60 percent of Milwaukee’s black voters have disappeared

THREE-FIFTHS OF MILWAUKEE’S BLACK VOTERS HAVE VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE

The voter purges have resulted in roughly 60% of black voters in that city no longer being registered. That’s 41% of the city’s total votes in 2008. Some perspective on it from reddit user BiscuitCrisps:

You know, back when I lived in a majority-black voter ward, I got purged from the voter rollsevery single year. And every year, I had to trudge back to the registrar of voters, and show them a driver’s license and two months of utility bills to prove that I still lived where I was registered. It’s why I didn’t vote from 1999-2001. I just got sick of re-proving my residence over and over.

My first reaction was: “Fucking incompetent bureaucratic machine”

Then, I moved to a majority-white voter ward … I registered once. I haven’t been purged once in the past seven years.

I used to say: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

I’m now inclined to chalk the purging up to malice.

This whole thing is fucked.

(via: steviemcfly)

Don’t let them get away with it.

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Gov. Scott Walker’s signature achievement ruled “null and void”

Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law Struck Down By County Judge

A Wisconsin judge on Friday struck down nearly all of the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

Walker’s administration immediately vowed to appeal, while unions, which have vigorously fought the law, declared victory. But what the ruling meant for existing public contracts was murky: Unions claimed the ruling meant they could negotiate again, but Walker could seek to keep the law in effect while the legal drama plays out.

The law, a crowning achievement for Walker that made him a national conservative star, took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers and has been in effect for more than a year.

Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void.

Why did Mitt Romney choose such a two-faced, lying hypocrite as a running mate?

Surprise! It’s Lyin’ Paul Ryan again!

Will network and cable news pick up this story? Because it’s important for the American people to know that aside from the GOP shoving a presidential candidate at us who refuses to release his tax returns to the American public (!), that candidate’s running mate has serious problems with telling the truth — Ryan is a pathological liar.

If Romney and Ryan were Democrats, this news would be repeated on an endless, 24/7, hysterically screeching, taped loop on all networks and radio stations, not to mention being scrolled on the bottom of every tv screen in the country. Because that’s how our “liberal media” works.

EXCLUSIVE–The Nation: Paul Ryan Quietly Requested Obamacare Cash

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is barnstorming the country, promising to repeal every provision of the Affordable Care Act if the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected. But a letter he wrote to the Obama administration may undermine this message.

On December 10, 2010, Ryan penned a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services to recommend a grant application for the Kenosha Community Health Center, Inc to develop a new facility in Racine, Wisconsin, an area within Ryan’s district. “The proposed new facility, the Belle City Neighborhood Health Center, will serve both the preventative and comprehensive primary health care needs of thousands of new patients of all ages who are currently without health care,” Ryan wrote.

Paul Ryan's request for Obamacare funds

The grant Ryan requested was funded directly by the Affordable Care Act, better known simply as health care reform or Obamacare.

The letter, among several obtained by The Nation and The Investigative Fund through a Freedom of Information Act request, is a stark reminder that even the most ardent opponents of Obamacare privately acknowledge many of the law’s benefits.

[...] In addition to undercutting his political message about health reform, the letter may also add to an emerging narrative that Ryan has a double standard when it comes to critiquing major Obama policy achievements. Shortly after Romney announced that Ryan would be joining him on the Republican ticket this year, theBoston Globe revisited a story showing how Ryan quietly lobbied the Obama administration for stimulus grants. Ryan voted against the proposal and denounced it to the press without disclosing his requests for stimulus cash.

Ryan first denied responsibility for the stimulus grant requests; but later confessed that his office had sent the letters. Continue reading…


image: detonationradio 

Labor Day 2011 with Paul Ryan

If you see Paul Ryan marching in a parade, don’t bother him with your random, petty bullshit, like unemployment — not when he’s having a good time:

“Paul Ryan has never offered anything of value or consequence to the laid-off workers of Janesville … until Labor Day, 2011.

“As he marched with other politicians in the Janesville Labor Day parade, the congressman was confronted by Wisconsin workers who were struggling with high unemployment and bleak prospects. A man was videotaped asking what his representative planned to do to aid Ryan’s unemployed constituents. 

