UAW / SEIU to file ethics complaint against Romney and the millions he made on the auto bailout

Willard “the car guy” Romney is having more problems with cars… and with hypocrisy, and full disclosure, and ethical behavior. In other words, business as usual. Apart from writing op-eds entitled “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” or lying that Jeep is shipping American jobs to China, we’ve learned that Lord and Lady Romney’s secret investments bought them a 3,000 percent return on investmentfrom the auto bailout. From taxpayer dollars!

However, Mitt didn’t disclose any of that. From the Huffington Post:

The United Auto Workers (UAW), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and other groups plan to file an ethics complaint against Mitt Romney for allegedly failing to disclose his profits from the auto bailout… The groups are calling for an investigation by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate Romney’s alleged violation of the Ethics in Government Act, which requires presidential candidates to disclose their personal finances. The ethics complaint comes on the heels of an Oct. 17 article in The Nation, which alleged that Romney has hidden his personal gains of at least $15.3 million from the auto bailout.

“He made his fortune off the misfortune of others,” Bob King, president of the UAW, told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. “Why should we have to find out from the media about this?” [...] Romney and his wife allegedly made millions from the auto bailout through their investments in the hedge fund Elliott Management, which held a stake in the auto bailout recipient Delphi Automotive, according to The Nation. The return on this investment amounted to more than 3,000 percent, according to The Nation.

The Toledo Blade: “It’s time for Mr. Romney to follow the law. That’s really not too much to ask for someone who would be our president,” Mr. Woodruff said. A spokesman for the Romney campaign could not be reached for comment. Mr. King said the American people have the right to know about any potential conflicts of interest that might exist in Mr. Romney’s investments. “Mitt Romney’s refusal to come clean on where he has his money invested is much more than an ethics violation… The public deserves to know where, when, and how much Mitt Romney bet against American workers with his investments.”

And you just know that Romney’s profit from the bailout is now sitting somewhere in the Caymens or Bermuda or Switzerland, collecting interest, not creating even ONE American job. The worst part of it: there are people who will vote for this guy on Tuesday.

You really must do your part: VOTE!!

Jon Stewart: Mitt Romney–top notch Bain Capital venture capitalist

  
  
  

Source: sandandglass

What great business “experience” Mitt would bring to the White House!

The Resentment of the Plutocrats: “Stop it. This is hard.”

“Any gratitude toward the country we’ve all built, Romney seems to be saying, is misplaced. Instead, the feelings Romney regards as proper ones for the rest of us to assume are a cheerful appreciation of the wealthy and an eager resolve to be just like Mitt—and also a little nicer to him. Romney has reduced the great issues of fairness and a just society to the rather boring question of whether people are being fair to him and his friends, and whether they admire his fine qualities. Among other things, this cannot help him electorally: What is less attractive than a manifestly lucky man sulking about how everyone is jealous of him?”

— Mitt Romney’s Resentment (via azspot)

Was Mitt Romney a business “success” for anyone but himself and other Bain executives?

Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone summarizes his new article The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney this way:

Romney and his campaign have launched a new site touting Mitt’s private-sector experience: SterlingBusinessCareer.com. Under a section called “Fixing Businesses,” the campaign lays out the legend of Romney’s 1990 return to the consulting firm Bain & Company, describing his turnaround effort there as an “incredible success” that returned the firm to profitability “in just a year.” That is a lie. [...] Bain & Company was only rescued from the brink of collapse by the federal government. In 1993, the FDIC agreed to wipe away more than $10 million it was owed by Romney’s firm because it believed that “the company will fail if the debt is not modified.” 

Why did the FDIC believe that? Because,

Bain had inserted a poison pill in its loan agreement with the banks: Instead of being required to use its cash to pay back the firm’s creditors, the money could be pocketed by Bain executives in the form of fat bonuses – starting with VPs making $200,000 and up. [...] What’s more, the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn’t give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain’s debts, Romney would raid the firm’s coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain’s creditors – including the federal government – but the firm’s nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.

According to records, Bain’s management did take its cash reserves and distributed executive bonuses when the banks / FDIC wouldn’t forgive its debt at steep discounts. However, the amounts each executive received were redacted by Bain’s attorneys, and the Romney campaign refused to comment on whether Willard took a bonus himself. But get this:

The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain’s debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney’s firm owed the government. It was a raw deal – but Romney’s threat to loot his own firm had left the government with no other choice. If the FDIC had pushed Bain into bankruptcy, the records reveal, the agency would have recouped just $3.56 million from the firm.

[...] The debt forgiven by the government was booked as a loss to the FDIC – and then recouped through higher insurance premiums from banks. And banks, of course, are notorious for finding ways to pass their costs along to customers, usually in the form of higher fees. Thanks to the nature of the market, in other words, the bailout negotiated by Romney ultimately wound up being paid by the American people.

