Jon Stewart: “It’s really a ‘right to work’ … around the union for the corporation.”

“It’s really a ‘right to work’… around the union for the corporation. It’s one of those things that are actually named for the opposite of the thing they do, like strip bars call themselves ‘gentlemen’s clubs.’ Or the TV network, dedicated to making us stupider, is called ‘The Learning Channel.’ Or a TV show that airs four days a week calls itself The Daily Show.

— JON STEWART, The Daily Show (via inothernews)

What’s next for labor in Michigan? Organizing a backlash…

Political Wire reports on what’s next for labor in Michigan:

Organized labor and its allies essentially have two options to overturn the state’s new “right-to-work” law signed yesterday by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

First Read: “First, they have filed legal actions charging that the process violated the state’s Open Meetings Act… Second, critics say they could overturn it by passing a voter-initiated law, which would require getting 258,000 signatures to get on the ballot. And, of course, there’s 2014, when Snyder is up for re-election.”

Fox News: Snyder braces for union backlash.

###

TPM: Whatever happens, the labor groups say, expect union attempts to exact political vengeance in 2014 when Snyder and other Republican members of the legislature who pushed the legislation are up for reelection. The likely first decision for pro-labor groups is whether to try and overturn the new right-to-work law at the ballot box. [...] The new law won’t take effect for 90 days after the end of the legislative session. It may take longer than that for the law to have a real effect — existing worker contracts are exempted from the new law. So labor and its allies has some time to figure out what to do next in Michigan. But labor groups are determined that Snyder’s signature was just the beginning of a new fight over worker’s rights in Michigan, not the end.

Right to work laws give you the “right to work” for less money

Why are Michigan Democrats opposed to right to work laws being contemplated by Gov. Rick Synder? “Workers are currently not required to join a union — …they simply wanted to preserve the right of unions to collect fees from non-members to pay for wage and benefit negotiations that actually benefit them.”

Michigan prepares for mass protests today against right-to-work legislation: Union leaders in Michigan have been training members in “peaceful civil disobedience” methods in preparation for a protest on Tuesday against controversial right-to-work legislation. Supporters of the law, which among other measures would prohibit unions from collecting fees from non-union workers, are also expected to demonstrate at the state capitol in Lansing. The Republican-dominated Michigan Senate voted the right-to-work bill on Thursday by 22 votes to 16. Governor Rick Synder has said he will sign the bill into law and could do so on Tuesday.

Laura Clawson reports on Obama’s appearance in Detroit yesterday:

Speaking in Detroit Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama strongly criticized the push by Michigan Republicans to pass an anti-union law during the lame duck session. In a speech largely focused on his proposal to tax income over $250,000 and making the case that “our economic success has never come from the top down, it comes from the middle out and the bottom up,” Obama characterized the bill being rushed through the Michigan legislature as political and part of a race to the bottom:

And by the way, what we shouldn’t do. I’ve just got to say this, what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions. These so-called right to work laws, they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.

You only have to look to Michigan, where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry, to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America. [...]

We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top. America’s not going to compete based on low skill, low wage, no workers rights. That’s not our competitive advantage. There’s always going to be some other country that can treat its workers worse.

That appears to be just what Michigan Republicans do want, however. After hearing from his state’s congressional Democrats, Gov. Rick Snyder once again insisted that the bill “is all about creating more and better jobs in Michigan.” In fact, we know that freeloader laws lower wages by about $1,500 a year for the average worker—the “right to work for less money” that President Obama referred to. 

The Waltons have created lots of jobs — but are they jobs YOU’d want to try to support your family with? How many of us want an American economy based almost exclusively on minimum-wage, no benefits “Mcjobs” — or a future for our children where, if you’re not born into wealth, those kinds of jobs are the only aspiration?

How Wall Street’s plutocrats consumed American industry and its blue-collar heart

Steve Fraser discusses the “archaeology of decline,” or “another Great Migration — instead of people, though, trillions of dollars were being sucked out of industrial America and turned into “financial instruments” and new, exotic forms of wealth.  If blue-collar Americans were the particular victims here, then high finance is what consumed them.  Now, it promises to consume the rest of us.”

Camden, New Jersey, for example, had long been a robust, diversified small industrial city.  By the early 1970s, however, its reform mayor Angelo Errichetti was describing it this way: “It looked like the Vietcong had bombed us to get even.  The pride of Camden… was now a rat-infested skeleton of yesterday, a visible obscenity of urban decay.  The years of neglect, slumlord exploitation, tenant abuse, government bungling, indecisive and short-sighted policy had transformed the city’s housing, business, and industrial stock into a ravaged, rat-infested cancer on a sick, old industrial city.”

That was 40 years ago and yet, today, news stories are still being written about Camden’s never-ending decline into some bottomless abyss.  Consider that a measure of how long it takes to shut down a way of life.

Once upon a time, Youngstown, Ohio, was a typical smokestack city, part of the steel belt running through Pennsylvania and Ohio.  As with Camden, things there started turning south in the 1970s.  From 1977 to 1987, the city lost 50,000 jobs in steel and related industries.  By the late 1980s, the years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency when it was “morning again in America,” it was midnight in Youngstown: foreclosures, an epidemic of business bankruptcies, and everywhere collapsing community institutions including churches, unions, families, and the municipal government itself.

Burglaries, robberies, and assaults doubled after the steel plants closed.  In two years, child abuse rose by 21%, suicides by 70%. One-eighth of Mahoning County went on welfare.  Streets were filled with dead storefronts and the detritus of abandoned homes: scrap metal and wood shingles, shattered glass, stripped-away home siding, canning jars, and rusted swing sets.  Each week, 1,500 people visited the Salvation Army’s soup line.

The Wall Street Journal called Youngstown “a necropolis,” noting miles of “silent, empty steel mills” and a pervasive sense of fear and loss.  Bruce Springsteen would soon memorialize that loss in “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”

And no one can forget Detroit. Once, it had been a world-class city, the country’s fourth largest, full of architectural gems.  In the 1950s, Detroit had a population with the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership in urban America.  Now, the “motor city” haunts the national imagination as a ghost town. Home to two million a quarter-century ago, its decrepit hulk is now “home” to 900,000.  Between 2000 and 2010 alone, the population hemorrhaged by 25%, nearly a quarter of a million people, almost as many as live in post-Katrina New Orleans.  There and in other core industrial centers like Baltimore, “death zones” have emerged where whole neighborhoods verge on medical collapse.