““So what should I have to work for to get a job?” the man asked. “Should I have to work the same wages as in China? Should I have to work for $1 an hour?”

“Ryan tried to brush his questioner off. But when the man persisted, saying, “C’mon, we’re all here to have a good time.”

“When he was reminded that it was Labor Day, which would seem to be an appropriate time to discuss unemployment and the condition of workers, Ryan finally offered something: “Would you like some candy?” Ryan asked. “Would you like a Packer-Badger schedule?”

— Paul Ryan’s Labor Day Promise to American Workers: Candy and a Sports Schedule | The Nation (via: diegueno)

Reminds me of this year’s Iowa State Fair, when Ryan didn’t want to be bothered with questions about Iowa farmers and crop failure because of the drought, so he responded with the brush off: “Right now I just want to enjoy the fair.” 

It’s a mystery when average, working and middle class teapublicans tell themselves that their lives will be so much better if Romney-Ryan win the election. They really need to think that through. Maybe start with: HOW?

Remember this? 2009 DHS Report on Rightwing Extremism (re: Sikh Temple shooting)

Page 7:

Sikh Temple Shooter Identified: The shooter in the deadly attack Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek was identified as Wade Michael Page, 40, sources familiar with the shooting investigation said Monday. He served in the Army for several years and was assigned to psychological operations or PsyOps, according to the sources.  He is no longer in the Army. The Southern Law Poverty Center, a group that has studied hate crimes for decades, reported Monday that Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy. (via: wisconsinforward)

Related: The Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin

The Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin

What does it say about our society, our culture, and our country that CNN spent an inordinate amount of time yesterday explaining the difference between Sikhs and Muslims? Or that CNN interviewed a Sikh so that he could explain to their audience what his religion was “about.” For one thing, why don’t most people know that they’re different religions? And for another thing, did that suggest, even a little, that a shooting at an Islamic temple would make more sense?

Recently Michelle Bachmann and four other representatives came out with highly racist, sinister, and completely ridiculous allegations against top State Department official Huma Abedin (who is Muslim-American), suggesting that she is part of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to infiltrate the U.S. government. I have to ask if Bachmann’s typically negligent dog-whistling finally crawled inside the sick mind of one of these rightwing “patriots” who support her brand of psuedo-Christian-politicking, and decided to take her phony conspiracy theory to the next level?

***

Officials are describing the shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee as a domestic terrorism incident.

***

More information is coming out about what led the FBI to declare Sunday’s Sikh temple shooting an act of domestic terrorism. According to the Los Angeles Times, tattoos plus “certain biographical details” were the source of that conclusion. A representative of the Sikh congregation, Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, told CNN that “members described the attacker as a bald, white man, dressed in a white T-shirt and black pants and with a 9/11 tattoo on one arm.” There has already been widespread speculation that the shooter may have intent on committing an anti-Islamic hate crime but confused Sikhs with Muslims because of their turbans. Kaleka pointed out that “maybe it’s because the ladies were fortunate enough to dodge it out, but so far most of the people I’ve heard have been shot and killed were all turbaned males.”

***


(Photo: Jeffrey Phelps / AP)

nbcnewsGunman opens fire at Sikh temple in Wisconsin; 7 dead

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET A gunman opened fire Sunday morning at a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, killing six people and wounding at least three others, including a police officer, before being shot to death, police said.

Greenfield  Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt, acting as public information officer at the scene, said the shooting was reported at 10:25 a.m. at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. The shooting took place shortly before Sunday services were to begin. Read the complete story.

***

“Just minutes after it was reported that people had been shot at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the hatemongers at Westboro Baptist Church were tweeting out: ‘God Sent Another Shooter.’ Read the whole story here.” — Westboro Baptist Church Responds To Shooting In Predictably Horrific Manner

***

A statement by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation“The Milwaukee Jewish community stands in solidarity with the Sikh community, and we offer assistance to the community, especially to the families of the victims. While we don’t know many details at this point, this may well be an intentional attack on the Sikhs which would make the massacre even more heinous. Our society is based on freedoms of religion and due process of law. We hope that law enforcement will find and hold accountable all parties involved in this senseless and shocking tragedy.” 