Even as consumers took a loss, however, a small group of investors wound up getting a good deal in the bailout. Bain Capital – the very firm that had triggered the crisis in the first place – walked away with $4 million. That was the fee it charged Bain & Company for loaning the consulting firm the services of its chief executive – one Willard Mitt Romney.

That is an incredible “success” story, isn’t it?  It certainly describes a person who should be rewarded not only with the most important job in the free world, but also with the perfect position to approve another nice tax break for himself once he gets that job, right?

And it would only make sense if Bain Capital received nice, hefty consulting fee for loaning Mitt Romney’s services to America — with Mitt receiving a generous cut of that fee in his pre-negotiated retroactive retirement fund, naturally. Because if you’re voting for Mitt Romney, you might as well admit you wouldn’t be surprised by those terms — and you might as well admit his “business experience” would be a sad joke on the country if he were elected POTUS.

[Thanks to reader Johnny Roach]

image: communism-kills

“What was good for Bain Capital definitely wasn’t good for America.”

Paul Krugman remarks on why the ultimate purpose of corporations would never be good for America:

“Consider one of Mr. Romney’s most famous remarks: “Corporations are people, my friend.” When the audience jeered, he elaborated: “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets.” This is undoubtedly true, once you take into account the pockets of, say, partners at Bain Capital (who, I hasten to add, are, indeed, people). But one of the main points of outsourcing is to ensure that as little as possible of what corporations earn goes into the pockets of the people who actually work for those corporations.

“…if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.”

“Why, for example, do many large companies now outsource cleaning and security to outside contractors? Surely the answer is, in large part, that outside contractors can hire cheap labor that isn’t represented by the union and can’t participate in the company health and retirement plans. And, sure enough, recent academic research finds that outsourced janitors and guards receive substantially lower wages and worse benefits than their in-house counterparts.

“Just to be clear, outsourcing is only one source of the huge disconnect between a tiny elite and ordinary American workers, a disconnect that has been growing for more than 30 years. And Bain, in turn, was only one player in the growth of outsourcing. So Mitt Romney didn’t personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction; if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.

“In short, what was good for Bain Capital definitely wasn’t good for America. And, as I said at the beginning, the Obama campaign has every right to point that out.”

A corporation’s ONLY purpose is to maximize profits for the owners, by any means necessary.

Obama: We need a president who will fight for American jobs, not an “outsourcing pioneer”

As reported by Buzzfeed, at a campaign event at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry Campus in Tampa, Florida, President Obama riffed on a Washington Post article which revealed yesterday that while at Bain Capital, Romney… “pioneered” the outsourcing of jobs overseas:

“We’re going to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. I have a detailed plan that will cut spending we can’t afford, strengthen programs like Medicare for the long haul, and reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and responsible. My plan will stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs and factories overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs and manufacturing right here in the United States of America. Now, not only does Governor Romney disagree with this plan, today it was reported in The Washington Post that the companies his firm owned were ‘pioneers’ in the outsourcing of American jobs to places like China and India. Pioneers! Tampa, we don’t need an outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office. We need a President who will fight for American jobs and American manufacturing. And that’s what my plan will do.”

On the same subject, Stephanie Cutter shares Romney’s economic plan of eliminating US taxes on foreign profits of US companies and his career of shipping American jobs all over the world.

Morning Bunker Report: Friday 6.1.2012

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

Romney gives Obama an “F” across the board – In an interview with CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would give President Obama an “F” in every area, including foreign policy and the economy. After being asked what grade he would give the president, Romney quickly responds: “Oh, an ‘F,’ no question about that,” adding that the grade applies “across the board.” Crawford followed up by asking about foreign policy and mentioned the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last year, but Romney avoided addressing bin Laden’s death and pointed to Iraq and the political uprisings in the Middle East. – CBS | image: 2che

Romney “supporters” heckle David Axelrod in Boston – Thus, there was a rough precedent for what David Axelrod did today, which was to come to Boston to talk about Willard Romney’s record as governor of the Commonwealth (God save it!). The difference is, of course, that Dukakis ran on his record as governor here and, from the available evidence presented by the Romney campaign, Willard never set foot in the place. […] it’s still odd to me that the primary story of the day was not the fact that a former governor would rather eat dirt than admit he ever was governor here, but, rather, that he can hire people to yell on the sidewalk. Odd. — Charles P. Pierce | image: tshirthell.com