One-third of Detroit, an area the size of San Francisco, is now little more than empty houses, empty factories, and fields gone feral.  A whole industry of demolition, waste-disposal, and scrap-metal companies arose to tear down what once had been. With a jobless rate of 29%, some of its citizens are so poor they can’t pay for funerals, so bodies pile up at mortuaries.  Plans are even afoot to let the grasslands and forests take over, or to give the city to private enterprise.

Unprecedented for the United States, these numbers come close to the catastrophic decline Russian men experienced in the desperate years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Similarly, between 1985 and 2010, American women fell from 14th to 41st place in the United Nation’s ranking of international life expectancy. (Among developed countries, American women now rank last.)  Whatever combination of factors produced this social statistic, it may be the rawest measure of a society in the throes of economic anorexia.

One other marker of this eerie story of a developed nation undergoing underdevelopment and a striking reproach to a cherished national faith: for the first time since the Great Depression, the social mobility of Americans is moving in reverse.  In every decade from the 1970s on, fewer people have been able to move up the income ladder than in the previous 10 years.  Now Americans in their thirties earn 12% less on average than their parents’ generation at the same age.  Danes, Norwegians, Finns, Canadians, Swedes, Germans, and the French now all enjoy higher rates of upward mobility than Americans.  Remarkably, 42% of American men raised in the bottom one-fifth income cohort remain there for life, as compared to 25% in Denmark and 30% in notoriously class-stratified Great Britain.

Meanwhile, for more than a quarter of a century the fastest growing part of the economy has been the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector.  Between 1980 and 2005, profits in the financial sector increased by 800%, more than three times the growth in non-financial sectors.  …In the early 1990s, for example, there were a couple of hundred hedge funds; by 2007, 10,000 of them.  A whole new species of mortgage broker roamed the land, supplanting old-style savings and loan or regional banks.  Fifty thousand mortgage brokerages employed 400,000 brokers, more than the whole U.S. textile industry.  A hedge fund manager put it bluntly, “The money that’s made from manufacturing stuff is a pittance in comparison to the amount of money made from shuffling money around.”

For too long, these two phenomena — the eviscerating of industry and the supersizing of high finance — have been treated as if they had nothing much to do with each other, but were simply occurring coincidentally.

Here, instead, is the fable we’ve been offered: Sad as it might be for some workers, towns, cities, and regions, the end of industry is the unfortunate, yet necessary, prelude to a happier future pioneered by “financial engineers.” Equipped with the mathematical and technological know-how that can turn money into more money (while bypassing the messiness of producing anything), they are our new wizards of prosperity!

Unfortunately, this uplifting tale rests on a categorical misapprehension.  The ascendancy of high finance didn’t just replace an industrial heartland in the process of being gutted; it initiated that gutting and then lived off it, particularly during its formative decades.  The FIRE sector, that is, not only supplanted industry, but grew at its expense — and at the expense of the high wages it used to pay and the capital that used to flow into it.

Think back to the days of junk bonds, leveraged buy-outs, megamergers and acquisitions, and asset stripping in the 1980s and 1990s.  (Think, in fact, of Bain Capital.)  What was getting bought and stripped and closed up supported windfall profits in high-interest-paying junk bonds.  The stupendous fees and commissions that went to those “engineering” such transactions were being picked from the carcass of a century and a half of American productive capacity. The hollowing out of the United States was well under way long before anyone dreamed up the “fiscal cliff.”

Continue reading: Steve Fraser, The National Museum of Industrial Homicide | TomDispatch

And the GOP is calling for MORE austerity cuts for the rest of us while supporting an extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. How on earth do middle / working class Republican base voters justify this in their minds?

Donald Trump is a horse’s ass and other thoughts on Romney’s lies about Jeep

dailydot: That awkward moment when the Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler (which owns Jeep) calls you out on Twitter.

Detroit Free Press: “The larger question is: Why is this coming up at all at this late stage of the campaign? The answer is simple, political experts say. Both sides have known from Day One that this campaign would hinge, in large part, on the saving of Detroit’s signature business, and it’s still in Romney’s eleventh-hour interests to change the narrative that Obama gets the credit, especially in blue-collar parts of the battleground state of Ohio. No Republican president has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and Romney — in most polls — trails there. [...] Melissa Miller, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University south of Toledo, said she doesn’t think the Romney campaign would be making the claim if they didn’t think it was going to help them, though she thinks its effectiveness is very much in doubt. “He’s probably put some fear in the minds of some people who work for Jeep, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re being told right there on the factory floor — by management — that this is a false claim,” she said.”

Romney Style: How to Destroy Your Campaign’s Credibility in Five Easy Steps:

The Romney Campaign’s game plan: Fear. And hoping Ohio voters are stupid. It is literally all they have.

Hunter / Daily Kos:

“A reminder: Mitt Romney has had to absolutely kowtow to this man. [...] Does Mitt Romney—or any Republican, for that matter—care in the slightest that Trump is a rotten boil on the political landscape? Do they give a damn that the Republican brand has so thoroughly been reduced to pandering to the least common denominator of their base, all the rest of reality be damned? Of course not. No matter how big a fool this dimwitted, Palinesque publicity hound makes himself, Mitt Romney will still shake his hand, and Paul Ryan will still hold private fundraisers with the man. [...] Welcome to the modern Republican Party. These are the people who are chosen not to be shunned, but to speak for the party, and guide the party, and raise money for the party, and appear on television for the party, and hold the reins of party leadership. Congratulations, Republican Party. Whatever depths of vapidity and grifting you might have been aiming for, I’d say you’ve managed to get there and then some.”

Tweet of the Day:

FIVE DAYS LEFT: VOTE!!

Growing up Romney


Grey Villet—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Caption from March, 1958, issue of LIFE. “With ‘Mitt,’ 10, youngest of Romney children, [George Romney] inspects house at Bloomfield Hills which he and his wife designed.”