***

***

The man who shot six people to death and wounded three others during a rampage at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb was an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist, according to a law enforcement source involved in the investigation. Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation named him Monday as Wade Michael Page, 40. One law enforcement official said he owned the gun used in the shooting legally. He had apparently served on active duty, a U.S. official familiar with his record said. The source declined to give further details. The officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak on the record about the shooting investigation. — Sources name alleged gunman in Wisconsin temple shooting – CNN

***

“An unnamed federal official told the Los Angeles Times tonight that the shootings in Wisconsin are being treated as domestic terrorism because of the gunman’s tattoos and biographical details. ‘Tattoos on the body of the slain Sikh temple gunman and certain biographical details led the FBI to treat the attack at a Milwaukee-area temple as an act of domestic terrorism, officials said Sunday.'” — Little Green Footballs

***

thebengalcat: Mourners take part in a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting, in Milwaukee, on Sunday August 5, 2012. A white gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee in a rampage that left terrified congregants hiding in closets and others texting friends outside for help. The suspect was killed outside the temple in a shootout with police officers. AP

***

Family members of the Sikh Temple president have confirmed that he was among those killed – @NewsHub http://t.co/QmWuTQQ8

***

The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs are not Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say. — Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rep. Paul Ryan: repeal health care law because those rights “come from nature and God”

The Raw Story reports that “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is arguing that President Barack Obama’s health care reform law should be repealed because rights come from “nature and God,” not the government. During an interview on ABC, former Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Kennedy, told host George Stephanopoulos that the Supreme Court had made the right decision by upholding the Affordable Care Act. Ryan’s response:

“We’re going to repeal the entire law and then we’re going to advance patient-centered reforms that address these kinds of issues.I think this at the end of the day is a big philosophy difference. What Ms. Kennedy and others were saying is that this is a new government-granted right. We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours, they come from nature and God, according to the Declaration of Independence — a huge difference in philosophy.”

This man’s a loon in a political party filled with them. Let’s vote them out and take back our government. Enough with this foolishness.

Rob Zerban: Paul Ryan’s budget and the Colorado / New Mexico wildfires

Rob Zerban is running against Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. Here’s an interesting press release from the Zerban campaign, regarding the wildfires currently burning down Colorado and New Mexico:

Paul Ryan’s Budget: Its Own Natural Disaster

KENOSHA, Wis. – Upon word that firefighters in the western part of America are using firefighting equipment leased from Canada because of Paul Ryan’s reckless budget cuts, his challenger, Rob Zerban, released the following statement:

“Just as with Paul Ryan’s slashing of the National Weather Service’s ability to accurately predict major weather disasters like hurricanes and, here in Wisconsin, tornadoes, his budget is also leaving our nation’s first responders without adequate equipment to fight out-of-control wildfires, like those burning in Colorado, New Mexico and across the West.

“These cuts prevent those in charge of fire evacuations from understanding shifting wind patterns which lead to last-minute evacuations instead of giving residents and responders ample time to prepare. His cuts make targeted evacuation orders given by local officials more difficult, resulting in larger and less accurate evacuations regardless of the type of natural disaster.

“Paul Ryan refuses to accept any responsibility for the destruction of property and life because of his dangerous budgetary gimmicks. He’d rather ensure his wealthy campaign contributors receive yet another budget-busting tax cut instead of providing necessary tools and equipment to our brave first responders and to those who, behind the scenes, work just as hard for the public’s safety.”

Members of the media are encouraged to join the Rob Zerban campaign online at our campaign website,  www.RobZerban.com, as well as on FacebookTumblr, and Twitter at @RobZerban.

Remember this when Ryan and Romney want more tax cuts for the wealthy — you never know where the austerity cuts to pay for them will come from.

