Who wasn’t happy to see Mitt Romney in Poland?

Polish Labor Isn’t Happy To See Romney: “So what do the heirs to the Polish labor activism of the 1980s say? What do the hundreds of thousands of activists who maintain the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) union as a major force in today’s Poland say?

Solidarnosc is in no way involved in the organization of this meeting nor had the initiative to invite Mitt Romney to Poland,” the 700,000-member union announced Monday.

““Regretfully,” added Solidarnosc international department head Andrzej Adamczyk, “we have learned from our friends in the American trade union central AFL-CIO representing over 12 million workers about Mitt Romney’s support for the attacks against trade unions and labor rights. In this respect, I wish to express…our solidarity with American workers and trade unions. [Solidarity] will always support the AFL-CIO in their struggle for the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.”

“”Solidarity has been outspoken in its support of recent labor struggles in the United States, signaling clear opposition to the anti-collective bargaining position adopted by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other Romney allies.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said of Romney’s trip to Poland: “The story of the Polish resistance is one of a country gaining strength from bottom-up organizing on behalf of the whole country. I wish Romney would pause and learn the lessons of the Polish labor movement’s courageous resistance to communism rather than just treat Poland as yet another photo op. Romney needs to step back and reject the George W. Bush/Bain Capital model of top down economics and recognize that we are all stronger when we stand together.” 

Just another photo-op? Of course: “On his way out of town, Romney, his wife, Ann, and son Josh visited two prominent memorials in Gdansk. They laid a wreath at Westerplatte, where the first shots of World War II were fired. Before heading to the airport, they stopped at the Solidarity Monument, one of the most revered spots in Poland, which marks where the Solidarity movement began.”

Mitt Romney is against everything the Solidarity Monument represents. Plus, his aide told reporters to “kiss my ass” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Awesome diplomacy skillz.

Morning Bunker Report: TGIF 5.25.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

The Truth About Governor Willard and Education – “President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses and unwilling to stand up for our kids,” Romney charged, citing hundreds of millions of dollars contributed by teachers unions to Democratic campaigns as the cause. “We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids,” he said to applause. First of all, our kids? You mean Tagg and Bagg and Bogg and Quagg and whoever, who already have $100 miilion trust funds to send their kids to prep schools? Whatchoo mean “our,” extremely white man? But, the point here is that, while he was governor, he didn’t let cash of any kind get ahead of the “kids” in the public schools of the state where public education was pretty much invented. In 2006, he cut $37.8 million from the state’s higher education budget. Fees skyrocketed, as they did generally throughout the state. In 2003, he tried to cut $100 milion from that same budget while raising tuition by $50 million at state colleges and universities. He also wanted to slash job training initiatives and workforce training funding. Things were rather worse at the primary and secondary level, where Romney passed down budget cuts and left cities and towns holding the bag. And that’s the way it was. – Charles P. Pierce

  • Mitt Romney’s campaign bus rolled into one West Philadelphia community on Thursday, but his appearance was less than welcomed. Hecklers shouted at him to leave, and a sign featuring Romney’s “I’m not concerned about the very poor” comment was raised. — Washington Post
  •  Mitt Romney regrets saying that he likes being able to fire people. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Romney said he got frustrated whenever he made flubs like his line, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” last winter in New Hampshire. — ABC News

Polluters Ran Amuck Under Romney, Says Watchdog – Just weeks after taking office in 2003, he announced a plan to centralize the state’s legal services and lay off as many as half of its attorneys, including many within the Department of Environmental Protection. In rolling out the plan, Romney’s chief legal counsel Daniel Winslow singled out environmental positions as a target for cuts in an interview with Lawyers Weekly. Critics said the move would limit the state’s ability to prosecute environmental crimes, as the DEP was already “chronically understaffed” and would likely have to drop some cases. In the end, Romney’s reorganization plan was stymied by opposition from enviros, unions, and residents. [...] His administration also cut the DEP’s budget by almost a third, and temporarily closed its Northeastern Regional Office in Wilmington, Mass. [...] In 2004, Romney’s administration was accused of suppressing a report that detailed problems within the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP), which enforces laws related to pollution, wildlife and marine safety. – Mother Jones

Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney — Presidential politics has always been a rich man’s game. But now, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United that upended decades of limits on campaign donations, financing a presidential race is the exclusive domain of the kind of megadonor whose portfolios make Mitt Romney look middle-class. “I have lots of money, and can give it legally now,” Texas billionaire and top GOP moneyman Harold Simmons recently bragged to The Wall Street Journal. “Just never to Democrats.” – Rolling Stone

Romney wants to stop Congressional work on the economy until he’s sworn in — In an interview with Time magazine on Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidate said he wants Congress to deal with major issues to keep the U.S. from going over a “fiscal cliff” after the January swearing-in. Romney said he wants permanent legislation to deal with those problems instead of a temporary effort. Government analysts say the economy will shrink if Congress doesn’t act to prevent the expiration of two major rounds of tax cuts along with automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs. – NYTimes.com

The same Senate Republicans who pushed for massive spending cuts are now hitting Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for insisting that Congress abide by them. — Politico

NO WASTEFUL SPENDING: The Missouri House “spent more than $1,100 in taxpayer money on a security camera to keep watch over a new bronze bust of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.” The small-government conservative talk show-host was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians during a closed-door ceremony last week. — Think Progress

Things that are hilariously real:

Source: secure.mittromney.com

Yes, that’s Mitt Romney’s signature on the poster of birther Donald Trump asking you for a $3 donation. As recently as two days ago on May 22nd, Donald Trump tweeted to ask what President Obama’s college applications say about his place of birth. That’s not merely a wink and a nod, it’s an accusation of fraud. Does this mean birtherism is now an official component of the Romney campaign? — JM Ashby

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————


image: barackobama

Obama has to Explain Why Fairness is Essential to Growth (and Why Some Democrats Have to Stop Believing Otherwise) – Fairness isn’t inconsistent with growth; it’s essential to it. The only way the economy can grow and create more jobs is if prosperity is more widely shared. The key reason why the recovery is so anemic is so much income and wealth are now concentrated at the top [that] America’s the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power necessary to boost the economy. The richest 1 percent of Americans save about half their incomes, while most of the rest of us save between 6 and 10 percent. That shouldn’t be surprising. Being rich means you already have most of what you want and need. That second yacht isn’t nearly as exciting as was the first. It follows that when, as now, the top 1 percent rakes in more than 20 percent of total income — at least twice the share it had 30 years ago — there’s insufficient demand for all the goods and services the economy is capable of producing at or near full employment. And without demand, the economy doesn’t grow or generate nearly enough jobs. – Robert Reich