Boehner poised to raise student loan interest ratesBoehner told the House Republican Conference Thursday morning that it was unlikely Congress would be able to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling before the end of the month, but he blamed the Senate, since the lower chamber has already passed a bill. He dubbed the fight “phony,” and urged his members not to fall victim to what he considers a manufactured tussle. First, the issue isn’t “phony” at all to those affected by it. [...] Second, blaming the Senate is silly. The House passed its version, but paid for it by cutting access to breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. Senate Democrats offered an alternative, paying for the lower rates by closing a tax loophole that currently allows some very wealthy people to shield some of their earnings from the payroll tax (the S-corp provision). Republicans killed the proposal with yet another filibuster. As far as Boehner is apparently concerned, it’s either the House version or nothing, which means student loans interest rates will likely double just 30 days from now. — Maddow Blog

  • Boehner: “Let’s call bulls— bulls—. This election is about jobs, jobs, jobs.”POLITICO
  • Boehner and his caucus will demonstrate their laser-like focus on jobs with a vote on another anti-abortion bill. – TPM
  • House fails to pass not-’jobs, jobs, jobs’ abortion bill, on purpose — The House voted on their anti-abortion bill [yesterday], the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or PRENDA, the one that would prohibit the abortion practice that doesn’t happen in America, gender and race selection, or as David Waldman calls it, PRETENDA. It failed 248-165. It failed because Republican leadership wanted it to fail. They brought it up under suspension of the rules, which meant it had to have a two-thirds majority to pass. Why would they do that? David explains: Republicans may think they get the best mileage out of this bill by selling it as compelling and necessary, and then setting it up to fall short, for which they can then blame Democrats. — Daily Kos

imageRSC to Obama: No debt hike without tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for everyone else – The lawmakers write in the letter that they want to “underscore our strong support for Speaker Boehner’s recent comments on raising the nation’s debt ceiling … tying a debt limit increase with common-sense reforms is a necessary first step to solving the nation’s fiscal imbalance.” The letter, authored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), also warns that with China holding nearly 23 percent of the nation’s debt, it is time to curb U.S. reliance on “communist creditors.” The RSC boasts 164 members, but it is not yet clear how many will sign the letter. – Roll Call News

Scott Walker mistakenly admits that he is a target in the John Doe criminal corruption probe – Walker, in a rare moment of candor, stated to reporters that he would not use the criminal defense fund to pay for the legal defenses of his aides, who have been charged with crimes ranging from child enticement, to theft from veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, to misuse of taxpayer resources to illegally campaign for Scott Walker, and would instead use the funds for himself or his campaign. Wisconsin law is very clear: an elected official can only establish a legal defense fund if they, or their agent, are under investigation for, charged with, or convicted of violations of Wisconsin’s campaign finance and election laws. Nothing provides for an elected official creating a legal defense fund for the sole purpose of campaign compliance, assisting the prosecution or aiding an investigation, as Scott Walker claims he is doing. Since he is not paying for the defense of an agent acting on his behalf, it is now clear that Scott Walker is under investigation. – Wisconsin Politics

  • “I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.” — Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett (D), quoted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, bringing up an ongoing secret investigation of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) aides in last night’s debate. via 

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

Click for larger: via Brian McFadden

THE STIMULUS: Still working – A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March.  In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. [...] In addition to saving and creating jobs, ARRA has increased the number of hours worked, CBO has concluded. That is, without ARRA, many full-time workers would have been reduced to part-time status and fewer would have worked overtime. — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A new Kaiser Foundation finds people think President Obama would be better for women than Mitt Romney on a host of issues, including who’s looking out for their best interests, who’d be best to deal with the future of the health-care law, education, and even national security. But the one place where Obama doesn’t enjoy big leads is on the federal deficit. On who looks out for the best interests of women, Obama leads 52-26%. Among women voters, it’s 59-25%. But on who’s best to deal with the deficit, Obama and Romney are essentially tied, with Obama getting the narrow edge, 40-39%, hardly a good sign for an incumbent president. That vulnerability is one reason the Romney campaign has been pushing the issue. Even on jobs and the economy, President Obama has a 10-point lead. – MSNBC

Report: Few Workers Would Be Affected By Change That Ensures 75 Years Of Full Social Security Funding – Currently, the payroll tax — which funds Social Security and Medicare — is only applied to an individual’s first $110,100 in wages, meaning that middle-class and low-income workers pay the tax on their entire income, while the wealthy pay it on only a fraction. As CEPR found, just 6.8 percent of workers would be affected if the cap were eliminated […] Eliminating the payroll tax cap would ensure Social Security could pay full benefits for nearly 75 years. However, this simple solution is ignored by conservatives, who would rather take the more regressive step of raising the retirement age, or simply privatize the program. And it certainly doesn’t help that the mainstream media consistently misinforms the public about Social Security’s financial health, ginning up a “crisis” while ignoring that one simple step would wipe the crisis away entirely. – ThinkProgress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) predicts the Affordable Care Act will be upheld 6-3 — “Me, I’m predicting 6-3 in favor,” Pelosi said at the Paley Center for Media in New York on Tuesday. “But we’ll see. It’s a lesson in civics, and I respect it. I respect the court and judicial review.” — Business Insider

BREAKING: Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls – The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned. DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16. – TPM

“You can chant down speakers, my friend, but it’s hard to Etch-A-Sketch the truth away.” —   David Axelrod, quoted by National Journal, on being shouted down by Mitt Romney supporters at a rally in Boston. via


barackobama: Just call him Mr. 47 Out of 50.

