEY STILL WITHOUT RICK SANTORUM’S Holy Blessing and endorsement — “Logistically, there’s just no way,” top Santorum adviser John Brabender told POLITICO of an endorsement prior to Pennsylvania’s primary. “That won’t be happening … Look, the senator takes his endorsement very seriously. He feels there’s many things for he and Governor Romney to talk about. This isn’t just a five-minute meeting: How do you do, let’s endorse.” — POLITICO

JON HUNTSMAN HANDS OVER HIS TINY SPINE to the Republican Party establishment (disregard his comments of the past 48 hours) — Huntsman was asked on CNBC’s Squawk Box whether he was still 100 percent behind Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. “Absolutely, I am,” Huntsman replied. — Buzzfeed

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R) seems to believe Elizabeth Warren’s personal finances are of the utmost importance in this year’s Senate race in Massachusetts. [...] Why should anyone outside Massachusetts care? Because it turns out, the Republican senator’s top political advisers are the same people advising Mitt Romney, who’s trying to keep his tax returns secretIn other words, the same campaign strategists telling Brown to push for more disclosure are also telling Romney to push for less disclosure. Eric Fehrnstrom, who advises both Romney and Brown, believes it’s wrong if Elizabeth Warren releases only two years of tax documents, but also believes it’s perfectly acceptable if Romney does the same thing. — Maddow Blog

GOP WAR ON WOMEN: FLORIDA GOV RICK SCOTT (R) celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by cutting aid for Rape Crisis Centers

DARRELL ISSA (WHO BANNED A WOMAN FROM SPEAKING AT HIS ALL-MALE CONTRACEPTION PANEL) calls Obama Admin the ‘most corrupt government’ in history.  Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said: “But again, we’re very busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said a year ago, because of the money, because of the TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government in history, and it is proving to be that.” In spite of Issa’s allegations, he only cited two specific scandals. According to journalist Haynes Johnson, the “most corrupt” label actually belongs to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Plagued by dozens of scandals like selling weapons to Iran, rigging federal grants, the savings and loan crisis and other assorted political skullduggery, it all ended with 138 officials having been investigated, indicted or convicted — the most of any U.S. presidency, ever. — The Raw Story

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

SLOW JAM THE NEWS with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

OBAMA TELLS UNC CROWD he only paid off his student loans 8 years ago — His chief policy message was an appeal for Congress to pass legislation to stop interest rates on a popular student loan from doubling July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. “I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were lot of liabilities—basically in the form of student loans,” — ABCNews

FROM A NEW ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA — Given all that, what do you think the general election is going to look like, and what do you think of Mitt Romney?  “I think the general election will be as sharp a contrast between the two parties as we’ve seen in a generation. You have a Republican Party, and a presumptive Republican nominee, that believes in drastically rolling back environmental regulations, that believes in drastically rolling back collective-bargaining rights, that believes in an approach to deficit reduction in which taxes are cut further for the wealthiest Americans, and spending cuts are entirely borne by things like education or basic research or care for the vulnerable. All this will be presumably written into their platform and reflected in their convention. I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, “Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.” I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.” — Rolling Stone 

Morning angst

via: christopherstreet