Herald TimesMassive wildfires in drought-parched Colorado and New Mexico tested the resources of state and federal crews Monday and underscored the need to replenish an aging aerial firefighting fleet needed to combat a year-round fire season. Wyoming diverted personnel and aircraft from two fires there to help with a 60-square-mile wildfire in northern Colorado. Canada also loaned two aerial bombers to fight the blaze following the recent crash of a U.S. tanker in Utah. And an elite federal firefighting crew arrived to try to begin containing a fire that destroyed at least 118 structures…

Charles P. Pierce: I’m not sure about the rest of the country, but, contra Willard Romney, I think both Colorado and New Mexico could use some more firefighters right now. That is certainly the opinion of the Colorado congressional delegation, which has dispatched a letter to the federal government appealing for more help. The delegation includes Rep. Scott Tipton (R -3d CD), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-4th CD), Rep, Mike (Stuck In A Groove) Coffman (R-6th CD). (As it happens, Gardner’s district is the one most directly affected by the wildfires.) Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway, all three of these folks voted for the Paul Ryan budget, which would cut the daylights out of things like federal firefighting programs, which already are pretty imperiled…

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 6.7.2012

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

Creepy young Mitt Romney: did young Mitt Romney like to impersonate a police officer? Another witness says yes — When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer – a crime in many states… And he had the uniform on display as proof. [...] Said Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.” In Madden’s recollection, confirmed by his wife Susan, who also attended Stanford during those years, “we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much interaction with him.” — National Memo


image: randomactsofchaos

The self-hating union members in Wisconsin — Romney said: “The union members, they’ll support us. Without the union members who support our campaign and support conservative principles, we wouldn’t have Scott Walker win in Wisconsin if that weren’t the case.” Exit polls showed that, while Barrett won a huge victory among union members, Walker nearly tied him among people who live with union members. — Washington Post

Maddow doubts whether Democrats can survive flood of dark money — “In just about every election, if you are outspent eight-to-one, then you are going to lose,” Maddow said. “There is occasionally going to be a Hail Mary, miracle underdog, but over time, structurally speaking, remove the personality and just think about this in political science terms, if you are outspent that kind of way — the way that Republicans can outspend Democrats with unlimited corporate money — the Democrats are going to lose.” Democrats have called for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned with a constitutional amendment, but the proposal is almost unanimously opposed by Republicans. Maddow described the amendment as a “very, very long term goal.” “Do Democrats have a realistic way to survive in elections to even try to get to the medium term, let alone that long term, if Republicans are systematically defunding the Democratic Party in a way that renders Democrats incapable of competing?” — Raw Story

imageJohn McCain’s Reindeer Games: what does defense spending have to do with farm / nutrition issues? Nothing, of course — The McCain amendment [to the FARM bill]… would require Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to file a detailed report by Aug. 15 on the security effects of the nearly $500 billion defense sequester. [...] Though the push to reverse the defense part of the sequester is especially popular among Republicans, the move to attach the McCain measure to a delicately negotiated, $969 billion bipartisan farm bill could be just the first of many to threaten final passage. [...] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said earlier this week he is willing to have an open amendment process on the bill as long as amendments fall within the purview of the legislation. The big question now is whether Republicans will demand amendment votes on proposals such as McCain’s, which are not directly relevant to farm or nutrition issues. — Roll Call News

  • J.M. Ashby sez, do it! I encourage congress to pass this amendment. Why? Because It will not serve the GOP’s interest. In fact, it may shut them up. [...] The $500 billion sequester will be drawn out over a period of 10 years. It’s not going to come all at once. Military spending is still going to increase over the next 10 years, but it will increase by $500 billion less than it otherwise would have over that time period. Furthermore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have already expressed confidence in their budget which accounts for the sequester. The same budget Paul Ryan accused them of lying about when they expressed their satisfaction.