Here is the much-talked-about TED talk on income inequality given by billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, and his discussion of the negative impacts of income inequality on the economy. — AFL-CIO Blog


Maddow: Union-busting about making Wisconsin permanently Republican — “Killing the unions is the strategy for turning Wisconsin red, not just for now, but for generations to come in an irreparable way,” she said. “This is about partisan politics. It is about destroying Democrats’ chances of competing with Republicans.” Maddow noted that while Republican candidates are disproportionately funded by corporate and pro-business groups, Democratic candidates are disproportionately funded by public service unions — the very unions that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker targeted in his budget repair bill. “It’s not about some year’s budget, it is not even about jobs,” Maddow continued. “Since he wiped away union rights in Wisconsin, Scott Walker has racked up the single worst jobs records in the entire country.” – Raw Story

Forever Herding Cats: A coalition of liberal interest groups is pushing back on a proposal by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to extend the Bush tax cuts for individuals earning less than $1 million a year, instead pushing a proposal from President Barack Obama that would draw the line at $250,000 a year in income. — Roll Call

  • Pelosi urged Speaker John Boehner to bring up a vote on extending tax cuts for middle-class income earners “as early as next week,” when the House returns from recess. — Roll Call

Sen. Charles Schumer on Thursday responded to conservatives who had compared his Ex-PATRIOT Act to laws imposed by the Nazis. “I know a thing or two about what Nazis did,” Schumer, a Jew, said on the Senate floor. “Some of my relatives were killed by them.” [...] “Saying that a person who made their fortune specifically because of the positive elements in American society in turn has the responsibility to do right by America is not even on the same planet as what the Nazis did to the Jews,” Schumer said. – Raw Story

Campaign comparison to meeting ‘The Donald’ – via: demnewswire

Meeting a President is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—how about an evening with two:  http://OFA.BO/UWiWts

Fortune 500 CEOs made 380 times more than average workers in 2011

Let’s not forget that these CEOs also pay a lower percentage of federal tax on their income than the average worker. I’m certain they earn 380 times more than the average worker for very good reasons. They work that much harder, or they’re that much more productive. Right? It certainly couldn’t be something like the rich and powerful gaming the political system for fun and profit.

Think Progress reports,

According to the latest edition of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Pay Watch report, the gap between CEO pay and worker pay expanded last year. In 2011, CEOs in the Fortune 500 made an average of $12 million, about 380 times what the average worker makes…

[...]  Meanwhile, workers saw their pay increase by just 2.8 percent last year. Already, most of the gains of the nascent economic recovery have been going to the richest Americans (just as they have for recent economic expansions). In 2010, the richest 1 percent captured 93 percent of the nation’s income gains.

The AFL-CIO is calling for regulators to implement a rule included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that requires companies to disclose their CEO-to-worker pay ratio. “Astronomical CEO pay is based on the false idea that the success of a corporation is due to one CEO genius. In reality, all employees create value, and CEO pay levels should be more in line with the rest of their company’s employee pay structure.

Read: Average Fortune 500 CEO Now Paid 380 Times As Much As The Average Worker 

If you agree with the Republican Party that these guys and their corporations should be deregulated even more (like chicken slaughter houses), that they should receive even more tax cuts that would be paid for with austerity measures for the rest of us, vote GOP! They might create a job one day.

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 4.21.2012

————————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

CNN’S DANA LOESCH tells ‘foreigner’ MSNBC’s Martin Bashir to ‘go back to his own country’ – Yesterday, Bashir called former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney a liar and said that by his own faith’s tenets, he’s going to hell for what he said about President Obama and the economy. That was apparently more than Loesch, a CNN contributor, erstwhile Andrew Breitbart protege and supporter of corpse desecration could stomach hearing about her party’s nominee. In a sputtering freakout rant from Thursday’s edition of “The Dana Show,” she called Bashir “an unintelligent hack” and “a foreigner” who isn’t qualified to cover U.S. politics. “I don’t want to hear a foreigner talking about media in this country, or politics in this country.” she said, “You don’t understand it.” She urged the award-winning journalist to go back to “his own country” and report on British politics and celebrities, “and be famous off of that.”

WOMEN ARE STUPID! AMIRITE? Presumptive GOP nominee MITT ROMNEY’s new foreign policy spokesperson RICHARD GRENELL has an odd penchant for targeting the wives of male politicians and women in general on Twitter. Grenell, who served as George W. Bush’s spokesperson at the UN and was announced as the Romney campaign’s new representative yesterday, has gone after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Callista Gingrich, Sandra Fluke and others. He also asserted that President Obama’s children should be fair game for political debate. A selection of his thoughts on women… In another comment, that has since been removed, Grennell discussed the first lady “sweating on the East Room carpet.” This afternoon, Grennell offered an apology, of sorts, for his attacks, writing, “my tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous but I can now see how they can also be hurtful. I didn’t mean them that way and will remove them from twitter. I apologize for any hurt they caused.” [New Romney Spokesman Used Twitter For Sexist Attacks]

MAKES YOU WONDER – HOW MUCH ROMNEY MONEY IS INVESTED IN A KEYSTONE PIPELINE ‘BLIND’ TRUST? Romney: I’ll build Keystone pipeline even ‘if I have to do it myself’ – Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast. “I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself,” Romney said during a speech before state Republican Party leaders gathered at a retreat in Arizona. [...] Romney, who took the stage to a standing ovation, delivered essentially the same speech he has given for the last two days, attacking President Barack Obama on everything from his handling of the economy to his policies on energy, health care and education. “The president has failed,” Romney said. He took specific aim at the Democratic Party’s ties to labor unions, accusing Obama of putting union heads above the needs of the American people. “That’s where they get their money,” Romney said. “And that’s where they pay obedience.”