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.31.2012

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

“There is no more naked celebrity in America than Donald Trump. He doesn’t do subtlety. He doesn’t do ‘thought.’ To say he has a political calculus is a wild overstatement. His strategy amounts to no more than junior high school algebra. The equation is: Trump + infantile public statement x infinite repetitions on TV and Twitter = maximum publicity for flailing Trump products and insatiable Trump ego.” — Frank Rich | image: christopherstreet

Romney’s birth certificate evokes his father’s controversy – Willard Mitt Romney, the certificate says, was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, was born in Utah and his father, former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate George Romney, was born in Mexico. So on a day when real estate and media mogul Donald Trump was trying to help Mitt Romney by stirring up a new round of questions about whether Democratic President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Romney’s own birth record became a reminder that in the 1968 presidential campaign, his father had faced his own “birther” controversy. – Reuters

Where’s Mitt Romney’s Long-Form Birth Certificate? – Just one problem: The document released by Mitt Romney’s campaign is titled “Certificate of Live Birth.” This is, to be clear, the same thing as a birth certificate (it just has a couple of extra words in there and the order is flipped around). But according to three years of commentary from top conservative media and politicos, it’s not enough. “There’s a difference between a birth certificate, apparently, and a certificate of live birth,” said Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a segment last April on the President’s supposedly missing paper trail. The President’s certificate of live birth, reported Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy, “is not the exact birth certificate.” Sarah Palin suggested that the certificate of live birth was insufficient proof of citizenship. As one leading conservative activist put it, “A ‘birth certificate’ and a ‘certificate of live birth’ are in no way the same thing, even though in some cases they use some of the same words.” That was Donald Trump.  – Mother Jones 

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday denied he was a “birther,” but found it “odd” that President Barack Obama took so long to release his birth certificate. “You know, I’ve never been a birther,” the Fox News host declared. “You know, it was odd that they didn’t release the birth certificate to me. I’m like, you ask me for my birth certificate, it’s pretty easy to get.” […] During his 2008 bid for the White House then-Sen. Obama did release his short-form birth certificate. FactCheck.org concluded  at the time that “it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. … Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.” After billionaire Donald Trump and other prominent birthers refused to drop the issue, the White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate in April 2011.  – Raw Story

Hoekstra Says Feds Should Check Birth Certificates (but it’s not about Obama) – Michigan U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra (R) said he’d like to “create a federal office in Washington that would verify that presidential candidates meet the minimum requirements to hold the office,” the Detroit Free Press reports. Said Hoekstra: “This is not brain surgery. It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person. If you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the proper documentation and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be the President of the United States.”– Political Wire

  • CNN Host Confronts Pete Hoekstra Over Birther Commission Proposal – Baldwin aired a clip of an infamous Hoekstra ad that aired during this year’s Super Bowl, since pulled from his website, in which an actress depicted a Chinese villager thanking Hoekstra’s opponent in broken English for running up the national debt. “Critics called you a racist for that ad,” Baldwin said. “Do you realize that critics might use this office, this proposal for this office, as further proof?” Hoekstra was not happy to see the old wound reopened. “I don’t know why they would take it in that direction,” Hoekstra said.  – TPM
  • Romney surrogate: CNN ‘should be embarrassed’ for covering birther story — Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who is now a surrogate for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday blasted CNN host Soledad O’Brien for reporting on the presumptive Republican nominee’s link to birthers like billionaire Donald Trump. – Raw Story

New low for Fox News: Fox News produced its own 4 minute attack video disguised as a retrospective of President Obama’s first term in office and aired it as a “Fox & Friends Presents” special.  […] At the conclusion of the video, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy thanked one of the show’s producers for editing together the segment “for weeks.” But it only took hours for network brass to perhaps recognize the implications of Fox News producing and airing its own attack ads, because they quickly pulled it from the Fox News website with no explanation. Even conservative sites balked at the idea of Fox News producing its own political attack ads. – Think Progress

Tea Party Joe Walsh race baits — “The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything,” Walsh, a conservative freshman from suburban Chicago, said during a Schaumburg, Ill., speech caught on video provided by CREDO SuperPAC, an anti-tea party group. “They want the Hispanic vote, they want Hispanics to be dependent on government, just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That’s their game.” Walsh goes on to say that civil rights activist Jesse Jackson “would be out of work if [African Americans] weren’t dependent on government.” Walsh was elected in 2010, part of a wave of tea party-backed candidates elected to the House of Representatives that year. – HuffPo