Grey Villet—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not originally published in LIFE. George Romney with his son, Mitt, 1958


Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Caption from February, 1962, issue of LIFE. “At end of a long day on the new state constitution — and after a quick change to pajamas — Romney falls asleep on fold-back seat of his car as the chauffeur begins the trip back to Bloomfield Hills.”


Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Caption from February, 1962, issue of LIFE. “After Sunday services the Romneys crowd onto a sofa in living room. Son Mitt and married daughters Jane and Lynn are at the rear. From left, grandchildren are Gregory (held by Lenore), Douglas, Susan, Brett and Jody. Another son, Scott, is in England with a mission group.

**************My SIDE NOTE: U.S. involvement in Vietnam escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations spanned international borders, with Laos and Cambodia heavily bombed. American involvement in the war peaked in 1968, at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, U.S. ground forces were gradually withdrawn as part of a policy known as Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.***********

Mitt wasn’t the only fortunate son from that family — or the last.


Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not originally published in LIFE. Lenore Romney, wife of Michigan governor George Romney, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1963


Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not originally published in LIFE. George Romney officiates during a Mormon service, Michigan, 1962

Growing Up Romney: Mitt’s Early World | LIFE (see all photos) — Nevertheless, it remains clear that President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s backgrounds are part of the larger national conversation this fall. Electing a commander in chief solely on the basis of his experience of childhood would, of course, be absurd; but ignoring the public curiosity about where these men came from would be equally silly. Both candidates, after all, have proudly proclaimed that the people who raised them unquestionably shaped the way they see the world. These photos, ultimately, offer one, small window through which to view the world in which Mitt Romney was raised. His father (“lean, hard George Romney,” as LIFE put characterized the AMC chairman and president in 1958) is here, as are his mom and his siblings. Some of the pictures feel rather stagey; others seem genuinely informal and, as it were, intimate; all of them suggest a close-knit family defined, in large part, by its faith and by the pursuits of its dynamic patriarch. Taken as a whole, they’re one more piece to the puzzle that is the current Republican candidate for president. This is not an exhaustive portrait, but instead a glimpse into what it was sometimes like — at least when reporters and photographers were around — growing up Romney.

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 6.6.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

“But if people only watch the three big networks … a lot of people will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can’t get those crazy Republicans to help him out.” Mike Huckabee, commenting on what people would think of President Obama without Fox News

Romney should probably stop talking about the auto-industry rescue altogether — The Republican has repeatedly argued that GM and Chrysler should have relied on private funding to restructure and get back on their feet. That, of course, was impossible. In early 2009, the credit markets were frozen and there was no private funding available. (When a company called Bain Capital was approached, it refused to invest.) And so it appears that Romney is shifting once again, not only taking credit for a policy he attacked, but also saying taxpayer support “was fine,” after arguing for three years it wasn’t fine. The new twist is that Romney is on board with public support after, but not before, bankruptcy, but that doesn’t make sense, either — GM and Chrysler would have never survived the bankruptcy process without federal intervention. Romney could simply try the truth — he should admit, “I was wrong” — but that seems to be the only position he hasn’t tried yet. – Steve Benen

 
images: sandandglass

How things change! Emails show how Romney pushed Massachusetts health bill: Romneycare – The emails show the Republican governor was closely engaged in negotiating details of the bill, working with top Democratic state leaders and drafting early copies of opinion articles backing it. Mr. Romney and his aides, meanwhile, strongly defended the so-called individual mandate, a requirement that everyone in Massachusetts have or buy health insurance. And they privately discussed ideas that might be anathema to today’s GOP—including publicly shaming companies that didn’t provide enough health insurance to employees. – WSJ

This can’t be re-stated enough: if Romney wins, he’ll pay himself  $5 million — One of the perks of being a Republican president: Under his plan, Romney’s tax rate would fall from its current 14.7 percent to 13.1 percent, while under Obama’s tax plan, Romney would pay a 34.3 percent rate. The difference in these rates means about $5 million for Romney’s tax bill. By the way, Romney’s $5 million personal tax cut would add to the deficit. You know, because he’s a fiscal hawk and really, really cares about the deficit and debt. – Bob Cesca

Hey, struggling homeowners! Mitt Romney hates you.

Nobel-winning economist predicts Romney recession – Economist Joseph Stiglitz is hitting the media circuit to promote his new book.. Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, the Nobel Prize-winner and former World Bank chief claimed that if former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) is elected president in 2012, the risk of another recession will go up “significantly.” “The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession,” he said. – Raw Story

Lindsey Graham wants more wars – SO YES TO TAXES! Mr. Graham is openly talking about revenue increases to offset the costs. Even South Carolina’s ardently conservative House members, Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson and Jeff Duncan, said last week that they were ready to talk.  [...] “The debate on the debt is an opportunity to send the world a signal that we are going to remain the strongest military force in the world,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘We’re going to keep it, and we’re going to make it the No. 1 priority of a broke nation.’ ” To that end, his arguments grow increasingly complex, involving a near-term confrontation with Syria and what he is sure will be a military strike on Iran late this summer, “an air and sea campaign from hell,” he tells an audience in Sumter. A large screen at the Third Army command center in nearby Shaw Air Force Base seemed to back him up on that. It broadcast a multicolored map of Iran with its air defenses demarcated in loud, red circles. – NYTimes

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA ) blatantly lies about Obama giving TSA waivers to Muslims – on conservative talk radio Monday… Landry [blatantly lied about the Obama administration and an imaginary] Transportation Security Administration program that lets Muslim passengers through security without even so much as a sideways glance. [...] The TSA gives no waivers, special rights or exceptions based upon religious beliefs. The only people who get special treatment are those willing to pay for it by submitting to a pre-screening process. Minorities, such as Muslims, Sikhs and people who appear to be from the Middle East, have typically reported facing even greater scrutiny by TSA agents than other passengers. Rep. Landry appears to have invented the claim as a way of illustrating another imagined controversy: that Obama is secretly punishing people of his own faith because of his spiritual preference for Muslims. — Raw Story

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

“Nobody has seen a communist in over a decade.”Bill Clinton, quoted by The Hill, criticizing House Republicans for failing to reprimand Rep. Allen West (R-FL) who claimed as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are members of the Communist Party.

