SO FAR AWAY… Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore. It would be so fine to see your face at my door.
SO FAR AWAY… Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore. It would be so fine to see your face at my door.
Even though 3Chics Politico is written and curated by three women: Ametia, Rikyrah, and SouthernGirl2, I must nominate this as one of the most engaging blogs I've found. Devoted to politics and culture, these three shine a light on contemporary life with humor and spirit.
|rikyrah on Open Thread | The President Un…|
|rikyrah on Open Thread | The President Un…|
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|vitaminlover on Open Thread | The President Un…|
FOLLOW THE TRUTH TEAM ON TWITTER- RE: ROMNEY’S PRIMARY SPEECH
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Contact: Obama for America Press (312) 985-1198
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE FUTURE
CHICAGO, IL – Obama for America Press Secretary Ben LaBolt released the following statement this evening:
“The title for Governor Romney’s speech tonight should have been Back to the Future, because he has proposed a return to the same policies that got us into the economic crisis in the first place – forcing the middle class to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, letting Wall Street write its own rules, and eliminating investments in the security of the middle class. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Governor Romney believes that showering the wealthiest Americans with special giveaways will make the middle class thrive. We have tried those policies before. They didn’t unleash growth, they didn’t spur job creation and they didn’t boost the middle class. And while Mitt Romney praised those policies in 2004, they led to a recovery that produced seven times fewer private sector jobs than the President’s policies, despite a significantly milder recession compared to the one the President faced coming into office.
“This election will be a choice between two candidates, two records, and two visions for the country. The President brought the economy back from the brink of another Depression, bet on American workers to spur the comeback of the American auto industry and American manufacturing, kept his promise to end the war in Iraq and refocus on al Qaeda and fought every day to build an economy where hard work paid off and responsibility are rewarded. Governor Romney referred to himself as the ideal Tea Party candidate, and his policies earn him that title. He would stack the deck against the middle class, pull the rug out from under growing sectors of our economy like manufacturing and clean energy and promote giveaways to Americans who can afford to lobby for them.
“Mitt Romney has spent the past year out on the campaign trail tearing down the President with a negative message that even Republicans who have endorsed him have criticized. This marks the end of that monologue. Now he must put his record and his agenda next to the President’s.
another good one from Balloon Juice:
My mother and I were talking the other day and Mom pointed out Romney’s habit of putting people down and making them uncomfortable, even when he’s out and about with voters.
Take the infamous cookie incident from last week. Romney is given a batch of cookies. A normal person would be delighted, say ‘thank you’ and maybe ask who baked them. A seasoned politician would certainly do this. But not Romney. He started in that the cookies must’ve come from 7-Eleven and jokingly accused the woman who had given him the cookies of tricking him.
First of all, that’s just unforgiveably rude. But there’s also a power dynamic at play. He’s belittling the woman, making her feel uncomfortable, and apparently this guy is such a prick that he can’t help himself.
found this in the comments section at Balloon Juice:
I hang out a lot at a women’s site for dealing with Mother in laws and assorted crazy family. Mitt’s abiding characteristic is his…bitchiness. His comments are all passive agressive “digs” at the other person, orders and commands poorly disguised as “suggestions.” His “we” is always the royal “we.” I think that is one of the most disconcerting things about Romney’s public affect—he looks so masculine but his speech is all gratingly bitchy.
BWA HA HA HA @ “I think that is one of the most disconcerting things about Romney’s public affect—he looks so masculine but his speech is all gratingly bitchy.”
Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 04/24/2012
Mitt Romney and flip-flop fatigue
By Greg Sargent
A couple months ago, during the GOP primary, I speculated that Mitt Romney was benefitting from a phenomenon you might call “flip-flop fatigue.” The crush of equivocations, reversals and rhetorical contortions has gotten so relentless and ubiquitous that people had grown too exhausted to bother tracking or objecting to them anymore.