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

Not much has changed…

image: compeet

Obama Pitches ‘To-Do’ List at Bill Signing – President Barack Obama used the bill signing reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank to again push for his “to-do” list, which has gone nowhere in Congress so far. [...] Obama hasn’t gotten any traction on his “to-do” list, which includes tax cuts for small businesses, a massive mortgage refinancing plan, extending renewable energy tax breaks, a Veterans Jobs Corps and shifting tax breaks from companies that ship jobs overseas to companies that bring them back home.The president also touted his trade policies, which he said opened markets in South Korea, Colombia and Panama, while doubling the number of trade cases brought against China. – Roll Call News

Obama’s political advisor David Axelrod dissected Romney’s record in Massachusetts between 2003 and 2007 in a campaign memo…”Mitt Romney applied the economic philosophy he learned in the private sector to disastrous results as governor of Massachusetts,” Axelrod wrote.”It’s the same formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy in the first place and undermined security for the middle class. Massachusetts couldn’t afford Romney Economics, and neither can the American economy.” Axelrod said that under Romney, Massachusetts plunged from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, and despite promises to the contrary raised taxes and fees on middle class families and small businesses. “Meanwhile, he cut taxes for millionaires like himself, handing over more than $75 million to just 278 of the wealthiest in Massachusetts.” — FRANCE 24 | image: mittromeny

Axelrod: A handful of plutocrats are trying to buy the United States“There was a report this morning that the Republican Super PACs, apart from Romney and apart from his own super PAC, intend to spend a billion dollars in this campaign setting up shadow state organizations—district-wide organizations—as well as running media. So a handful of plutocrats of billionaires with a special interest agenda are going to try and buy this government in this election, and the stakes of that are pretty profound. I’m obviously concerned about the implications for our race, but we’ve braced ourselves and we’ve been talking about this for some time. It’s a concern. It’s one of my big concerns. But for congressional candidates, it’s gotta be a nightmare. We saw in the last election, in the last 3 weeks of those campaigns, Super PACs swooped in and spent huge amounts of money in the final 3 weeks to influence those congressional races and turned a lot of races with their money. I think you can anticipate that in spades this year.” Raw Story | image: realpolitiks

  • GOP Groups Plan $1 BILLION Push for Romney (that’s billion, with a B) – Political Wire

Help Matt Taibbi Stand Up for Wall Street Reform – To get the word out about Wall Street’s anti-reform push and stiffen spines in congress, we’re trying out Thunderclap, a cool new technology that lets groups of people tweet a single message together at the same time, breaking through the din and reaching a potentially massive audience. (Learn more here.) But we need your help! Here’s how it works: Go here  and click “Tweet this in X days.” On June 6 at 12 pm, together with hundreds of other Twitter users, you will automatically tweet a message –”.@senjohnsonsd @stabenowpress Hear our voices and stop the rollback of Dodd-Frank http://thndr.it/JBZD9Z” – to Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate banking committee and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over financial derivatives. — Rolling Stone

Wage theft complaints increased 400% in the last decade — According to CNN Money, “More than 7,000 collective actions were filed in federal court in 2011 alleging wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an approximately 400% increase since 2000.” A 2009 report showed that more than two-thirds of low-income employees had experienced a wage law violation in the previous week alone, prompting Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum to ask, “How many reports of mistreatment do we have to get before we finally figure out that labor violations are rampant in this country?” As the Huffington Post’s Alexander Eichler noted, the weak economy has “reduced the amount of leverage employees have in their relationship with their managers — meaning it’s been especially easy in recent years for bosses to demand ever more of workers while paying them the same amount as before.” – Think Progress

imageThe Pentagon wants to move toward a greener military, one that relies more on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels. Why? It would save lives. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made that case last October and a recent Army study found that “[a] fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.” …However, there are a few hurdles standing in the way: Republicans. The House GOP included a measure in the defense authorization bill this month prohibiting the Defense Department from buying alternative fuels if they cost more than “traditional fossil fuel.” And the Senate Armed Services Committee last week followed suit with an “even tougher” provision mirroring the House version but also exempts DOD from clean energy standards. Why are the Republicans doing this? VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz pointed out yesterday that they get a lot of money from the oil and gas industry. – Think Progress

“The President of the United States was born in the United States. That’s just a fact. It’s not a disputed point. It’s just a fact. It’s like, we have one moon not two. It’s a fact.” – David Frum (Former Special Assistant to George W Bush) on CNN answering the question: Where do you disagree with Donald Trump?