Romney: I like firing people. Vote RepublicanIF BY ‘ENTREPRENEURSHIP’ YOU MEAN ‘LOWER TAXES FOR BILLIONAIRES’   Billionaire energy businessman William Koch, whose brothers finance an array of conservative political causes, directed another $1 million into a “super PAC” backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to new campaign finance records filed Friday. The donation to Restore Our Future was made through Huron Carbon, a subsidiary of Oxbow Carbon, a privately held coal and petroleum supplier that Koch founded and runs. The contribution means that Koch has steered at least $2 million to the super PAC: Last year, Oxbow Carbon gave $750,000 to Restore Our Future, while Koch personally gave the group $250,000. [...] “Bill Koch is becoming more engaged because he wants to see entrepreneurship in this country improve,” spokesman Brad Goldstein said Friday. “He has known Mitt Romney for more than three decades and believes Mitt Romney possesses the business skills needed to turn our economy around.” [latimes.com]

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

MAYBE OBAMA SHOULD HAVE PROMISED TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY TOO? Obama Campaign Faces Dropoff in Big Donations – With big checks no longer flowing as quickly into his campaign, Mr. Obama is leaning harder on his grass-roots supporters, whose small contributions make up well over half of the money he raised through the end of March, according to reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. And Mr. Obama is asking far more of those large donors still giving, exploiting his joint fund-raising arrangement with the Democratic National Committee to collect five-figure checks from individuals who have already given the maximum $5,000 contribution to his re-election campaign. “They clearly are feeling the pressure,” said one major Obama fund-raiser, who asked for anonymity to characterize his conversations with campaign officials. “They’re behind where they expected to be. You have to factor in $500 million-plus in Republican super PAC money.”

  • March fundraising report shows Romney even more dependent on wealthy donors than Barack Obama and George W. Bush in 2004. [Buzzfeed Politics]

YET THE GOP IS OKAY WITH CONTINUING TO SUBSIDIZE BIG OIL, BIG FARMS, ETC: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford,” Obama said in his weekly address. “That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it.” …”If Congress doesn’t act, on July 1 interest rates on some student loans will double,” Obama said. “Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments.” The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, introduced in the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2007 and passed on bipartisan votes, halved the rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent. If Congress doesn’t act, the rate returns to 6.8 percent. Republicans contend keeping the low interest rate costs too much… [Obama: GOP needs to prevent doubling of student loan rates]

  • IN FAIRNESS, it’s worth noting that Republicans have argued, accurately, that the lower rate would cost about $6 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office, and Democrats haven’t said much about how they’d pay for the extended rate freeze. Then again, House Republicans just passed an unnecessary tax cut bill with a $46 billion price tag, which they didn’t try to pay for, either. For GOP officials to say we can afford to add $46 billion to the deficit for a tax break, but we can’t afford $6 billion on student aid, is a problem. As for the president’s likely opponent, Mitt Romney has said he intends to dramatically scale back the federal role in helping students go to college. [Dems, GOP fight over student loan rates]

NEW AFL-CIO WEBSITE | EXECUTIVE PAYWATCH: Corporate Cash Hoarding Holds Back Job Creation – Since the Wall Street financial crisis, the largest U.S. non-financial corporations have amassed record levels of cash. But rather than investing these cash hoards to expand their operations and create jobs, many companies have shed workers in the United States. At the end of 2011, the largest non-financial companies in the S&P 500 Index had accumulated more than $1 trillion in cash, a historic high. Corporate cash was up 66 percent from the end of 2007, before the Wall Street financial crisis.[1] This comes at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent and more than 12 million Americans are looking for jobs. While overall employment at S&P 500 Index companies has grown since 2007, cash stockpiles have grown even faster. Most of this job creation has been overseas. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. parents of multinational companies cut a total of 864,000 jobs between 1999 and 2009, while their foreign affiliates added 2.9 million jobs.[2] Public companies are not required to disclose the percentage of their global workforce that is based in the United States. However, they must disclose the total number of employees, and a number of large companies have been cutting jobs while stockpiling cash.

(3/22) Thursday morning’s partially interesting things

1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

  • Obama: Romney Is ‘Pretending He Came Up With Something Different’ Than The Individual Mandate - During an interview with American Public Media’s Marketplace, President Obama defended the individual health insurance mandate and reiterated that likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney enacted a very similar policy as governor of Massachusetts. “[W]e designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans,” Obama told host Kai Ryssdal, “including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different.” Obama also predicted that the Supreme Court — which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of reform on Monday — will uphold the law and that “it will be very hard for any governor to explain why it is that they’re not giving people…an opportunity to get cheaper health insurance, better deal, more protections because of some ideological argument that they’re having with the president.” “And when people see that in fact it works, it makes sense — as it’s, by the way, working in Massachusetts — then I think a whole bunch of folks will say ‘Why aren’t we trying it as well?’”

2) MITT ROMNEY

  • Maddow chronicles the lies of ‘sketchy’ Mitt Romney - “This is hard to talk about in the day to day news context, because there are such low expectations for politicians being truthful and because the word ‘lie’ is both under-used and over-used to the point where everybody is a little touchy about it. But the degree to which Mr. Romney lies, all the time, about all sorts of stuff, and doesn’t seem to care when he gets caught is maybe the single most notable thing about his campaign… He lies all the time, really easily. He says things that are not true with unnerving frequency.” Watch video [image: wilwheaton]
  • Romney econ adviser posts “deport seniors” joke on blog  - Greg Mankiw, the Harvard professor who serves as one of Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers, has managed to take a shot at two key constituencies – Hispanics and seniors – in a single linked post on his popular economics blog. Under the header “A Fiscal Solution,” Mankiw, who served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, posted an uploaded photo of an unidentified newspaper clip, a joke, that read: “Budget Cuts: The Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and less likely to remember how to get home.” [...] Mankiw offered no comment other than “Thanks to the reader who sent this along” – but he clearly thought it was funny.
  • “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier…. I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”Mitt Romney, 3/20/12 in Chicago

3) RICK SANTORUM

  • Rick Santorum On GOP Budget: ACCELERATE the Spending Cuts - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he supports a House Republican budget proposal, but adds that the spending cuts included in it should be accelerated. Santorum says he would be more aggressive in achieving budget savings, including by doing away with cost-of-living increases in federal grants to states for Medicaid and food stamps. He also said that while some of the deficit cutting measures proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin would be phased in, he believes they should be imposed more quickly. [image: paxamericana]

4) REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN

  • Supreme Court Conservatives Void Part of Family Leave Act - So let me see if I have this straight: first, conservatives want to make sure you get pregnant by limiting access to birth control, then force you to have the baby by limiting access to abortions, then if you get fired for taking time off to have the baby, you have no right to recourse for being fired. Great. All these things that have been litigated decades ago and established as basic rights have been inverted. The very notion upset Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg enough for her to make an unusual step: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, on behalf of Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, took the rare step of reading her dissent aloud in court. She called the result “regrettable” and observed that the Kennedy opinion “pays scant attention to the overarching aim” of the law, which was “to make it feasible for women to work while sustaining family life.” Ginsburg said that the law was a reasonable effort by congress to ensure the equal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment for public employees facing discrimination. [image: pricklylegs]
  • Cathy McMorris-Rodgers Thinks Democrats Are Scaring Women - This woman is out of her fucking skull. How DARE she? Democrats are scaring women to drum up votes? Is she serious? Let’s take a little walk down GOP Fuckery Lane, shall we? Republicans are trying to shove foreign objects into our vaginas. Republicans are comparing us to fucking farm animals. Republicans are trying to force us to carry DEAD FETUSES in our wombs because hey—pigs and cows do it! Continued…

5) REPUBLICAN WAR ON THE 99% / PROTECTING THE ONE PERCENT

  • Paul Krugman: Flim-Flam Fever - Way back in 2010 I declared that Paul Ryan — who was rapidly becoming the darling of the “fiscal responsibility” crowd — was a fraud, a flim-flam man. [...] His latest budget proposal has received some harsh critiques. It calls for huge tax cuts, supposedly offset by closing loopholes and ending tax expenditures — except that in a long report he fails to name a single tax expenditure that he would cut. It assumes drastic cuts in discretionary spending, basically eliminating everything except defense. And over the medium term, of course, it’s a plan to savage the poor while giving big tax breaks to the rich. So actually two questions: are people finally willing to concede that Ryan is not now and has never been remotely serious? And — I know this is probably far too much to ask — are they going to do a bit of soul-searching over how they got snookered by this obvious charlatan? [image: liberalsarecool]
  • The House Budget Committee last night approved Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget by one vote, with two Republicans voting against it. [The Hill]
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement condemning the extreme right-wing budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI)“Just as Republican governors and state legislators are assaulting the rights of working Americans under the guise of budget crises, Rep. Ryan and Republican leaders in Congress are using the federal budget to further their own political agendas. Their credo is that tax giveaways to the super rich and Wall Street should be paid for on the backs of working people. They are holding the federal government hostage, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs and the services millions rely on, while simultaneously proposing irresponsible budget cuts. It is clear that they are not concerned with fiscal responsibility, but rather undermining their political opponents. This is simply further evidence of their determination to protect their friends on Wall Street at the expense of American jobs, seniors, our children and our future. As we recover from the worst economic crisis of our time, cuts to essential programs threaten to push us back into recession, or even depression. Shame on those Republicans more worried about the politics of their choices than the economic consequences.” 
  • Randon thought - I know whenever I, for example, notice a 60+ year old woman cleaning my hotel room, my first thought is “best raise the Social Security age to 70. Also, too, cut the benefits.”

6) MISC

  • NOM Launches Petty Boycott Of Starbucks Over Marriage Equality - A convenient excuse to cover up its crushing loss in New Hampshire yesterday, the National Organization for Marriage has launched a “Dump Starbucks” campaign in protest of the company’s support for marriage equality. The boycott’s website launched shortly after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rebuffed NOM’s complaints at a shareholders’ meeting yesterday: SCHULTZ: I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage and the tradition of the company that is perhaps maybe inconsistent with one group’s view of the world… We made that decision through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity.
  • Report Proves Health Reform Is Here To Stay: 49 States Have Already Taken Action Supporting Its Implementation - According to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund, “49 states and the District of Columbia have already taken action supporting the law’s implementation, such as passing legislation, issuing regulations or other guidance, or actively reviewing insurer filings.” Between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012, “23 states and the District of Columbia had taken new legislative or regulatory action on at least one of these reforms” — which include changes like expanding dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26, prohibiting lifetime limits on health benefits, and phasing out annual dollar limits on health benefits — and an additional 26 states had “taken other action to promote compliance with the reforms, such as issuing bulletins to insurers.”

3/19: Monday morning’s slightly interesting things

1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

  • Obama’s Spending Record: More Conservative Than Reagan’s - This is the kind of reality that makes Sean Hannity’s head explodes. So far, the GOP candidates have been running against a fictional president with a fictional record. Obama didn’t campaign to increase government spending, but inheriting what was in the final quarter of 2008 an annulaized contraction of 9 percent of GDP, he opted for a stimulus. That accounts for much of the spending. I know we are supposed – along with Fox News – to have total amnesia about the spending record of George W. Bush, wh had nothing like the recession Obama inherited to counter. But there it is. Along with the fact that of the last seven presidents, the top three are all Republicans…
  • Obama Plans Big Effort to Build Support Among Women - On Monday, mailings will go out to one million women in more than a dozen battleground states in three separate versions for mothers, young women and older women, campaign and party officials said. [...] The campaign’s effort to rally women around the health care law had been long planned, to coincide with the second anniversary of Mr. Obama signing it on March 23, campaign officials said. But the effort has gained intensity, they added, because of recent controversies over contraception, abortion and education in Washington and in state capitals that have energized people in the campaign’s far-flung field offices who are essential to putting any national strategy into action.
  • Sen. Daniel Akaka: Congress should stop targeting federal employees - Hard-working federal employees are being squeezed by Congress again, as some of my colleagues attempt to attach an extension of the pay freeze to pending highway funding bills. This comes after Congress last month effectively cut the pay of new employees by forcing them to pay more toward their pensions — permanently — to offset the costs of just 10 months of unemployment. I strongly oppose this new habit of picking the pockets of America’s dedicated middle-class public servants. [...]  CBO’s report said that workers without college degrees were paid higher average wages in the federal government than in the private sector, but noted that workers with college degrees — the bulk of the federal workforce — were paid about the same, and workers with graduate or professional degrees were paid significantly less. Averaged across all categories, federal workers were paid 2 percent more. However, the report was flawed. CBO relied on limited survey data of self-reported wages and occupations, and some federal contractors inaccurately reported that they are federal employees. CBO did not account for complexity or other aspects of jobs, instead using broad occupational categories. As Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry pointed out, we should pay the federal forklift operator transporting nuclear-tipped torpedoes more than the private-sector forklift operator moving boxes… [graph via: thebottom99percent.com]