In the context of the general election, this has only grown more pronounced. If anyone thought conservatives, or neutral commentators, would hold Romney to the positions he professed to hold during the primary — and wouldn’t let him pivot towards middle in the general election — the early signs are that he will be granted all the maneuvering room he’ll need.
In the last few days, Romney has signaled that he is Etch-A-Sketching away his previous positions on immigration and on student loans. Romney has now hinted that he’s open to supporting Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act. If Romney embraces Rubio’s approach, as seems likely, will he pay any price from the right? Romney’s own immigration adviser, Kris Kobach, has said any such measure would also have to include self-deportation to be acceptable to conservative hard-liners. But now Kobach is already signaling that he thinks he and Rubio can coexist comfortably in Romney’s universe.
Meanwhile, during the primary, Romney repeatedly drew a hard line against government help with student debt. But as soon as Obama launched a campaign to extend low interest rates on federally funded student loans, and signaled that he’d make it central in the presidental race, Romney supported Obama’s position. Will conservatives who previously opposed the Obama student loan measure revolt? Well, House Republicans are already finessing the issue by signaling that there may not be any significant differences between them and Romney on the issue, after all.
Putting aside the reaction from conservatives, who have their own reasons for letting Romney’s pivoting skate, both of these turnarounds are being widely covered in the press as mere process stories, as if they’re as inevitable and unremarkable as a campaign staffing up in advance of the general.
Call it flip-flop fatigue in reverse. First Romney flip-flopped to the right, away from previously held positions, in order to get through the primary. While some of his rivals objected, many commentators treated it as business as usual, as stuff Romney just had to say to appeal to the right wing base. And now, precisely because commentators previously decided he didn’t mean any of the stuff he said to get through the primary, few if any are holding him accountable for those positions now in any meaningful way, and he’s paying little price in the way of pundit scorn for flip-flopping right back to the center again. It was all part of the game before, and it’s all part of the game once again.
Romney’s shift on student loans
By ALEXANDER BURNS |
4/24/12 4:22 PM EDT
Mitt Romney generated quite few headlines Monday when he voiced support for keeping federal student loan interest rates from going up – a position that puts him at odds with Republicans in Congress, and maneuvers him closer to the political center for the general election.
It’s also a stance that appears to clash with some of Romney’s rhetoric on the campaign trail during the Republican primary. A source flagged this video (below) of Romney during a Feb. 29 campaign stop in Ohio, answering a law student’s question about what he would do to help people address loans for education.
“I just started law school and they’re doing away with un-subsidized loans for grad students, which makes it almost impossible to pay off our debts, have a car, have a house, have a family before we retire. What are you going to do for people like me?” the young woman asked.
Romney began his answer by saying that he wished he “could tell you that there’s a place to find really cheap money, or free money, and we could pay for everyone’s education.
But, Romney said, “that’s just not going to happen,” and he proceeded to argue that it’s not a good thing to have government too involved in student loans.
“Now that the government’s taking over the student loan business, I think you’ll get less competition. I’d rather have more competition, with private lenders as well as government lenders,” Romney said. “The right course for America is for businesses and universities and colleges to compete, and for us to make sure that we provide loans to the extent we possibly can at an interest rate that doesn’t have the taxpayers having to subsidize people who want to go to school.”
Going a step further, Romney told the Ohio crowd that he wants loans to be accessible to people, but that if voters want somebody who “will be some who get up in a setting like this and talk about how they’re going to give you a bunch of government money … that’s not who I am.”
While Romney didn’t specifically address the issue of interest rates on federal student loans, his repeated insistence on not handing out more government money to pay for college – and skepticism about government involvement in lending – would seem at odds with the policy stance he announced Monday.
I asked a Romney campaign official to explain the difference; the official repeatedly declined to do so on the record, and asserted that Romney had been “addressing proposals to completely forgive student loan debt” when he spoke in Ohio. I pointed out that there was no reference to complete loan forgiveness in the question or in Romney’s remarks, and got no response.