Michigan had sixth highest rate of growth in 2011: no wonder Romney keeps etch-a-sketching his earlier opinions on Detroit and letting it go bankrupt — New data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that Michigan, the home of the American auto-industry, had the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation in 2011. […] For comparison’s sake, the Michigan economy shrank by 9 percent in 2009. Now the state boasts the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation. An unprecedented turnaround that occurred in just two years. — Bob Cesca

Some Republicans are now willing to increase taxes, as Democrats have been pushing for all along (but only to preserve military spending) – In March, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) pointed out that a “vote to extend the Bush tax cuts in their entirety would, in essence, be the vote to lock in sequestration” by cutting down on revenue to offset government debt. The Times report today pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is unlikely to allow sequestration to be averted without a debt reduction package that includes increased government revenue. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was more blunt speaking to the Times, noting that the Republicans that supported last August’s Budget Control Act — 28 in the Senate and 174 in the House — were given the choice of automatically-triggered military spending cuts or tax increases. Van Hollen said: The consistent pattern here is they have chosen to defend special interest tax breaks over defense spending. They made that choice.Think Progress

Tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for the rest of us: pension cuts – “In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers,” the New York Times reports. Wall Street Journal: “Since the recession, dozens of state legislatures and city councils throughout the U.S. have scaled back benefits and jobs in an attempt to plug large budget holes. But unlike most efforts to rein in pension costs, the San Jose measure targets current workers and retirees rather than focusing only on workers that have yet to be hired.” – Political Wire  

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer charges GOP with Obstructionism – “It’s not ‘our way or the highway,’ it’s ‘our way or no highway.’ No jobs. No progress. No consensus. No agreement,” Hoyer said. “So what the Republican hardliners are doing, are saying, [is], ‘We won’t agree in conference, we won’t come to agreement, we won’t help create jobs in America … unless we get our way.’” — Roll Call News

[I]t seems Wisconsin Democrats have managed one significant, if largely symbolic, victory for the night by apparently reclaiming control of the Wisconsin state senate. There were four state senate recalls tonight. Dems needed one to flip control of the state’s upper house. Three of those the Republicans won handily. But they appear to have won the 21st district. […] 16 of the 33 seats are again up for election in 5 months. – TPM

Scott Walker steps right up into the pocket of those who got him there — Make no mistake. A star was born last night. You will now see Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, everywhere in the energetic precincts of the revived American right. He will be on the covers of their startlingly advertising-free little magazines. He will be the darling of every wingnut blogger in the extended monkeyhouse; poo will be flung high and far in celebration of him. He will have a high-profile speaking role in Tampa this August, and it is very likely that there are people in Iowa who already are booking house parties for the late autumn of 2015 in his honor. He will be a bigger presence on Fox News than are Brit Hume’s jowls or Shep Smith’s gradually swelling public rage. I will tell you what: Willard Romney better be damned glad that he’s already clinched the nomination, and that Walker didn’t win this recall a year ago. And, because they are a timid flock of ruminants, the rest of the elite political press corps will wander, sheeplike, in his general direction, grazing amid the unmitigated manure of his victory speech here last night. Oh, Lord, are we going to be hearing about what a “turning point” in Walker’s career that speech was. – Charles P. Pierce

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 5.12.2012

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

An email campaign endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched this week (pictured, below) depicts a rifle pointing at President Barack Obama’s head, and a message about an imaginary “million rifle ban” the president is allegedly seeking to implement. “Death threats against this president are up 400 percent as compared to President Bush,” Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Raw Story on Thursday. “We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president — would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president's] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.” — Raw Story