2) THE 2012 GOP PRIMARY

  • After Santorum tells Puerto Ricans to speak English… Mitt Romney Wins Puerto Rico Primary - Late Sunday night, with 61 percent of the Puerto Rican votes counted, Romney had 83 percent of them. He won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake because he prevailed with more than 50 percent of the vote. That padded his comfortable lead over Santorum in the race to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Romney announced the Puerto Rico win at the Illinois rally and told the crowd, “I intend to become our nominee and I intend to get Latino voters to vote for a Republican and take back the White House.” The Santorum campaign accused Romney of pandering. “Mitt Romney says he supports English as the official language of America while on the mainland, but then says Puerto Ricans don’t have to learn English while he’s on Puerto Rico,” Santorum communications director Hogan Gidley said in a press release.
  • Santorum: Obama ‘exposing children’ to risk from porn  - In an undated statement on his official website, the former Pennsylvania senator asserted that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography” because Obama’s Justice Department was favoring “pornographers over children.” “Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships,” the statement says. “It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.” “Current federal ‘obscenity’ laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier,” the statement continues, adding that these laws should be “vigorously enforced.”
  • LGF: Santorum also accused President Obama of being an “appeaser of evil.” This is very sick stuff; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such twisted counter-factual arguments in a presidential campaign.
  • Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers

3) THE 21st CENTURY REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY

  • McCain: GOP needs ‘to get off’ contraception issue - McCain appeared once again on NBC’s Meet The Press (for a record 64th time) and told host David Gregory that the GOP needed to “get off” the issue and “fix the perception” their party currently has with women. “I think we have to fix that,” McCain said. “I think that there is a perception out there, because of the way that this whole contraception issue played out. We need to get off of that issue, in my view. I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives, and make that clear, and get back on to what the American people really care about: jobs and the economy.

4) REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN

  •  

    Tennessee Bill May Expose Identities Of Women Seeking Abortions - Tennessee lawmakers will consider a controversial measure on Wednesday that could intimidate women seeking abortions by requiring that the names of doctors who perform the procedures be published online. The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said at an initial hearing on the bill earlier this month that the reporting requirement writes into law a form that the Department of Health already asks providers to fill out whenever they perform an abortion. “The Department of Health already collects all of the data, but they don’t publish it,” he said. “All we’re asking is that the data they already collect be made public.”

5) HEALTHCARE REFORM  

  • Paul Krugman: Hurray for Health Reform - Can such a system work? It’s already working! Massachusetts enacted a very similar reform six years ago — yes, while Mitt Romney was governor. Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who played a key role in developing both the local and the national reforms (and has published an illustrated guide to reform) has surveyed the results — and finds that Romneycare is working pretty much as advertised. The number of people without insurance has dropped sharply, the quality of care hasn’t suffered, and the program’s cost has been very close to initial projections. Oh, and the budgetary cost per newly insured resident of Massachusetts was actually lower than the projected cost per American insured by the Affordable Care Act. Given this evidence, what’s a virulent opponent of reform to do? The answer is, make stuff up. We all know how the act’s proposal that Medicare evaluate medical procedures for effectiveness became, in the fevered imagination of the right, an evil plan to create death panels. And rest assured, this lie will be back in force once the general election campaign is in full swing. For now, however, most of the disinformation involves claims about costs…
  • U.S. Tells States How to Expand Medicaid in Health Law - The Obama administration on Friday told states how to enroll millions more low-income Americans into Medicaid under the health-care overhaul, 10 days before the Supreme Court begins considering a challenge to the law. The regulations, published by the Department of Health and Human Services, detail the scheduled expansion of Medicaid to cover a larger batch of low earners in 2014, when much of the health-care law is set to take effect. ‘Medicaid will look and feel like a very different program by 2015,’ said Cindy Mann, a top official at the agency charged with overseeing the changes. The Medicaid expansion is part of the broader case brought by opponents of Democrats’ 2010 health-care law that the Supreme Court will begin hearing March 26. To reduce the number of uninsured Americans, the law calls for adding 17 million or more additional people to the Medicaid program in the next decade.

6) PROTECTING THE WEALTH OF THE ONE PERCENT: GOP WAR ON THE 99%

  • Marginal Tax Rates and Wishful Thinking - At least since Calvin Coolidge, politicians have trumpeted the supply-side benefits of cutting marginal income tax rates. Lower rates will unleash economic growth and the cuts will largely pay for themselves — or so it’s often said. Yet careful studies find little evidence of such effects. Perhaps it’s time to reform tax policy based on facts, not worn-out assumptions…History shows that marginal federal income tax rates have varied widely…If you can find a consistent relationship between these fluctuations and sustained economic performance, you’re more creative than I am. Growth was indeed slower in the 1970s than in the ’60s, and tax rates were higher in the ’70s. But growth was stronger in the 1990s than in the 2000s, despite noticeably higher rates in the ’90s…If moderate increases in marginal rates wouldn’t much affect behavior, a mix of rate increases and cuts in tax expenditures might be a sensible path. [...] Finally, income inequality has surged in recent decades. Raising marginal rates on the wealthy is a straightforward, effective way to counter this trend, while helping to solve our looming deficit problem. Given the strong evidence that the incentive effects of marginal rates are small, opponents of such a move will need a new argument. Invoking the myth of terrible supply-side consequences just won’t cut it.
  • AFL-CIO calls for birth control access, immigration reform and overturning Citizens United - Broad statements on Fixing What is Wrong with Our Economy and Organizing and Growth sketch out a vision for the economy and for unions. To “fix what is wrong with our economy,” What we need now is an economic program as serious and far-reaching as the problem President Obama has correctly diagnosed. We must start by shifting the focus of U.S. economic policy from one of maximizing the competitiveness and profitability of corporations that happen to maintain headquarters somewhere on U.S. territory to one of maximizing the competitiveness and prosperity of the human beings who live and work in America. The AFL-CIO proposes massive “productive public investment” in education, energy, transportation, manufacturing, infrastructure and more, all paid for by letting the Bush tax cuts expire and imposing new or increased taxes on capital gains, financial speculation and income greater than $1 million. Related, we have to rein in the financial sector and expand and support manufacturing. Additionally, “it is essential that we tackle the problems of wage stagnation and economic inequality,” by increasing and indexing the minimum wage and reforming labor law, among other things.
  • Today in labor history, March 19, 1917:  The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an 8-hour workday, with overtime pay, for interstate railway workers.  Congress passed the law in 1916 to avert a nationwide rail strike. [via: todayinlaborhistory]