Florida Governor Rick Scott Officially Defies Justice Department, Vows To Continue Voter Purge — In a letter sent [last] night, Florida Governor Rick Scott said the state will continue to purge registered voters from the rolls despite the Department of Justice’s warning that the effort is illegal. The Miami Herald reports, “the letter all but dares the Justice Department to sue Florida for allegedly violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.” — Think Progress

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

Obama: Bush Tax Cuts For Wealthy Will Not Be Extended, Period — The White House is insisting President Barack Obama will not extend the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans – even temporarily. Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president has been clear in his opposition to extending tax cuts for households with annual incomes above $250,000. Tax cuts for people of all incomes are due to expire at year’s end. — HuffPo

Serious legislating is ‘all but done’ in 2012 — “[M]y message to Congress is, get to work,” [President Obama] said over the weekend. “Right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states prevent more layoffs, so we can put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on the job. Congress should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our runways.” There was no realistic chance Congress would heed the president’s call. Not only have GOP lawmakers rejected all credible efforts to boost the economy, but at this point, Capitol Hill doesn’t really intend to do much of anything before the election. [...] [O]n Tuesday, [House Majority Leader Eric Cantor] all but predicted 2012 substantively over… The rest of the year, Cantor said, will likely be about sending “signal[s] that we’ve actually gotten with the reality here, that we have huge problems to deal with.” So, after a year and a half of getting practically nothing done, we can now expect to see Congress engaged in “signal” sending, not policymaking, for the next five months. — Maddow Blog

Obama For America TV Ad: “Jobs” — The President’s jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers, and construction workers back to work right now. And it’s paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, but Congress refuses to act. Tell Congress we can’t wait: http://www.barackobama.com/JobsNow

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls on Republicans to cancel next week’s recess (which will be the NINTH RECESS OF THE YEAR) — “Instead of recessing yet again, the House should remain at work and pass critical legislation that will create jobs for the middle class that will actually be signed into law. Republicans must not run out the clock on the economy,” the California Democrat said in a letter to Speaker John Boehner. “As House Republicans prepare for yet another week of recess, hundreds of thousands of construction workers, businesses large and small, and others in the transportation industry, and millions of college students and their families are facing imminent hardship,” Pelosi said, adding that “statements from the House Republican leadership have raised alarm among middle-class families and American businesses concerning your commitment to acting on the middle-income tax cuts and the debt limit.” — Roll Call News

From yesterday’s press gaggle with White House press secretary Jay Carney on Air Force One:

Q: Can I ask you about the California fundraisers, in particular? The President is getting a lot of heat over cavorting with showbiz types. Rush Limbaugh is referring to him as Barack Kardashian, can you believe. What is your response to that? (Laughter.)

CARNEY: Two words — Donald Trump. Next question.

Laugh OL!

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

It’s a great day for Citizens United, Wisconsin!

Scott Walker survived the recall election because, apparently, Wisconsin is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers. $30 million in campaign funds will usually always beat $3.9 million. Everyone knows that.

Josh Marshall wonders how Walker managed to cease to be as unpopular as he was a year ago — what exactly happened with the anti-Walker forces and what the defeat ultimately means for them and for everyone beyond Wisconsin:

This is also a big loss for public employees unions. There’s no getting around that fact. Just why that happened is another matter. But at the end of the day, victory is all that matters. Walker went big to destroy the public-sector unions in his state. And the labor movement went all out to take him down and lost. Wisconsin’s a pretty progressive, fairly blue-ish state. This result in this state has to embolden Republican governors across the country to think you can go for game-changing attacks on key Democratic constituencies like labor and not pay a price at the polls. Public employees unions across the country have feel like they have crosshairs on their backs. And they do.

If you think union-busting, and the effort to recall Walker for doing that, doesn’t eventually affect all of us in the long run, then you haven’t been paying attention. Harold Meyerson explains,

Added to the prohibition on their ability to bargain over wages and conditions of work, what the dramatic drop in union membership means is that workers’ power to win a decent life either at the workplace or at the ballot box will be weakened. Union treasuries will grow smaller, as will the level of resources they can devote to election campaigns. That means not just less money to campaign for union-specific issues, but for the whole panoply of causes (and the candidates who back them) that unions routinely support—women’s and minority rights, affordable higher education, financial regulation, the works. [...] Of course, as historian Fred Siegel, a leading opponent of public-sector unions, remarked to me many years ago (when he was still on the left), before unions, the common form of protest for workers seeking a better life was rioting. That may eventually prove to be the common form of protest after unions, too.