24 Apr 2012 02:45 PM
Corruption, Cameron, And The Murdochs
It’s getting brutal, as emails reveal that the Cameron cabinet secretary, Jeremy Hunt, assigned to preside over the question of the Murdochs’ full take-over of BSkyB, was in constant contact with James Murdoch, to keep him up to date. Money quote:
News Corp executives were even given private briefings on Mr Hunt’s confidential discussions with regulators and other media organisations. At one point, News Corp’s chief lobbyist emailed James Murdoch to say he had “managed to get some info” on what Jeremy Hunt would announce to Parliament the next day “although absolutely illegal!”. The same lobbyist suggested an agreed “plan” between News Corp and the Government would lead to “game over for the opposition”.
Hunt should obviously resign ASAP. And today, for good measure, the former editor of the Independent, Simon Kelner, recounts the day Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks came to see him two years ago. Money quote:
I sat on a sofa, Brooks perched on the arm of another sofa, and Murdoch walked and talked. He was excitable and angry. “You’ve impugned the reputation of my family,” he said at one point. He called me “a fucking fuckwit” and became furious at my bemusement that he should find our campaign so upsetting, given that one of his newspapers famously claimed that it did indeed decide elections.
Brooks said very little, but, when her boss’s rage blew itself out, chipped in with: “We thought you were our friend”. Their use of language and the threatening nature of their approach came straight from the “Mafioso for Beginners” handbook.
Rick Scott’s sense of irony
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:17 PM EDT.
Republican policymakers at the local, state, and federal level are targeting new restrictions in women’s health; congressional Republicans are balking at the Violence Against Women Act; and GOP leaders, including the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, won’t take a stand in support of fair-pay laws for women.
Leave it to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to find a way to make matters worse.
On April 17, smack in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $1.5 million for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. The Legislature allotted the funds to the organization in order to support 30 rape crisis centers as they face impending reductions in collections, which currently is the bulk of their budgets. […]
Jennifer Dritt, the executive director of the Florida Council, says she is “stunned” the funding was cut. She says the line-item was “new money” meant to ease the reduction in collections that rape crisis centers are facing.
Keep in mind, this money was approved by the Republican-led state legislature, but was removed by Scott himself, taking advantage of his line-item veto power.
The governor’s press secretary told the Huffington Post the state “already funds sexual violence programs, and nobody was able to make it clear to [Scott] why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.”
Dritt responded by pointing to the waiting lists at rape crisis centers: “Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen. We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need.”
That the Republican governor did this in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month appears to be a coincidence.
12 things we could learn from Mitt Romney’s tax returns
Below are 12 questions that Mitt Romney needs to answer by releasing his previous years’ tax returns.
1: What was Romney’s tax rate in earlier years? Romney’s 2010 tax rate was 13.9%, but was it even lower in previous years?Romney Paid A 13.9 Percent Tax Rate In 2010 On $21.7 Million In Income. According to Bloomberg, Romney “earned $21.6 million in 2010 and paid 13.9 percent of that amount in income taxes, using the preferential rate on investment income and charitable deductions to pay a smaller share of his earnings than top wage earners typically do. The former private-equity executive and Massachusetts governor earned more than half of his income from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a top rate of 15 percent, rather than the 35 percent top rate for ordinary income. […] Romney’s income puts him near the very top of U.S. taxpayers.” [BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, 01/24/12]
2: What other foreign bank accounts did Romney hold? As has been widely reported, Romney held accounts in Switzerland, Ireland, and the Grand Caymans. How many more are hidden in previous years’ returns?Romney Held Much More Funds in Foreign Accounts in Previous Years Than He Did in 2010 And 2011. According to Mitt Romney’s 2011 estimated taxes, he paid $67,173 in foreign taxes in 2010. However, he also discloses that in 2005, he paid $333,149 in foreign taxes; paid $276,386 in 2006; $275,288 in 2007; and $151,015 in 2008. [Romney 2011 Tax Estimate, page 81]
Additionally: Romney failed to disclose IRS form TD-F 90-22. Holders of foreign bank accounts are required to complete this form and submit it separate from their tax returns. Romney opted not to disclose the form.