Wednesday morning’s 6 marginally interesting things

1) Rick Santorum

  • Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama - Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) pulled out narrow wins in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries Tuesday, bolstering his claim to being the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. “We did it again,” Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La.; that state will hold its primary March 24. “Who would have thought . . . that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in and day out?”

2) Mitt Romney

  • Romney Blows Another Chance To Seal The Deal - It’s clear your candidate didn’t have a great night when you have to go on CNN and remind viewers not to forget about the American Samoa caucuses. And Eric Fehrnstrom — the senior Mitt Romney aide who found himself in that precarious position Tuesday night — would probably admit: this was not a great night for his candidate. Despite early attempts to temper expectations for Romney’s performance in Alabama and Mississippi, tight polls and the candidate’s own election-eve bravado created the illusion of an open door — another chance to seal the deal with a big, hard-fought win.
  • Mitt Romney Said He Was Going to Win Alabama - Making it worse, his advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN tonight: “I don’t think anybody expected Mitt to win Alabama or Mississippi. As Mitt said, this was an away game for him, and I think that’s absolutely true.”
  • Romney: Forever Awkward / Tone deaf – Mornin’, y’all,” said Mitt Romney recently to a Mississippi crowd. He started his day off right, he said, with “a biscuit and some cheesy grits.” That would be cheese grits, but never mind. Would Romney greet an audience at a Jewish Community Center with: “Oy vey, did I ever enjoy my loxies and bagels this morning!”? Or African Americans with: “Yo, dawg, wassup?” Actually, yes, he might. Forever tattooed in the memory is the image of Romney approaching an African American baby at a 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Pointing to the baby’s necklace, he said: “What’s happening? You got some bling-bling here!”

3) Your 21st Century Republican Party / American Theocracy

  • McConnell: I’m Filibustering Seventeen Judges Because Reid Made Republicans ‘Look Bad’ - McCONNELL: It is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed. We’ve done a number of them this year. We’ve done seven this year. District judges are almost never defeated. This is just a very transparent attempt to try to slam dunk the minority and make them look like they are obstructing things they aren’t obstructing. We object to that. We don’t think that meets the standard of civility that should be expected in the Senate. And, so, any effort to make the minority look bad or attempt to slam dunk them that is sort of manufactured as this is is gonna, of course, be greeted with resistance.
  • PA Passes The Most Anti-Democratic, Anti-Environmental Law in The Country - Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. The draconian new law, known as Act 13, revises the state’s oil and gas statutes, to allow oil companies to drill for natural gas using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, where large volumes of water and toxic chemicals are pumped into vertical wells with lateral bores to shatter the rock and release the hydrocarbons. The law strips rights from communities and individuals while imposing new statewide drilling rules.
  • Romney Promises To ‘Get Rid Of’ Planned Parenthood’s Funding - ”The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” Romney said of federal programs. “And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrack, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.”Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Dawn Laguens responds: When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want. Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health. He supports so-called “personhood laws, opposes making birth control affordable and accessible, and wants to undermine women’s health care… [RSRomney attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in 1994 and his wife donated to the group from their joint checking account.

4) Womenfolk (make me a sandwich!)

  • Another Religious Freedom® Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Whore Pills - A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. [...] Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko‘s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. [...] Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.” [image: WWJD]
  • Obama team hits Romney for ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood comment “Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings,” she added. “Even more offensive is that he would justify on fiscal grounds the elimination of Planned Parenthood, which represents 0.01% of the federal budget, even as he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Whether it’s his support for the Blunt amendment, which would allow any employer to drop coverage for health care services like contraception because of personal beliefs, or these extreme comments today, it’s clear that American women cannot trust Mitt Romney to stand up for them.”
  • imageFLASHBACK: Limbaugh To “Feminazi[s]“: Love Your Body, “Because Nobody Else Does” - Rush Limbaugh is a pioneer in American misogyny: He popularized the use of the slur “feminazi” against women who seek to be treated equally in our society. Although he originally claimed that the word referred to “a specific type of feminist” and that there were “not many of them,” Limbaugh has routinely used it to attack feminists, abortion-rights advocates, and progressive women alike. In October 2008, he dragged out the slur to attack the National Organization for Women (NOW) for promoting “Love Your Body Day.” In a press release on its website, NOW said the day marked “another year in our campaign to educate and encourage women and girls to say ‘no’ to negative stereotypes and ‘yes’ to awareness, health, and a positive body image.”