The reality about unions and standard wages nationally is this:

[T]he middle class’s share of national income has steadily declined as the percentage of the population in labor unions has fallen. At the same time, the top 1 percent’s share of national income has exploded… Strong unions have traditionally been the free-market solution to income inequality, allowing people to get higher salaries without government intervention. Unionization has allowed middle class and working-class Americans to have the ability to bargain for stronger wages and benefits and a larger share of national income. Highly-unionized countries tend to have far less income inequality.

 

As John Cole says, “Here’s to Wisconsin getting what they voted for and getting it hard.”

It’s Recall Scott Walker Day! 6 Voting Facts, 10 numbers you need to know


image: stfuconservatives

Not in Wisconsin? You can still help recall Scott Walker

10 numbers you need to know on Scott Walker Recall Day: It’s hard to make sense of it all in Wisconsin. So Mother Jones has compiled 10 of the most striking statistics from the recall rumble. They give you a sense of the time, money, and manpower invested by all sides—and how much each side has at stake:

$63.5 million — Total spending on Scott Walker’s recall election by candidates and outside political groups through the final days before the election. That sum shatters the previous record of $37.4 million in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

$3 out of every $5 — The proportion of Scott Walker’s recall donations that have come from donors outside of Wisconsin. Walker’s opponent Tom Barrett has highlighted this statistic to back up his attack on Walker as a right-wing “rock star.”

13 — Current and former Walker aides, associates, and supporters granted immunity by a circuit court judge in exchange for testifying in the two-year-old “John Doe” investigation examining activities that took place in Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Read more…

Morning Bunker Report: Monday 6.4.2012

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

Paul Krugman again slams Ryan’s budget plan and Romney’s advisor Eric Fehrnstrom for supporting it — “The plan’s a fraud,” Krugman said. “The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what’s actually in it, it’s a deficit-increasing plan.” “And so to say that, just tell the truth that there is really no plan there, neither from Ryan, nor from Governor Romney, is just the truth,” he said. “If that’s being harsh and partisan, gosh, then I guess the truth is anti-bipartisanship.” — Raw Story || image: phroyd

Austerity for the rest of us: Don’t look to Mitt Romney for help on underwater mortgages – Mitt Romney won’t offer “targeted relief for the 11.5 million American homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth,” Lanhee Chen, his campaign’s policy director, told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt. Chen described such policies as insufficient for stabilizing the housing market. – Think Progress


image: MoveOn.Org

Romney’s promises: we’ve heard it all before – Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts promising more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government. By the time Romney left office, state debt had increased, the size of government had grown, and Massachusetts had fallen behind almost every other state in job creation. Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now — YouTube

Romney adviser dismisses women’s issues as ‘shiny objects’ — Despite spending the GOP’s contested primary accusing President Obama for waging “an assault on religion,” flyering voters in Iowa with pamphlets that touted a “pro-life” agenda, and pledging to defund Planned Parenthood, Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom insisted that the general election should eschew social issues. Fehrnstrom also accused Democrats of using women’s reproductive health as “shiny objects” to avoid discussing the economy. “Mitt Romney is pro-life,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.” – Think Progress

Louisiana paper runs ad suggesting Obama and Democrats want to murder Christians – The Daily Advertiser, a Gannett-owned paper serving central Louisiana, is standing by its decision to run an advertisement today in which a far-right extremist group suggests that President Obama and Democrats are conspiring to murder Catholics and Christians. […] As with most newspapers, The Daily Advertiser says it does screen advertisements to ensure that blatantly false, overly offensive or otherwise inappropriate content is kept out of the paper. – Think Progress

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

Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom asked Paul Krugman if he preferred Obama’s plan over the Ryan plan. “Oh, yeah. I mean, the president — at least it’s — you know, I don’t approve of everything, but there are no gigantic mystery numbers in his stuff. We do know what he’s talking about. His numbers are… you know, all economic forecasts are wrong, but his are not… are not insane. These are… these are just imaginary.”  — Crooks and Liars

Shrum: ‘There’s nothing wrong’ with Obama holding Romney accountable — “There is nothing wrong with the president holding Mitt Romney to his account for his record from private business and his record as a public official,” [Democratic strategist Bob] Shrum said. “Harry Truman did the same thing. Ronald Reagan in 1980, one of the most optimistic politicians in America, ran a pretty tough negative advertising campaign, against Jimmy Carter.” Shrum added: “If you did what the governor (Romney) is suggesting, and maybe he’s not, and you just let this be a referendum, I don’t think the president could win.” — Raw Story