Campaign ads for people who should listen to them (but won’t)

Obama super PAC launches Bain offensive – “Whether the companies they came in and worked with made money or not, was irrelevant. Bain Capital always made money,” Wells says in the ad. “If we lost, they made money. If we survived, they made money. It’s as simple as that.” Wells warns: “He promised us the same things he’s promising the United States. And he’ll give you the same thing he gave us: nothing. He’ll take it all.” [...] The key message point in the Priorities ad is the argument that Romney and Bain were making money through a rigged game, in which they’d be sure to turn a profit regardless of how their acquisitions fared.


And here’s a reminder on what kind of people would never be swayed by such “information” or “reality” when it comes to voting for anyone but the Republican (even Romney) on any presidential ticket:


INTERVIEWER: So, something’s not working here.
TOOTHLESS GUY ON FOOD STAMPS: That’s right.
INTV: Voting Republican hasn’t worked for you.
TGOFS: But it could.
INTV: But it hasn’t.
TGOFS: It hasn’t but it could.

Take that Obama! Let the eagle soar! 

Obama and Romney: two different Americas

It’s not Bain’s duty to care about whether jobs are created or lost. But a plausible response to that statement is, well, do we want a guy who spent two-plus decades in the private sector not caring about whether he was creating or destroying jobs–but making jillions for himself while doing it–to be the president of the United States? Fair question. There are lots of Americans who don’t want a former community organizer as president. We’ve heard from them. But there are surely also a lot of Americans who don’t want a hedge-fund man as president. As with, say, Obama’s unconventional upbrining versus Romney’s quite conventional one, the two men represent and symbolize very different Americas.
– Michael Tomasky | The Return of Bain Capital

Mitt Romney: Job Creator (if you count firing workers then hiring them back at minimum wage “creating jobs”)

Here’s the kind of ‘job creation’ your average social issues, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, tea partying conservative voter has been supporting all these years (and continues to support):

Is Mitt Romney really a job creator? What his Bain Capital record shows

Before Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital bought the rambling SCM factory in Marion, Ind., it was running three shifts a day, making hanging file folders and other office supplies. But on July 5, 1994, everything changed.

The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.

“We were told they bought the assets, not the union or the [labor] contract,” recalls Randy Johnson, who at the time worked as a machine operator and was a union shop steward. The workers – some the third generation in their families to have jobs there – eventually went on strike, and Bain closed the factory 5-1/2 months after acquiring it.

[...] “I was on the negotiating committee for the union, and we had to give up and give up until we could give no more,” Ms. Huffman recalls. “They tried to make the working conditions not very good.” AmPad began moving automated machinery out of the factory soon after acquiring it. “I think they were planning on shutting the plant down,” she says. “We were union, and they did not want that.” 

Bain Capital bought AmPad in 1992 for $5.1 million. It borrowed heavily, boosting AmPad’s debt from $19.8 million in 1994 to $443.7 million in 1995, and Bain charged it tens of millions in fees. Bain took the firm public in 1996, making tens of millions more. AmPad, still saddled with debt, filed for bankruptcy in 2000. It has since reemerged as a private firm, based in Dallas. 

Romney attempts to counter the Obama campaign’s “GST Steel” ad:

The steel mill that benefited from government largess 

Seeking to combat charges from the Obama campaign that Bain Capital extracted value from companies it purchased by firing employees and cutting benefits, Mitt Romney’s released a web video profiling Steel Dynamics, one of the companies that Bain invested in.

But as Think Progress reports, there are two problems with Romney’s portrayal of Bain’s assistance in Steel Dynamics:

1) Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported at the time (via Nexis), that Bain was just one of eight financiers for the project — hardly the lone white knight; and 

2) the video touts Romney’s “private-sector” team, the company was successful thanks, in part, to big government subsidies and grants — $37 million from the state of Indiana and DeKalb County. And as the Los Angeles Times reported in January of this year, the county even raised taxes on residents to help fund the mill.

Was there a happy ending? For Bain Capital there was. Bain walked away with a $85 million profit, financed in large part by corporate welfare.

…“The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be ‘corporate welfare.’”

Bain invested $18.2 million in Steel Dynamics in 1994. Five years later, it sold its stake for $104 million, walking away with $85 million profit. 

So did Romney create jobs while he was at Bain Capital? If you count the jobs previously held by high-seniority workers who were laid off when their unions were busted, and whose jobs were replaced with minimum-wage-no-benefits workers, then you could probably say: sure – those were “jobs” that were “created.”

This has been a decades-long process, created and brutally enforced by the GOP, using social wedge-issues for the necessary political support, combined with an Orwellian concept called trickle-down to soothe the masses during all the union busting and off-shoring. And we hardly missed receiving decent wages with all the easy credit being shoved our way. When the new normal became lower wages here (unions are Satan’s work!) and manufacturing in other countries, then profit for profit’s sake became both the morality and the patriotic spirit of the USA. Workers were disposable and CEOs were free to pocket all the profit. And here we are today. Complain, and it’s called being jealous of other people’s success – class warfare!