5) President / Democratic Party

  • Obama files trade case against China, warns Beijing on ‘skirting the rules’ - China produces at least 90 percent of “rare earths,” and U.S. officials charge that it imposes export restrictions that unfairly raise the prices paid by non-Chinese firms that need those raw materials, making these less competitive on global markets. “We want our companies building those products right here in America. But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials which China supplies. Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening,” Obama said, stressing that the high-tech manufacturing at stake is “too important for us to stand by and do nothing.” The decision struck another blow at China at a time when U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Beijing accuse the rising economic giant of unfair competition that costs U.S. jobs, notably in manufacturing.
  • AFL-CIO ‘enthusiastically’ endorses Obama for reelection - Leaders of the influential AFL-CIO labor federation announced Tuesday it voted “proudly and enthusiastically” to endorse President Obama’s reelection effort. “We feel that he’s put forth bold initiatives and put people back to work, put revenues back in the country, put out a vision that expresses opportunity and fairness,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We think he’s a good man.” The council spoke to Obama by telephone during its closed-door session, in which the president sounded “very engaged, very knowledgeable,” according to McEntee, who serves as chair of the AFL-CIO’s political education committee. The vote, among the AFL-CIO’s 57 member executive council, was unanimous.
  • Texas Democrats Look To Secure Alternative Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood In The State - Democratic lawmakers are trying to find alternative ways to keep Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas afloat just one day before the state officially bans the organization from receiving funding through the joint state-federal Women’s Health Program. Tomorrow, a new rule goes into effect stopping any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider from receiving WHP funds, and federal officials have said they will cut off funding to the state program if Texas bans Planned Parenthood from WHP. If the program stops, 130,000 women will lose their access to affordable health care.
  • Obama considers quicker exit from Afghanistan after Kandahar massacre - The president had those words for reporters from the White House this week, and echoed those sentiments again on Monday to KDKA in Pittsburgh. “It’s important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don’t end up having to go back in,” said Obama. [...] But one day into the aftermath of the Sunday slaying of 16 civilians, the White House says they are looking for a faster way out of Afghanistan, even after already moving up the withdrawal date once in 2012. Prior to the latest episode, the US was expected to send 22,000 troops back to the States by September, leaving around 68,000 to stay until America formally forfeits in 2014. As for those remaining troops, though, Washington is now deciding if they should see an end to their tour as earlier as expected. [image: White House’s Flickr Stream]

6) Misc

  • Taking a time-out from trying to legislate women’s choices, Catholic Church Puts Legal Pressure on Survivors’ Network - Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. [...] “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.” [...] William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”
  • Bill Donohue: It’s ‘a Lot Less Expensive’ To Fight Victims Of Pedophile Priests - Donohue was one of the most vocal defenders of the Catholic Church during the height of the church’s pedophile scandal in the early 2000s, and more egregiously, he remains one of the only people to publicly attack the victims and their supporters. During a radio interview in 2009, Donohue downplayed the charges being leveled by victims because “almost everybody who was abused wasn’t raped.” He also dismissed complaints of priests kissing and engaging in “inappropriate sexual talk” to minors as a non-issue, saying that he “think[s] a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church.”
  • Celebrated war criminal / profiteer and beloved chickenhawk DICK Cheney says CANADA is ‘too dangerous’ for visit - Cheney was set to appear at an event in Toronto on April 24, but canceled on grounds that the risk of trouble from protesters was too great. Cheney’s last Canadian appearance in September of 2011 erupted in violence as protesters swarmed the entrance of the private Vancouver club where the former Bush administration official and Iraq War architect was speaking. The protesters rained down verbal abuse on attendees and, in once instance, choked a security guard. Vice President Cheney was trapped inside the venue for more than seven hours as police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd and quell to the resulting melee.
  • Americans hate regulations in the abstract, but love them in the particular - The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that government regulations of the food industry, car safety, workplace safety, prescription drugs, and even environmental protection should either be strengthened or be preserved as they are, with only a small fraction believing they should be reduced. [...] Americans also tend to favor more regulation when asked about specific industries: a plurality believe that the health insurance, energy, banks and big corporations are underregulated.

#OccupyWallStreet BY THE NUMBERS: What’s actually “too big to fail” … 1% or 99%?

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at the Take Back The American Dream summit:

Trumka said of Republicans, “If they want to have a debate on class warfare, we’ll have that debate,” because “It wasn’t our class that started the war on working Americans.”

Trumka used his time to illustrate many of the examples of what he termed the “strange morality” of the modern economy, from mass layoffs at Bank of America despite record profits to narratives in which “the jobless are blamed for the unemployment crisis.” He also noted that, “The years from 1997-2010 represented the first protracted decline in family income since the Great Depression.”

Yet, referring to the many debates in Washington this year, he asked “When are we going to recognize that this crisis is a jobs crisis, not a debt crisis?”

When it comes to the supercommitee charged with resolving said debt crisis, Trumka offered his take to great effect: “We’ll fight anyone from any party that tries to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”

[...] Trumka returned to the meat of his speech and his obvious rhetorical preferences: the economic crisis. “Americans want to work,” he intoned, “and we won’t stop fighting, shoving, pushing and kicking until every single one is back to work.”

And lest his opponents try to argue that “‘Government can’t create jobs,’” he promised his response would be, “‘Just you watch, we’ll make government create jobs.’”

To the Republican party and the 1% they represent:

Who’s supporting #OccupyWallStreet now?

Several Marines to support Occupy Wall Street (via: divineirony)

 So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform. I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:I didn’t fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it’s Congress’ turn.

My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the Fucking Marine Corps first. Let’s see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets.

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Hails Occupy Wall Street

Declaring that “Wall Street’s out of control,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has embraced street protests such as the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations—and others like them that are planned for cities across the country.

Asked about the ongoing mass protest in New York’s financial district, which has begun to gain support from major unions, Trumka said Friday morning: “I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.”

Occupy Wall Street movement receiving mail and supplies from supporters across the U.S.

Twice a day, the Occupy Wall Street movement gets mail – so much the protesters had to designate an official “mailman.”

Well-wishers and kindred spirits from across the country have been sending cardboard boxes bearing food, medical supplies, clothes and blankets to the masses who have camped out near Ground Zero since Sept. 14.

“I want to thank you for the many sacrifices you are making to better this nation,” read a note that Janet Bauer of Elk Grove Village, Ill., wrote to accompany her care package. She also threw in $30 in cash. “I’m a 51-year-old permanently disabled person who is unable to join you – but know my heart and hopes are with you.”

The nation and the world (see ACTIONS on right sidebar):

Related (past few days):

The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us.

image: occupywallst.org

Tuesday morning reading

Is Jabba-the-Limbaugh really taking pot shots at Michelle Obama’s diet?

More Scoop On Palin: Her Reliable Media Mouthpieces: Bailey names names: Bill Kristol, Mary Matalin, former Bush aides Jason Recher and Steve Biegun, GOP officials Nick Ayers and Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, and Bill O‘Reilly. Then this sentence: “We could normally expect them to repeat any coordinated message we sent.”

Budget baloney: Social Security isn’t to blame for deficit: Social Security isn’t responsible for the federal deficit. Just the opposite. Until last year Social Security took in more payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. It lent the surpluses to the rest of the government.