Competing for the youth vote
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:35 PM EDT
.In the 2008 presidential election, there was a striking age gap — Obama not only beat McCain among younger voters, he did so by a two-to-one margin. Of all the various constituencies, some of Obama’s strongest support came from voters under 30.
But with younger workers struggling, and political disillusionment not uncommon, Mitt Romney thinks he can close the gap, at least a little, and perform far better than the McCain/Palin ticket did four years ago. Indeed, remember this clip from several weeks ago, in which Romney said, “I don’t see how a young American can vote for, well, can vote for a Democrat”?
Team Romney is still hard at work trying to rally the youth vote, and hosted a conference call this morning on the issue, featuring, among others, Hank Brown, a 72-year-old former Republican senator who also served as the president of the University of Colorado.
Alex Seitz-Wald reports that the Romney campaign couldn’t come up with much to say.
In its effort to reach out to young voters, Mitt Romney’s campaign held a conference call with reporters today to discuss what the presumed GOP nominee thinks of President Obama’s record on the youth (not much) and what they have to offer young Americans (also not much). […]
So, if Obama was so bad, what would a Romney presidency do instead? The septuagenarian Brown, joined on the call by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and College Republican National Committee Chairman Alex Schriver, didn’t really have much to offer.
The problem for the presumptive Republican nominee is that so much of his policy agenda makes it difficult to do meaningful outreach to younger voters.
We know, for example, that Romney wants to eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, which will immediately take health care coverage away from millions of young people aged 18 to 25, who can now remain on their family plans thanks to the reform law. “Vote for me and I promise to take away your health insurance” is not a winning message.
We also know that Romney wants to scrap college aid for millions of younger Americans. For this constituency, it’s one of the single biggest issues on the policy landscape, and the former governor’s message to them is, “Tough luck.”
Making matters slightly worse, Democrats streamlined the student loan system in 2010, eliminating needless subsidies to banks, and redirecting the savings to help cover tuition costs. Romney opposes those reforms.
Romney’s pitch to young people is that he’ll tackle debt reduction, which is supposed to be a big draw, but even here, the presumptive Republican nominee hasn’t said how he’ll lower the debt, and has in fact vowed to make it worse with more tax cuts.
And yet, there was the conference call this morning. Seitz-Wald concluded, “In all, the call mentioned not a single positive program to help young people directly, offering only attacks on Obama and generalized prescriptions for the entire economy.”
Anyone watching this?:
Department of Health and Human Services: Minority Health Blogger Townhall
The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
Justice Dept. makes 1st arrest in BP oil spill; ex-engineer accused of obstruction of justice
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 12:23 PM
NEW ORLEANS — The Justice Department said on Tuesday it filed the first criminal charges in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, accusing a former BP engineer of destroying evidence.
Kurt Mix, of Katy, Texas, was arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice.
The Justice Department says the 50-year-old Mix is accused of deleting a string of 200 text messages with a BP supervisor in October 2010 that involved internal BP information about how efforts to cap the well were failing.
BP officials did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Justice Department officials said Mix would make an initial appearance in federal court in Houston on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in New Orleans is expected to consider a motion to approve a $7.8 billion civil settlement between BP and a committee of plaintiffs in a civil case.
A Serious Question
By Charles P. Pierce at 1:40PM
Has The New York Times taken to hiring its “Public Editors” from the people waiting on hold for Mark Levin?
Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama?
No kidding, that appeared in an actual column in the actual New York Times.
(My favorite part of the column has to be where the Public Editor goes to the Political Editor for a comment, and the latter cites the following in his own defense: a Feb, 27 article about the president’s decision not to pursue recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission on debt reduction — a move the article said had contributed to undercutting “a central promise of his 2008 campaign, to rise above the rancor.” This is all my arse. There were no “recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission.” There were some suggestions by Simpson and Bowles that were unable to attract majority support within the commission necessary for their being presented to the Congress. And that last bit about “rancor” is the last refuge of somebody who can look political vandalism square in the eye and not see the vandals themselves.)