  • UPDATE — 5/11: The image housed at the website for the campaign has been changed. The rifle now points toward the head of Sen. Paul. — HuffPo

~~~

HOW ARE WE DOING AS A SOCIETY? Trayvon Martin gun range targets were sold online “to make money off the controversy,” report says — The targets reportedly do not show Martin’s face, but feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest. A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea. Martin reportedly was carrying both items the night of his death.  [...] According to WKMG, the seller of the targets told them in an email exchange that the “main motivation was to make money off the controversy.” — CBS News

Harry Reid finally gets fed up with ‘mindless’ Republican obstructionism over the refusal of Senate Republicans to pass a completely non-controversial reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on the grounds that they wanted time to offer amendments. “It’s so unusual here,” Reid continued. “I have been here in Congress thirty years, but this is a new one. Even bills that they agree on, they want to mess around with. In years past, this would have gone through here just like this [snapping his fingers]. … The House passed something 330 to 93, and we’re here playing around with it? It should be done. We should have passed it yesterday. This thing is going to expire.” “It’s hard to comprehend what the new mantra of the Republicans in the Senate, what it is,” he added. “I don’t get it.” — Raw Story

  • Reid expressed regret that he had not supported a proposed change to the filibuster rule in January 2011, but had instead entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to keep it intact.
  • NOTE: If the Democrats hold their Senate majority, Democratic voters will need to remind Harry Reid and others that there can be no ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ with Republicans anymore. Ever. There is no more trust.

The 111th Congress was practically defined by Republicans who turned an extraordinary measure–the filibuster–into a routine tool of obstruction. GOP senators invoked holds and filibusters on virtually everything that came from Senate Democrats, resulting in a session that saw more filibusters than any previous session in history. This nifty graph is illustrative. [...] At this point, I’m honestly unsure of what will convince reporters to cease the constant equivalence between the two parties. Democrats aren’t angels, of course, but the Republican Party has embarked on a crusade against the norms that govern conduct in the Senate. It’s totalistic approach to politics is responsible for congressional dysfunction, and placing blame on both sides only makes the problem harder to solve. — Prospect.org

Maddow Blog: It’s a good thing we didn’t let Detroit go bankrupt: “U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best showing since 2007 and a third straight year of at least 10 percent gains, only the fourth such streak since the Great Depression, as more-confident buyers return to showrooms.”

Mediaite: Geraldo Rivera appeared on Fox & Friends on Friday where he described an intrusive inspection he had received from a Transportation Security Administration officer on a recent trip to Afghanistan. “I got manually raped by a guy,” said Rivera. “This guy, it seemed to me, was getting off on it.” (NOTE: it was a TSA pat-down, something thousands of people go through every day.)

TPM: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on Obama: “Call me cynical, but I didn’t think his views on marriage could get any gayer.”

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



President Barack Obama gave Congress a “to-do list” for fixing the economy in his weekly address broadcast Saturday. Obama’s suggestions:
1) ending tax breaks for companies that outsource work overseas,
2) help homeowners refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates,
3) increasing tax benefits for small businesses that hire,
4) increasing tax benefits for small businesses that hire and extending tax credits for clean-energy companies,
5) and creating a Veterans Job Corps for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are re-entering the private sector.

“… America’s real problems have nothing to do with what we do in our bedrooms and everything to do with what top executives do in their boardrooms and executive suites. We’re not in trouble because gays want to marry or women want to have some control over when they have babies. We’re in trouble because CEOs are collecting exorbitant pay while slicing the pay of average workers, because the titans of Wall Street demand short-term results over long-term jobs, and because of a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading, and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations.” Our crisis has nothing to do with private morality. It’s a crisis of public morality – of abuses of public trust that undermine the integrity of our economy and democracy … .” — Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in Of Bedrooms and Boardrooms [via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president]

Daily Kos: Tom Barrett gets an Obama campaign assist in Wisconsin recall against Scott Walker — The next election here in Wisconsin is coming up on June 5th — and it’s important to make sure your voice is heard. For the last year and a half, Governor Walker has divided Wisconsin — siding with big corporations and the super-rich at the expense of working, middle-class families. He’s broken our trust in state government: Too many Wisconsin families are out of work, students face crowded classrooms, and working men and women will be hurt by cuts to health care funding.

  • Charles P. Pierce: The microphone is always open, the camera is always on, and Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwestern subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, is always saying the wrong thing to the wrong people. In the video in that link there, which you should really watch all the way through, the billionaire Diane Hendricks tells Walker she wants to discuss “controversial” subjects away from reporters…
  • In the video, Diane Hendricks, who owns a roofing wholesale and siding distribution company, asks Walker: “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions—” Walker: “Oh, yeah.” Hendricks: “—and become a right-to-work? What can we do to help you?” Walker: “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.” — Daily Kos
  • Walker has said publicly before that he wouldn’t pursue right-to-work. Asked about right-to-work earlier this year by The Atlantic’s Molly Ball Walker had said, “When I was in the legislature, I supported it. It’s not something I’m pursuing right now, nor have any plan of pursuing. Again, private-sector unions have been our partner in the economic revival we’ve had in this state.” — Buzzfeed

Asked whether he would be at a disadvantage politically if gays galvanize behind Obama’s reelection campaign, Romney said, “Hopefully, people are focusing on the major issues of the day, which relate to our economy, getting people back to work, dealing with Syria…. But I know for many people, the issue of marriage is going to be a defining issue, and they will make their decision on that basis. That is their right. But you don’t change your position to try to win states or certain subgroups of Americans. You have the positions you have, and you know, for a long time, I think since the beginning of my career, I have made it very clear that I thought that marriage should be a relationship between a man and a women.” — NationalJournal.com

Think Progress: Insurers Will Pay $1.3 Billion In Rebates To 16 Million Consumers Because Of Obamacare – Thanks to a provision of the Affordable Care Act, 16 million consumers and businesses are expected to receive about $1.3 billion in rebates from health insurance companies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The medical loss ratio rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of premiums on patient care; if not, then the companies owe rebates to their customers. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explains, “We want to know that most of what we are paying for is for health care, not advertising, executive bonuses or overhead. It’s pretty simple: we want to get a good value for our premium dollars.”

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 4.5.2012

THE SHORT BUS: YOUR 2012 REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY 

“Nobody thinks Romney’s going to win. Let’s just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment — I’ve yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won’t say it on TV because they’ve got to go on TV and they don’t want people writing them nasty emails.” — Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe (via)