Detroit Schools Closing: Michigan Officials Order Robert Bobb To Shut Half The City’s Schools: The Detroit News says the financial restructuring plan will increase high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidate operations. – Isn’t it great that the wealthiest 1% in our country got a tax break though? Thanks GOP-Teaparty!

Wisconsin: Is it merely the fact that certain unions (police, firefighters, state troopers) supported Walker that they’re now exempted from his plan to take away collective bargaining rights? Or is it something more?

Flailing: Gov. Walker (R-WI) has just announced that tomorrow evening at 6 PM he’ll deliver what he’s calling a “fireside chat” to discuss the impasse in the state.

Madison AFL-CIO threatens to go out on a general strike.

Oil soars past $105 on Libya violence: Experts warned that oil prices could rocket to record levels beyond $147 per barrel — if the unrest spreads to Saudi Arabia.

Terrible things are happening to the protesters in Libya.

Fifty million “environmental refugees” will flood into the global north by 2020, fleeing food shortages sparked by climate change, experts warned at a major science conference that ended [yesterday].

Obama reminded Chamber of Commerce that it’s not all about them

AFL-CIO: We liked Obama’s challenge to the Chamber of Commerce

Obama’s reminder to business that they have a responsibility to America, that they can’t just worry about shareholders and the bottom line:

“Ask yourselves what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire American workers, to support the American economy, and to invest in this nation.”

Obama’s reminder to business that there are important regulations:

“For example, even as we work to eliminate burdensome regulations, America’s businesses have a responsibility to recognize that there are some safeguards and standards that are necessary to protect the American people from harm or exploitation.”

His reminder to business that changes in the tax code need to benefit everyone:

“If we’re fighting to reform the tax code and increase exports to help you compete, the benefits can’t just translate into greater profits and bonuses for those at the top. They should be shared by American workers, who need to know that expanding trade and opening markets will lift their standard of living as well as your bottom line. We cannot go back to the kind of economy — and culture — we saw in the years leading up to the recession, where growth and gains in productivity just didn’t translate into rising incomes and opportunity for the middle class.”

It was probably shocking for the CoC to hear that America might expect more of business than profit increases for their shareholders and huge bonus checks for their executives.  Certainly it needed to be said.

Campaigns: Labor spending vs. Chamber and other corporate spending

http://www.joeroselaw.com/cms/Portals/0/American%20Labor.jpg

Union disclosure unlike other groups’

…But when it comes to disclosure, talk of unions is a red herring. While they aren’t required by the FEC or IRS to disclose donors, a separate piece of federal law, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, requires that unions disclose all sources of income that adds up to more than $5,000, a requirement overseen by the Department of Labor. As a result, unions disclose more than many political groups about their internal operations, and certainly more than than do 501(c)(4) nonprofits like Crossroads GPS or 501(c)(6) groups like the Chamber.

In theory, a donor could write a check to a union, which would then spend the money on politics. But nobody I’ve talked to could think of what the advantage to that would be, or of an instance when it’s actually occurred.

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale called the union angle “phony” and a spokeswoman for SEIU, Michelle Ringuette, emails:

There are strict legal limits that help make our political efforts transparent. Most of our political funding comes from SEIU COPE, which reports its donors on a monthly basis, which cannot accept more than $5000 a year from any one donor, and whose donors overwhelmingly are a hundred thousand low wage workers contributing around $10 a pay period. To the extent we do political work funded by our general treasury, most of which is member to member work funded by and accountable to those same low wage workers. We don’t – and can’t – solicit contributions from non-members. And of course it is disclosed.

The Chamber and the shadowy 527 and c4 groups that have sprung up after Citizens United – perhaps more aptly called corporations united – are conduits for undisclosed corporate money, pure and simple. We are a union of working people, and the money we spend on politics is money donated by workers. Their attempt to liken us to them in this regard is at best ignorant and frankly wrong.

Just because an argument is “ignorant” and “wrong” won’t stop rightwing commentators from repeating it endlessly on Fox News and AM radio — in fact, it probably encourages even more repetition and fast talk. The GOP-Teaparty’s political narrative must arouse their base with enough fear and loathing to reach the desired outcome. Especially if the desired outcome is against their base supporter’s interests in the long run.

Related:

.

If GOP takes control of the House

If Republicans do take control of the House:

“That means that any chance of progress will be ended. You will go back to the economy that we saw where corporate [America] and Wall Street ran wild. You won’t get health and safety laws passed even though miners will continue to be killed…. You won’t see constructive legislation. You won’t see extensions of unemployment. You won’t see job creation…. And you will see the Social Security age [for retiring with full benefits] go up and the benefits go down.”

- Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President

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27 Aug: Morning in the bunker

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Politics:

Economy:

  • Bernanke Signals Fed Is Ready to Prop Up Economy
  • CBO: Repealing Medicare portions of health law would increase deficit by $455 billion
  • Krugman on the Fed’s options: It can buy more long-term and private debt; it can push down long-term interest rates by announcing its intention to keep short-term rates low; it can raise its medium-term target for inflation, making it less attractive for businesses to simply sit on their cash.

Yesterday:

Beckstock 8/28:

Sarah Palin has a Twitter-Tantrum at AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Palin is USUALLY having a tantrum on Twitter:

Trumka went to Anchorage, Alaska — Palin’s political backyard — to deliver a speech in which he is expected to criticize Palin’s language, which he says could incite violence from her supporters.

“And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about — and I quote — ‘union thugs.’ What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are,” Trumka will say. “That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers.”

Palin responded on her widely-followed Twitter account, saying:

Know our hardworking union friends (esp from my days as an IBEW sister, Todd IBEW & USW brother) aren’t sheep, they’ll ask: Trumka’s motive?
 
Think Trumka’s frustrations r w/Obama, not me (high unemplymnt, deals w/Obama&his subsequent broken promises)so understandable Rich’s ticked

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale quickly fired back, saying that she undermined her message by resigning as governor last year.

“Basically, she’s having a temper tantrum, putting her hands over her ears and yelling ‘la la la la la, I can’t hear you,’ ” Vale said. “Because if she had actually read the speech the motivation and message are crystal clear. She left working families in Alaska behind when she tried to trade up to Fox News and the Tea Party. We understand that she wants to keep up her faux populism and image as caring about ordinary people but her actions, policies and candidates she supports speak way louder than her tweets.”

IBEW “sister” my ass.