Barack Obama has been on the national scene for eight years. He was a candidate for the better part of two years and has been the president of the United States for the better part of three. We know about things his preacher said. We know about his uncle’s unfortunate driving history and his aunt’s time on the dole. A good portion of the Republican base — the portion that Mr. Brisbane here is begging not to write him anything hurtful anymore — believes that it knows the president is a Kenyan-born Muslim Indonesian socialist who is just waiting until his second term to round them all up, take away their guns, and give them all retroactive late-term abortions, and only Brisbanish “vetting” can stand in the way of all that.
We are so very screwed.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Ombudsdope_Strikes_Back#ixzz1syd2vdTC
Counting on the Thurston Howell demographic
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:38 AM EDT.
We’ve reported many times on the degree to which Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has relied on votes from wealthy Republicans to help his candidacy thrive during the Republican primaries. But let’s also not forge the role of the Thurston Howell demographic when it comes to financial support.
BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller recently noted that the most recent federal campaign finance filings help show that Romney is “more dependent on wealthy donors” than any modern major-party nominee. I’ve adapted some of Zeke’s data to put together this chart.
How much is Romney struggling with small-donor contributions? As of the end of March, even Ron Paul and Rick Santorum had raised more money in small donations than the presumptive Republican nominee.
The larger contrast for the general election is even more striking. President Obama, at this point in the race, has persuaded a very large number of people to contribute modest sums to help establish a formidable financial base. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has persuaded a very small number of people to make massive contributions.
In practical terms, this may not matter as much as it should — thanks to five members of the Supreme Court, Romney’s wealthy backers can make unlimited contributions to entities like Karl Rove’s super PAC, and given the riches of folks like the Koch brothers, it’s basically a bottomless-well of campaign cash that will finance attack ads through Election Day.
But the disparity nevertheless helps make clear who constitutes Romney’s “base,” and what income bracket they tend to be in.
Have I not told you all that she is LITERALLY MISS ANN:
Ann Romney: ‘I Love The Fact That There Are Women Out There Who Don’t Have A Choice’ And ‘Must Go To Work’
By Alex Seitz-Wald on Apr 24, 2012 at 9:49 am
In an emotional speech about the difficulty of motherhood and life on the campaign trail, Ann Romney used an odd choice of words to discuss mothers who are forced to work while raising their children.
Ann Romney was at the center of a national discussion recently after a Democratic consultant charged that the would-be future first lady couldn’t possibly understand the plight of working mothers because she had the luxury to stay home and devote herself full time to raising her kids. The Romney campaign fired back, accusing Democrats of lacking respect for stay at home moms.
The issue was largely dismissed after a few days as a ginned-up “silly season” controversy, but Ann Romney’s comments last night at the Connecticut Republican Party’s Prescott Bush Awards Dinner could potentially reignite the issue. After discussing how she understands the challenges mothers face, Romney said, according to BuzzFeed:
Romney alluded to the fact that not all women can stay at home saying, “I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.”
It seems Romney was trying to express empathy for women who don’t have the option to stay at home, as she did. But the comment that she “love[s]” that some women “don’t have a choice” and must work is unusual, to say the least, and could lead to a new round of charges that the Romneys don’t understand average Americans, given their enormous wealth.
Go sit down somewhere Miss Ann ” Scarlett” Romney. You DON’T KNOW NOTHING ‘BOUT WORKING WOMEN!
Republicans launch new effort to court black voters
One thing is certain this election year: President Barack Obama will win African American voters by a colossal margin.
Obama had a stunning 94-3 lead over Mitt Romney among blacks in a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
But Republicans are trying to loosen the grip.
The Republican National Committee is planning to launch a “black Americans” outreach program as part of their “strategic partnerships” initiative aimed at courting groups that have traditionally leaned Democratic.
Web platforms targeting women and Hispanics have already launched.