This is how the middle class died. Mitt Romney and Bain Capital are just two familiar faces of that death. Fundamentalist Christians are the third.

KEEP VOTING REPUBLICAN – we’re going great!


via: Think Progress

Thirty years ago, the U.S. underwent a shift — from an economy that grew in a way that lifted all segments of society, to an economy that gives heavy preference to the wealthy. That’s the broad story of the last three decades, but as Krueger pointed out, policy has a role to play. The trend abated temporarily in the 1990s, when the country returned to an era of fairly uniform income growth distribution. That all changed for most people, and their lost income has instead trickled up the ladderRead more…

The ‘new Romney math’ on jobs he created: 100,000 is now thousands, and that number is also questionable

Romney lies about pretty much everything — of course he’s going to claim he created 100,000 jobs! Which one of his potential voters would bother to look that up or care?

Besides, if Mitt is elected president and taxes are cut further for the one-percent, himself included, maybe he’ll hire another housekeeper for that house they’re remodeling — the one with the car elevator. And maybe they’ll need a pool boy too. Lower unemployment numbers are just an election away, people.

Romney Campaign Massively Downgrades The Number Of Jobs It Claims He Created From 100,000 To ‘Thousands’

BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller reports that, in the wake of the Obama campaign’s new ad attacking Romney’s record at Bain, the “new Romney jobs math” is significantly more modest than the old. This time, the campaign is asserting that Romney created a meager and vague “thousands of jobs” at Bain and “tens of thousands” of jobs as governor of Massachusetts.

This is nothing less than an admission from the Romney campaign that their 100,000 jobs claim was entirely bogus, and acceptance that Romney created vastly fewer jobs than he claimed he had just a few months ago. It’s a welcome return to reality, but calls into question any piece of evidence the campaign puts forward. (In 1994, he claimed in an ad that he created 10,000 jobs at Bain.)

Meanwhile, even the “thousands of jobs” figure should be suspect, as the evidence the campaign offers to support it is an editorial from the right-wing Washington Examiner endorsing Romney.

[...] And his assertion on his record as governor also fails to include the context that his state was 47th out of 50 on job creation.

You know what? The only jobs we know for sure that Romney has ‘created’ are four housekeeping positions for the personal homes of Mitt and Ann “Hardest Job in the World!” Romney. And those four lucky, lucky working women are paid only half of the lowest range of an average housekeeper’s salary by Mitt and Marie Antoinette who, out of an income worth a quarter-billion, paid their four housekeepers a whopping $20,603 –between the four of them.

Mitt also keeps people like these men gainfully employed as well:

Tuesday morning’s 5 moderately interesting things

1) MITT ROMNEY – the GOP’s unofficially official presidential candidate

Mittmentum from here on out — Next month’s contests will take place almost totally in the Northeast — a region where Romney is thus far undefeated. In addition, a few of those states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis — something only two states have done so far — allowing Romney to expand his delegate lead more quickly than he has to this point. He leads by about 300 delegates overall… Santorum may get a little momentum off his win — as the media continue to question Romney’s appeal to conservatives — but Louisiana is one of the last states that will put a magnifying glass on that problem.

Romney Disses Santorum: “I’m Not Going To Worry Too Much About What Rick Is Saying These Days – Mitt Romney brushed off Rick Santorum’s criticism of his ability to oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying he doesn’t listen to Rick Santorum much anymore. “I’m not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,” Romney said on CNN’s The Situation Room, telling Wolf Blitzer that Santorum is getting more outspoken on the campaign trail as he falls behind. “When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated,” he added.

2) ‘BADASS’ SANTORUM — now with improved Macho!

Rick Santorum Would Love to Be Veep of the ‘Worst Republican In Country’ (VIDEO) – Well this is awkward. The good Christian bitches at CBN asked Rick Santorum if he would accept a veep pick from worst Republican in the country Mitt Romney, and instead of pretending there was a chance of beating our Mittens, or cussing him out for asking the question, Rick Santorum said yes!

Rick Santorum Attacked John McCain For His Temper In 2008 Romney Robocall — Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s temper has been the news this morning for attacking a New York Times reporter who questioned characterization of Mitt Romney as the “worst Republican” to run. Santorum snapped at to the reporter saying “quit distorting my words It’s bullshit.” [...] The text of the call: “Hello, this is Senator Rick Santorum calling to let you know I am supporting Mitt Romney and urging you to support him next Tuesday… As a conservative I don’t agree with McCain on many issues and I don’t think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction. Please join me and other conservative in voting for Mitt Romney this Tuesday.” [image: drunkonstevphen]

Santorum is so BUTCH — A defiant Rick Santorum on Monday defended his weekend attacks on both Mitt Romney over health care and on a New York Times reporter, saying, “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. I just said OK, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,” Santorum said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to why on Sunday he accused reporter Jeff Zeleny of “bulls——”. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away … and we’re mixing it up.”