Here’s Some Advice for Mitt Romney – Matthew Dowd — Let go of the bitter fight with Rick Santorum and understand the key strategic imperative is to unite the party. Being bigger than Santorum will show how confident you are and how generous you can be. Don’t run any more negative ads against Santorum; let it be OK for him to win his home state and possibly save face. Tell your staff to quit attacking him and his campaign. Choose either to be all positive about yourself or to only contrast yourself with Obama. This will show how smart your campaign is and how able you are to adapt to a new moment. It is Easter, by the way, and as many folks of faith celebrate a new beginning and the power of compassion. Adopt this same sentiment. [image: politicaldirtylaundry]

Santorum struggles to stay relevant as Romney and Obama begin face-off  — Romney has already launched the first of what is expected to be a barrage of attack adverts targeting Santorum’s record as a US senator from the state for 12 years. Romney has accused him of betraying conservative values by voting to raise the national debt and of being compromised by years in Congress. [...] Romney commanded the most support among strong backers of the Tea Party movement and ran a close second to Santorum among voters who identified themselves as very conservative or as evangelical Christians. In early contests, such as South Carolina, Romney did badly with those groups. After Tuesday’s losses, Santorum pledged to defy pressure from “the Republican establishment and aristocracy” to drop out of the race and said he would keep going through the primaries in May. “Who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?” he said. But if Santorum loses the race in Pennsylvania, the pressure to step aside and allow the Republican party to concentrate on its campaign against Obama will intensify.

Rick Santorum Trails Mitt Romney In Pennsylvania, Poll Says — The notion that Santorum has a shot at the Republican nomination even with a victory in Pennsylvania was already a bit far-fetched. A loss there would likely convince even the most passionate backer that the gig is up. But the practical effect of poll numbers like these is greater then just providing a window into where the race currently stands. Santorum has a lot — personally and professionally — riding on his performance in Pennsylvania. And it’s not unreasonable to see him feeling intense pressure to bow out of the contest out of concern that he’d suffer an embarrassing loss.

Planned Parenthood Bomber: ‘They’re Killing Babies There’ – Francis Grady, who’s accused of firebombing a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinic on Sunday night, appeared in court today and settled the question of whether or not he’s an anti-choice fanatic: he is. A Grand Chute man accused of setting a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. Francis Grady, 50, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Sickel he planned to plead guilty, but Sickel ignored the statement and scheduled Grady for an April 19 preliminary hearing. At one point, Grady interrupted him to ask, “Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?”

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

At UAW legislative conference, Obama defends auto bailout – “I placed my bet on the American worker and I’ll make that bet any day of the week,” the president declared to the UAW delegates. He praised the union, saying it was a major factor in making American history, including enabling the country to “defeat fascism” in World War II and the creation thereafter of the middle class itself. He also slammed the Republicans for their concentration on so-called “value” issues. “I keep hearing these same folks talk about values all the time,” he said. “You want to talk about values? Hard work – that’s a value. Looking out for one another, that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I am my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper that’s a value. “They’re out there talking about you like you’re some kind of special interest that needs to be beaten down,” Obama declared. “They are wrong. That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. We can’t afford to go back to it. Not now.” [image: moveon]

What Detroit’s Resurgence Says About The Auto Bailout — Mitt Romney attacked the Volt the same day the big three released their new numbers. “I’m not sure America was ready for the Chevy Volt,” he said. “I mean, I hope it does well, I don’t want to disparage any product coming out of Detroit. But I think instead of having politicians tell us what kind of cars we ought to make, we ought to let the people who are trying to understand the market make that decision.” Romney also continues to struggle with his original position on the bailout — outlined in a memorable 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” “If by chance people don’t remember that editorial, we’re going to remind them of it,” said Don LaForest, chairman of the UAW’s bargaining committee at the Detroit Hamtramck plant, where the Volt is made. Rattner believes it’s a safe bet that the bailout will become a major campaign issue. “That the auto bailout has had a very positive impact on the country is the message you’ve seen the White House use and they should continue to use it,” Rattner told TPM. “There were some pretty amazingly incorrect predictions made by people who were against the bailout. They should step back and rethink their hypotheses.”

WE ARE LIKELY TO HEAR A LOT MORE ABOUT SOCIAL DARWINISM in the months ahead. It was the conservative creed during the late 19th century – legitimizing a politics in which the lackeys of robber barons deposited sacks of money on legislators’ desks, and justifying an economy in which sweat shops were common, urban slums festered, and a significant portion of America was impoverished. — Robert Reich: The Choice in 2012: Social Darwinism or a Decent Society

Clinton: Unilateral Israeli Attack On Iran Now ‘Is Not In Anyone’s Interest’ — REENA NINAN: How successful has the U.S. been in getting and preventing Israel from taking unilateral action against Iran? CLINTON: Well we’ve worked very hard with Israel on all levels from the military, intelligence, strategic, diplomatic level to make sure we were sharing information, that we knew what each other was assessing. And it’s our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone’s interest for them to take unilateral action. It is in everyone’s interest for us to seriously pursue at this time the diplomatic path.

Monday morning’s 9 just barely interesting things

1) Mitt Romney and NASCAR — he’s just like us! (not) - Mitt Romney visited the Daytona 500 rally in Florida on Sunday, praising what he called a “quintiseentially American” sport. Asked whether the trip outside of Michigan was a sign of confidence that he would win the hotly-contested state, he replied, “No, it’s a sign of a guy who loves cars.” It’s what happened next, though, that has set the net ablaze. Here’s how CBS News described it: [...] Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

2) Rick Santorum’s NASCAR car “The Frothy” (but where are the brown splat marks?) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes the car his campaign is sponsoring in the Daytona 500 today can have the same come-from-behind success as his campaign. The Santorum campaign is sponsoring Front Row Motorsports’ Car #26, a Ford Fusion driven by veteran race car driver Tony Raines, in the premiere stock car event of the season taking place today in Daytona Beach, Florida.

3) Rick Santorum is a Dangerous Demagogue – Rick Santorum is dangerous. There’s no other way to put it. He’s now saying things that could literally lead to the deaths of more service members serving in Afghanistan right now. Speaking in Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, Rick Santorum addressed an incident Sunday in which 7 U.S. service members were injured in a protest in response to U.S. military members burning a Koran. Santorum called the protestors evil, using the word repeatedly. He also condemned President Obama’s apology over the Koran-burning incident, saying that apologies only incite more violence because they are a show of weakness. Let me get this straight — apologizing for burning Qurans is a sign of weakness and will somehow lead to more violence? And repeatedly calling those who were offended ‘evil’ is supposed to help?

  • Car bomb hits airport in eastern Afghanistan – The blast comes a day after demonstrators hurled grenades at a U.S. base in northern Afghanistan, and a gun battle left two Afghans dead and seven NATO troops injured Sunday in the escalating crisis over the burning of Muslim holy books at an American airfield. More than 30 people have been killed, including four U.S. troops, in six days of unrest. Still, the top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan said the violence would not change Washington’s course.
  • Taliban: Blast was retaliation for burning