The party is set to introduce a new web site, which will go live in the next two weeks, featuring testimonials from some of the party’s most prominent black elected officials, including Florida Rep. Allen West, South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott and Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
Oh Im def voting repub now! Allen West? Tim Scott? Oh yea!! LOL
BWA HA HA HA HOUSE COONS, UNLIMITED!
Hi dannie. Could you tweet a few threads for us, while SG2’s out. Thanks! The most recent ones…
Romney shakes the Etch A Sketch on student aid
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:22 AM EDT.
As we discussed on Friday, an important fight is brewing over student loan interest rates, with policymakers facing a July deadline before rates for federal Direct Stafford Loans double. If Congress doesn’t act, more than 7.4 million students will face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt.
The Obama White House and congressional Democrats are eager to keep rates where they are, while congressional Republicans want the lower rates to expire in two months. Yesterday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced he agrees with … the left. Here’s the video, which The Ed Show aired last night.
For those who can’t watch clips online, Romney said:
“…I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans. There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year, and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates.”
In the short term, this may give Dems an additional edge in the legislative fight — it’s bound to be at least a little helpful to have the Republican presidential candidate endorse the Democratic position.
But in the bigger picture, we have another clear example of Romney shaking the Etch A Sketch as he transitions to the general-election phase of the campaign. Last week, it was immigration policy, and this week, it’s student loans.
In both cases, however, Romney is really only giving the appearance of moderation.
On immigration, the Romney campaign tried to put some distance between the former governor and his right-wing immigration advisor, Kris Kobach, and leak word that Romney doesn’t really believe his own anti-immigrant rhetoric, but his policy agenda remained unchanged.
On student loans, Romney is now on board with Obama’s plan to keep interest rates at their current level, but the Republican’s almost-strident opposition to helping Americans afford college tuition hasn’t budged.
Let’s not forget that it was just last month when Romney, still pandering to his party’s far-right base, explained that families worried about affording college tuition should expect no help from a Romney administration. Indeed, the former governor said students should shop around for colleges with the best rates, because Americans will be on their own.
What’s more, Romney also endorsed Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget plan, which, among other things, makes deep cuts to Pell Grants (and, incidentally, would also allow student loan interest rates to double).
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee is, in other words, playing a little game: moving to the extreme in the primaries, then pivoting to a faux centrism, hoping reporters and voters will be impressed. He’s shaking the Etch A Sketch, but only enough to give the appearance of moderation.
Meanwhile, American Bridge, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, released this video this morning, targeting Romney on education policy.
Talk is Cheap; Republican Bullshit is Very Expensive
By John Cole April 24th, 2012
So now our deficit hawks want to continue the Bush tax cuts, enact more tax cuts for the rich, expand our already bloated defense budget, and now they have even given up on their token issue to pretend they cared about spending:
Hypocrisy alert: House Republican freshmen are begging their leaders to bring back a certain type of earmark so that they can help companies back home in an election year.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, 65 House Republican freshmen — or roughly three-quarters of the class — asked that the House consider a miscellaneous tariff bill jam-packed with special provisions to suspend duties on various foreign goods, even though it runs counter to the earmark ban Republicans campaigned on in 2010 and instituted when they took power.
The push is a sign that freshmen who arrived in Washington talking up their anti-pork principles are now worried about what — if anything — they’ll have to show constituents when they hit the campaign trail. And, in typical Washington fashion, they think they’ve found a loophole that will get them past the ban.
Because, you know, they are fiscal conservatives. Why anyone believes these bullshit artists is simply beyond me
Social Security Is Not Bankrupt. Not Even Close.
Posted on 04/24/2012 at 7:16 am by Bob Cesca
The 2012 Social Security Trustees Report was issued the other day and — surprise — Social Security isn’t bankrupt like everyone in the press and in the Republican Party (and Democratic Party in some cases) are telling you.
The most important take-away points from the 2012 Trustees Report will be that Social Security has a large and growing surplus; that without any Congressional action, Social Security will continue to pay benefits to America’s eligible working families for decades; and that with modest legislated increases in revenue, it will continue to pay those benefits for the next century and beyond.