3) THOSE OTHER TWO

Gingrich begins charging $50 for pics at events — In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican County groups here in the northernmost part of the state. It was the first time the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photographs of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org. On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

Hello, Karma! “Lamestream Media” no longer cares about Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich has lost his last embedded print reporters, reporters on the trail confirm. The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail — from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution — pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday’s Illinois primary. These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain. On the bright side, he’s still faring better than Ron Paul.

Piers Morgan asks Ron Paul why he is still in the race – He noted that Paul had obtained only 71 delegates, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But Paul fired back, saying it was “way too soon” for Morgan “to write anybody off.” “What if Mitt Romney isn’t the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel?” [Paul] continued.

4) AMERICA’S RELIGION PROBLEM

According to Pat Robertson, homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.” Yes, this really is how the religious right thinks. [LGF]

Romney’s cousin: Mormonism is a ‘fraud’ — “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” he explained. [...] But Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Robert Putnam told BBC that the former Massachusetts governor’s religion is not often questioned in the U.S. because Americans value freedom of religion. “It’s not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Putnam said. “Whenever the issue of Romney’s Mormonism has come to the surface, there’s been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion.” “I’m not saying it’s not relevant, but it’s not talked about in polite company.”

The Religious Frenzy of a Court You Can’t Believe InWhat exactly are these people praying for? Are they praying for a return to the way things were? For the denial of health insurance due to whatever the whimsical opinions of corporate bureaucrats determine to be a pre-existing condition? For the right to be thrown into an overpriced, endlessly gouging “marketplace” the moment when you turn 25, and you’re burdened anyway with usurious student loans? Are they praying that the law be upheld? That the central place the insurance industry holds the way we do health care in this country be guaranteed in what looks like perpetuity, with the government’s power behind it? (This is where the conservative argument falls into incoherence. Conservatives are opposed to the mandate because of, well, Liberty (!), but they never pursue that argument to the point where they might discomfit the insurance companies because of, well, The Market (!). This latter, of course, is why conservatives supported a mandate as a market-based solution in the first place.)

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform — With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity.” […] The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President’s Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional.”

5) CLASS WAR: GOP / ONE PERCENT VS. 99%

Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip – Donald Trump Jr., who stars on ” The Celebrity Apprentice” alongside his dad, and his brother Eric sparked outrage among animal lovers on Twitter earlier this month after photos surfaced of the two posing with animals they killed during a 2011 safari trip in Africa. Trump Jr. later defended their actions in part by tweeting, “I’m a hunter, for that I make no apologies.” …Trump Jr. may be a hunter, but TMZ.com reports the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says the South African safari company the sons used was not registered in Zimbabwe. The task force says Trump Jr. and his brother killed an elephant, a buffalo and a crocodile, among other animals. In one of the leaked pictures, Trump Jr., is seen holding a knife and the cut-off tail of an elephant. [image: Salon]

More tax cuts for T-Mobile! T-Mobile To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers After Taking Millions In Taxpayer Subsidies For Job Creation — About 3,300 employees work at those centers, and the company is planning to lay off at least 1,900 of them, while offering transfers to some (though it doesn’t yet know how many). Adding insult to injury, four of the centers that T-Mobile is closing received taxpayer subsidies worth millions of dollars, according to Good Jobs First: – Frisco, TX: $3.7 million – Brownsville, TX: $5.3 million – Lenexa, KS: $3.9 million – Redmond, OR: $1.3 million These subsidies took several forms, including sales tax exemptions, salary supplements for workers, and job training money. “T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development,” said the Communication Workers of America. || And how big will the CEO bonuses be this year at T-Mobile? HUGE, would be my guess. 

SEIU Campaigning for Retirement Security – SEIU also issued a fact sheet that takes on a number of the right-wing myths that are being spread in an attempt to build support for cutting public pensions. The key points: Seven out of 10 public employee pensions are less than $30,000 a year, making them anything but lavish. Taxpayers pay little to no part of these pensions, which are funded by employee contributions and investment returns. Public pensions have survived for 70 years with no problem and only had any problems because of the financial crash, most of them are starting to return to their earlier strength. Public employees have shown a strong willingness to negotiate to improve pension systems and to work with governments to make through during tough economic times. Massive cuts to public employee pensions will not benefit the economy much or solve state budget crisis, but will be massively destructive to working families. There is no correlation between states that have underfunded pensions and the level of unionization among state workers — unions are not driving the problems we see with pension funding. || RELATEDThe Rachel Maddow Show: SEIU the Next Target for the Right Wing Smear Machine [larger image here]