4) We Don’t Need No Education – “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum sniped. “What a snob!” [...] Yes, increased knowledge tends to generate a more liberal world view. But it’s not a wild sci-fi conspiracy. It’s just reality. When you learn more about important things you tend to realize that the world is more complex and diverse than a GOP bumper sticker. College students are taught to think critically and independently by default due to the difficulty of the material — not through some kind of mandate. And this kind of critical thinking tends to produce a more liberal perspective rather than a lockstep conformist perspective.

  • Flashback: In 2006, Rick Santorum Wanted To Send All Pennsylvanians To College

5) Studies Refute Santorum’s Claim That College Makes People Less Religious - “Contrary to our own and others’ expectations, however, young adults who never enrolled in college are presently the least religious young Americans,” the journal concluded, noting that “64 percent of those currently enrolled in a traditional four-year institution have curbed their attendance habits. Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.” Or Santorum may have been referring to a 2006 Harvard study in which 62 percent of college Republicans said “religion is losing its influence on American life.” But that study negates Santorum’s larger point: It found that “a quarter of students (25%) say they have become more spiritual since entering college, as opposed to only seven percent (7%) who say they have become less spiritual.”

6) Sick man – So is the idea that the first Catholic president was sickening a big seller among Catholics these days? Who knew? I don’t think Ricky understands his history very well. Evidently, he was unaware that in 1960, conservatives thought of Catholics the same way think of Muslims today. He seems under the impression that America was a wonderful religiously tolerant nation until the horrible secularists came along and ruined everything. I guess he didn’t know about this, perpetuated, by the way, not by the secularists who didn’t give a damn, but by his favorite allies, the right wing protestants.

  • Does Ronald Reagan make Santorum want to ‘throw up’ too? - But I really wonder if Santorum is prepared to level the same accusation against Ronald Reagan: “We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.” Hear the retching? That’s Santorum. Just wait till he finds about Vatican II.
  • Rick Santorum’s tiny mental Jesus is telling him lies – Kennedy did not say that “people of faith have no role in the public square,” nor did he say that “faith is not allowed in the public square.”  Not even close. Kennedy said that all people and churches should be created equal.  That’s it.  It’s a simple concept, really—one that Republicans, the self-styled masters of the Constitution, should have grasped by now.  Frankly, I can’t even begin to understand what Santorum’s Brain was thinking when it interpreted Kennedy’s speech as some sort of attack on faith and the First Amendment. It is nutbaggery most foul, and I simply do not get it.

7) How the 2012 Primary Has Revealed a GOP on the Verge of Collapse – many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”

8) Putin warns attack on Iran would have “truly catastrophic” consequences - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the “growing threat” of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, warning that the consequences would be “truly catastrophic.” In an article on foreign policy for publication on Monday, six days before a March 4 presidential election he is almost certain to win, Putin also warned Western and Arab nations against military intervention in Syria. “I very much hope the United States and other countries … do not try to set a military scenario in motion in Syria without sanction from the U.N. Security Council,” Putin said, according to a transcript.

9) AP News: WWII vet says nobody helped after he was carjacked - Brantley told The Associated Press said several people passed by him as he crawled, unable to walk because his leg was broken in the attack. The carjacker knocked Brantley down, took his keys and drove off in his car about 10:40 a.m. “I was trying to go in … and see if somebody could call the police and an ambulance because I couldn’t stand. I had to crawl – I tried two or three times to get up,” Brantley said Saturday. He said he was on way home from Bible study when he stopped to put gas in his 2010 Chrysler 200, which he recently bought to replace another car that had been stolen. “People were passing me just like I wasn’t there. … I was crawling and they just walk by me like I’m not there,” he said.

Mitt Romney’s stadium speech in Detroit: Epic Fail


Mitt Romney speaking in Detroit. (Photo: Byron York )The Internet is having fun with photographs of Mitt Romney giving his big speech on the economy to an empty arena today. But put that aside. The real news is in the speech itself, which is the clearest articulation of Romney’s fiscal plan that he’s yet offered. When Romney said he “wasn’t concerned about the very poor,” he wasn’t kidding. He’s using the policies they depend on most as a piggy bank for tax cuts. — Is this why Mitt Romney’s stadium is empty? | Ezra Klein

Cutting subsidies from Amtrak and Planned Parenthood is the equivalent of President Obama promising to close loopholes for corporate jet owners. It’s red meat for the base, but a rounding error in context of the budget.

Romney’s real savings come in the next section. He’ll “send Medicaid back to the states and cap that program’s rate of growth,” and then “do the same for other programs, like food stamps, housing subsidies and job training.”

Sending the programs back to the states is a red herring. The key bit for deficit reduction is capping their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting them.

What Romney is essentially proposing to do is finance a massive tax cut by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies and job training. In other words, the neediest Americans — and, to a lesser degree, federal workers — will be financing a massive tax cut.

Read more…

Bottom to top income redistribution. Clear as day. Class warfare, anyone?


Romney Fever: Catch it!


via: Bob Cesca

Saturday morning’s 9 semi-interesting things

1) F**king Alaska! Can we throw this state out of the Union already? — An Alaskan man has filed a lawsuit to prohibit President Obama from appearing on the November ballot not on the grounds that he was born in Kenya, but on the basis that his skin-color alone is enough to bar him from being a citizen. A man from Juneau, Alaska, has filed suit with the state’s Division of Elections to bar President Obama from appearing on that state’s ballot on the basis that the President is a “Mulatto”, and “the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘Mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.” 

2) What Are the Gobshites Saying These Days? – Santorum decided to flagellat… er… explain himself to Glenn Beck, and to Beck’s audience of angry shut-ins… The two public intellectuals got into a discussion of religion, and Santorum said: “I saw one poll that said 62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it… I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely… The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”  …The putative Republican frontrunner is a fking religious loon. This, I believe, should be something of an issue in the campaign.

3) Rick Santorum: Americans With ‘Special Needs’ Won’t Survive Under Obama’s Health Reform – But the Affordable Care Act actually prevents insurance carriers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions (and disabilities), prohibits health plans from putting a lifetime dollar limit on benefits and specifically invests in programs for people with disabilities. For instance, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has “announced $2.25 billion to extend the existing Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Program, which is designed to facilitate people with disabilities staying in their communities instead of being placed in institutional settings” and has provided additional funding for aging and disability resource centers and other programs for sicker Americans. This why groups like the American Association of People with Disabilities, National Organization For Rare Disorders, and The Arc of the United States not only support the law, but have filed an amicus brief in its defense.

4) Romney Fails His Own ‘Moral Responsibility’ Test, Can’t Balance His Campaign’s Budget  - A series of ads lift excerpts from a speech Romney gave in November at an event in New Hampshire in which he says “we have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in,” and “it is a moral responsibility to believe in fiscal responsibility. We do and I do.” That raises serious questions about Romney’s morality then, since in January his campaign spent nearly three times more than it brought in during the month. Financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission shows that the Romney camp raised about $6.5 million in January, but spent almost $19 million during the same period.