Atrios noted that Mark Warner (D-VA) is lying about the Trustees Report, suggesting that it says the fund “runs dry” by 2033.
After 2033, if nothing is done to increase revenue (Congress will do something), Social Security will still be able to pay out 75-80 percent of benefits — calculated based on 2033 money, which is actually more than people are being paid in benefits right now. And that’s if NOTHING is done to increase revenue before then. In other words SOCIAL SECURITY IS RUNNING A SURPLUS AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE!!!11!!1
Don’t believe the myths. And for heaven’s sake, vote against anyone who wants to privatize the system.
Morning Murderer was plugging the lie this morning.
How Does This Money Thing Work?
By mistermix April 24th, 2012
Josh Marshall points out that a lot of Romney contributors have maxed out, while Obama donors generally have a lot more room to give, and says:
So one could imagine getting into late summer and Romney would be having a hard time finding new people to give while the Obama campaign would be able to keep harvesting money from his small donor base. (Things were never quite this restrictive; there are various party committees where candidates can direct money. Still, it could be a real problem.)
But under the Citizens United rules, Romney probably just sends those folks to Crossroad and Crossroads GPS. Not sure he’d ever really run into a problem.
I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it. I’ll grant that third parties like Crossroads GPS probably do some kind of in-the-background coordination with campaigns, but it’s not like they’re working under the same roof as the Romney campaign. That matters, because it’s hard to see how Karl Rove’s message is going to be exactly the same as Romney’s on any given day in whatever state Mitt is visiting. And is Crossroads going to pay for staffers on the ground for months prior to the campaign, as the Obama campaign has been doing even in Kay’s red county?
Don’t get me wrong—if Crossroads GPS spends $100 million, that’s significant. But it’s not as effective as the Romney campaign spending $100 million, and if Romney can’t tap some more donors, it’s going to hurt him even if Rove and the Kochs step in.
Romney Hints At Radical Health Care Reform Plan To Replace ‘Obamacare’
Brian Beutler- April 24, 2012, 6:00 AM
Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney doesn’t like to talk about the key details of his own plan for reforming the country’s health care system — the plan he’d push as a replacement to “Obamacare.”
But if you string together what he has said publicly, you arrive at a plan that would be far more disruptive to the existing health care system than “Obamacare” would be if fully implemented.
That’s what the Los Angeles Tims did in a story that the White House missed and the Romney’s campaign declined to discuss with TPM. What the Times arrived at is a plan broadly similar to the widely derided blueprint John McCain ran on in 2008.
The underlying idea is to wipe out one of the main fiscal tent poles of the existing health care system, and use the resulting revenues to finance billions of dollars in subsidies to buy insurance on the existing private market. The result, according to experts, would likely be a significant increase in the number of uninsured Americans, in an economy where, for better or worse, employers would likely no longer provide their workers with health care coverage.
The fact that the government excludes employer-sponsored insurance from taxation is the reason most people get their insurance through their workplaces. Companies are also able, unlike most individuals, to pool risk, so that sick as well as healthy people can be covered without distorting premiums for everybody. The result is a mix of perverse incentives that keep people tied down to jobs they don’t like, and leave self-employed people and many others to fight it out in the under-regulated individual market, where insurers can deny people coverage based on their pre-existing medical conditions, rescind coverage from individuals who get sick and skew premiums based on everything from age to geography.
“Obamacare” sought to mitigate those distortions by regulating the individual insurance market in a way that creates a safety net for the uninsured, the self-employed, laid-off workers and workers at firms that decide, over time, to stop offering health care benefits. It subsidizes insurance for these people and requires insurers to end discriminatory practices, and in return requires everybody to carry coverage. It finances this system in part by limiting — not eliminating — the tax exclusion for employer-provided benefits.