Having it both ways: a tale of two standards Romney has been running for president pretty much non-stop for six years. He and his aides have, in other words, had a very long time to come up with compelling explanations for all of the shortcomings in Romney’s record. With that in mind, Romney’s staffers had to know that when they appeared on the Sunday shows yesterday, they’d hear questions about Massachusetts being 47th out of 50 states in job creation during Romney’s tenure. And what was their explanation? Romney inherited a bad situation, and when he left, things were marginally better. Seriously, that’s their defense. [...] Look, this isn’t complicated. Romney is trying to create a standard for success that only he’s allowed to use.  [...] If Romney’s to be congratulated for inheriting an economy that was struggling but then turning things around a little, by that identical standard, he ought to be patting Obama on the back for a job well done. Indeed, the Romney campaign talking points practically sound like an Obama endorsement.– Steve Benen || image: obama2016

Walker recall election Tuesday: you can help! This is a race that will come down to turnout — The final Public Policy Polling count ahead of tomorrow’s recall election shows a slight Walker lead in a race that’s tightening up in the final hours. […] x If the folks who turn out on Tuesday actually matched the 2008 electorate, Barrett would be ahead of Walker by a 50-49 margin. It’s cliche but this is a race that really is going to completely come down to turnout. Needless to say, if you’d like to help out with turning out the vote, you can help out with phone banking here. Today’s the day we need you to help. It’s crunch time, and you can make calls from your own home. It’s easy and simple. This race is winnable, folks. Fire Walker with me. — Balloon Juice

Sarah Jessica Parker: “That Guy” — “Ok, the guy who ended the war in Iraq, the guy who says you should be able to marry anyone you want, and the guy who created 4 million new jobs, that guy: President Obama and Michelle are coming to my house for dinner on June 14, and I want you to be there too. But you have to go to JoinObama.com for your chance to win and the contest ends tomorrow night so go right here, right now. Because we need him and he needs us.” – YouTube


Romney economics: when a fair wage for American workers is considered ‘greed’

Fox News and Mitt Romney, as representatives for the one percent, rely on the Republican base voters to be not only dumb and uninformed, but self-hating as well. How else do you explain support (by people who aren’t wealthy) for the idea that fair wages and benefits for working Americans is “greed”? This morning, Ed Gillespie, an adviser to Mitt Romney, told Fox News host Chris Wallace that Scott Walker winning in Wisconsin would mean:

“I think the statement to big labor and to big government employee unions, government worker unions is that you can’t be too greedy,” Gillespie explained. “You need to understand that times are tough and a lot of these legacy costs that you imposed are due for some reforms and some restructuring.”

It’s interesting that Romney’s adviser calls it ‘greed’ when unions and workers want to preserve their wages and benefits. Especially when you consider the tactics of vulture capitalism, practiced by Mitt Romney during his time at Bain Capital, on long-term employees of companies acquired by Bain (fire them, hire some back at lower wages). Support for this kind of thinking will turn us into a third-world economy yet. Here’s proof: the WSJ reported this week that flat wages in the US are helping a manufacturing rebound:

The wage lag is a key factor contributing to the rebounding competitiveness of U.S. industry. A recent uptick in factory employment and the return of some production to U.S. shores from abroad both added jobs that probably otherwise wouldn’t exist. But sluggish wages also are squeezing workers’ incomes and spending. That, in turn, hurts retailers who target middle-income earners and restrains the vigor of the economic recovery. “The U.S. has held manufacturing wages in check while there has been strong wage growth in China and moderate wage growth in Mexico,” says economist Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, referring to two of the U.S.’s biggest lower-wage competitors.

China and Mexico’s wages are growing while U.S. wages are shrinking. Apparently that’s the only way corporations who got rich on American soil are willing to bring jobs back to American soil. Soon everyone will have a job, if they’re not too “greedy” and are willing to work for $1.00 a day.

Oh, and of course this is not greed.