5) Can you imagine how fucked Obama would have been if he’d said Michelle drove a couple of Cadillacs? – For his embarrassing partial quote of the day, Mitt Romney ended a speech in Detroit with an apparent attempt to reach out to the car-making community there, saying, “I actually love this state. This feels good being back in Michigan … I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drove a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.” Reporters have immediately jumped on the latter half of the comment as another example of Romney appearing “tone deaf” when making oblique references to his wealth among voters. (Think “I like being able to fire people” or “corporations are people, my friend.”) “Politically, I don’t there’s anything wrong with mentioning your wife drives a Cadillac. But it’s a little riskier if you mention she drives ‘a couple,’” writes The Hill’s Christian Heinze. “For the love of Pete,” tweets Politico’s Ben White. “… It would be better for that campaign if he didn’t speak.” “PROBLEM” adds Politico’s Dylan Byers. But let’s all take a step back. It could have been worse! Something like, “Ann used to drive two Cadillacs but that was years before we hired her a private driver.”

6) Higher gas prices: The folly of blaming Obama for higher gas prices  – The real problem is not that gas gets expensive sometimes, but that the United States, with its extremely high levels of per capita oil consumption, is much more vulnerable to supply disruptions than are rich countries in Asia and Europe. A larger share of Americans drive on a daily basis, and they drive heavier cars longer distances. Not coincidentally, gasoline is cheaper here thanks to lower taxes. But while American politicians like to pay lip service to the idea of tax reform that encourages work and investment, they refuse for political reasons to levy higher fees on environmentally and economically destructive gasoline in exchange for lower taxes on socially beneficial labor and savings. Until that happens we’re doomed to endless repetition of the pointless gas-price blame game every time global conditions push prices up.

7) Gov. Gregoire: Obama Is The ‘Inspiration’ Behind Washington’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) praised President Obama’s record on gay rights following a meeting between the President and Democratic Governors, thanking him “for his leadership on GLBT issues.” Gregoire, whose state recently passed a same-sex marriage bill, said that it was through his efforts they were able to achieve what they did, adding, “He’s been the inspiration that allowed the state of Washington recognize that we need to have equality.” President Obama says he is still “evolving” in his support for marriage equality.

I think at least they’re doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will,” Gingrich said when asked about the votes in Washington state and Maryland. “I don’t agree with it. I would vote no if it were on a referendum where I was, but at least they’re doing it the right way.”Newt Gingrich on Washington state enacting same-sex marriage

8) Kansas may raise taxes on the poor to fund cuts for the rich – In the version of the bill approved by a House committee this week, half a million of the state’s poorest residents who earn less than $25,000 will wind up paying an average of $72 more per year, while the 21,000 Kansans who make over $250.000 will get an average tax cut of $1500. A source in the state legislature told the Associated Press that the legislation will also reduce state revenues by more than $850 million oer the next five years. Kansas Democrats are predictably outraged. “It’s been Robin Hood in reverse,” Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley complained last month. “What we are doing is stealing from the poor to give to the rich.” It could be worse. the plan originally proposed by Governor Brownback would have given the wealthiest Kansans a $5200 tax cut, while forcing the lowest-income residents to pay $156 more.

9) Why Medicaid Is Hard To Cut – The biggest share of the pie, or the greatest percentage of Medicaid money, is spent on the blind and disabled. It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to cut care from that group. The next largest share of Medicaid goes to the elderly. Yes, even after they get Medicare, the very poor among those age 65 or older also get Medicaid. We call them dual-eligibles. Does anyone think that we’re going to cut from seniors after the 2010 elections? Unlikely. Should we cut from kids in foster care? Or perhaps “BCCA Women”, or women who are getting breast or cervical cancer assistance. No?

Mitt Romney doubles down on his fail

Keep going, Mitt. You’re doing great!

Romney condemns auto-industry rescue

In a new Detroit News op-ed, the former Massachusetts governor says he’s glad the industry still exists, but proceeds to complain anyway about the way in which Obama rescued GM and Chrysler from an imminent collapse.

Three years ago, in the midst of an economic crisis, a newly elected President Barack Obama stepped in with a bailout for the auto industry. The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business. The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama’s management of the American economy are evident in what he did.

Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them…. By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.

It takes a fair amount of chutzpah to face a crisis, get it wrong, then whine about the way in which the other guy got it right.

This is a subject Romney would be better off ignoring. After all, in 2009, he famously urged policymakers to “let Detroit go bankrupt.” Romney was so certain Obama’s policy would fail, he said Americans could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if Obama’s policy moved forward in 2009. Indeed, at the time, Romney called the administration’s plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.” He wrote an April 2009 piece in which he said Obama’s plan “would make GM the living dead.”

Yep. Shoulda let ‘em go bankrupt. Can’t imagine why Santorum is ahead in Michigan.

Let’s take another look at that satirical take on “It’s Halftime America” — the if-Romney-had-his-way, alternate-reality GM Super Bowl commercial:


Well are ya? 

#OccupyWallStreet: occupying other cities, prominent voices in support of the demonstrations

Raw Story reports on the coordination efforts of occupying other cities, as well as some prominent voices now publicly supporting the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations:

Another demonstration popped up in Chicago over the weekend. Around 20 “Occupy Chicago” protesters gathered at Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, on Friday and then marched to the Federal Reserve Bank. Some protesters have remained camped out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and the organizers said the “occupation” had grown from 4 people to about 50.

Other “occupation” protests are being planned for Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. The site occupytogether.org has been set up in hopes of coordinating the protests.

Although the New York Times described the protest as a “noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people” whose purpose was “virtually impossible to decipher,” the demonstration has attracted some prominent voices in the progressive and liberal community.

Journalist Chris Hedges described the protest as “really where the hope of America lies.”

“The real radicals have seized power,” he asserted, “and they are decimating all impediments to the creation of a neo-feudalistic corporate state, one in which there is a rapacious oligarchic class, a thin managerial elite, and two-thirds of this country live in conditions that increasingly push families to subsistence level.”

MIT professor Noam Chomsky also said he supports the protest. “Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world),” he said. “And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore and Current TV host Keith Olbermann both separately lamented the lack of substantial news coverage of the event, questioning why same-sized or smaller tea party protests garnered more attention than “Occupy Wall Street.”

Even Stephen Colbert chimed in, wondering why his reporters couldn’t find the stereotypical “mindless hippie argle-bargle” in the protest.

Interesting that the New York Times said the demonstrations’ purpose was “virtually impossible to decipher,” while The Guardian described it as, “young people [who] have come to reclaim the future.”  It’s all in how you look at it, I guess.

I was deployed to Iraq 4x

5 of my friends are dead
1 of my friends is missing his arm
1 of my friends killed himself
I’ve been blown up 2x by roadside bombs
Hearing fireworks makes me nervous
I don’t sleep at night

All so bankers and war profiteers could get richer

I am the 99%

www.occupywallst.org

Source: wearethe99percent