Romney, by contrast, suggests he would eliminate this tax exclusion, leading employers to drop benefits, and leaving workers to buy insurance on their own with tax credits. Analyses of McCain’s similar plan in 2008 suggest it would cause the number of uninsured Americans to spike by millions.
That’s because neither Romney nor McCain’s plans allow individuals to pool risk in insurance exchanges, require insurers to sell insurance to all comers without price-discriminating against sick people or fight the adverse selection problem by requiring both sick and healthy people to enter the pool. Romney isn’t calling for those reforms — because though they would solve the problems with his outline, they would also add up to “Obamacare.”
Why The Latino Vote Isn’t Really Up For Grabs
Kyle Leighton- April 24, 2012, 5:48 AM
In an election about the economy, immigration doesn’t rank particularly high on the list of key concerns for many voters. But the concerns of Latino voters, and the discussion of their potential to swing a presidential election, are once again being thrust to the fore.
Lifted by speculation over the vice presidential prospects of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the debate over the importance and allegiances of the nation’s fastest growing voting bloc will only get more pronounced this week when the Supreme Court hears arguments over Arizona’s controversial get-tough-on-immigration law.
But is the Latino vote really up for grabs, in a way that could swing the election? The polling data suggests that’s a stretch.
Polling shows that 2012 is shaping up to look a lot like 2008 among Latino voters: Two thirds nationally say they will vote for President Obama, a quarter say they’re in the GOP camp, with the little remaining undecided, as shown by a Univision poll from January and a Pew survey from a week ago. This despite the fact that reform advocates tell TPM that many Latinos are upset with the Obama administration over its handling of the economy, the inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and the fact that immigrant deportations have soared to their highest level ever.
“There’s no play in the immigration debate for Republicans — the states that it would move people are already in the R column,” said Doug Usher, a managing director with the bipartisan firm Purple Strategies and a former pollster for Sen. John Kerry’s (D) presidential campaign. But it’s equally unlikely to put new states on the map for President Obama, though Usher says he thinks Latino support could help him hold Colorado and Virginia.
Bruce Haynes, Usher’s colleague as a founding partner of Purple Strategies and a veteran of Republican campaigns, told TPM that in his list of the biggest swing states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Colorado — “Immigration is a issue in all of them, but a key driver in none of them.” But, he says, that’s not what’s important for Mitt Romney on the issue.
You know here we have Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, whom the Navy six Seals took out under the direction of the Obama Adminsitration and the nutty ass fuckers, this includes elected officials are still asking for his birth certificate.
Wal-Mart faces criminal probe in bribery scandal
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:40 AM EDT.
Over the years, retail behemoth Wal-Mart has been the subject a fair number of controversies, most of which have related to union busting and immigration abuses. But the New York Times’ David Barstow has helped uncover a different kind of scandal, and this one may lead to criminal charges
In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.
The former executive gave names, dates and bribe amounts. He knew so much, he explained, because for years he had been the lawyer in charge of obtaining construction permits for Wal-Mart de Mexico.
Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”
Boehner frets over his job security
By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
Will he have to give the gavel back in January?
Exactly three months ago today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) boasted that it would be “nearly impossible” for his Republican caucus to lose its majority this year — or at any point in the coming decade.
Does Boehner believe his majority is secure because House Republicans are responsible lawmakers who’ve impressed the American electorate and earned voters’ trust? Not exactly. As the Speaker explained in late January, House GOP incumbents will simply keep winning because state Republican officials have drawn congressional boundaries in such a way as to guarantee the party’s success, whether Republicans do an awful job in Washington or not.
Three months later, Boehner’s confidence appears to have waned, at least a little.
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said on Monday that Republicans had a one-in-three chance of losing control of the House in November, a surprisingly downbeat assessment from a Republican leader who until now has expressed no fears of losing the gavel.
In an interview with Fox News, to be shown on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner delivered what aides called a wake-up call to his troops.
“I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there’s a one-in-three chance that we could lose, and I’m being myself, frank,” he said in an interview first posted online by the newspaper The Hill. “We’ve got a big challenge, and we’ve got work to do
He’s come a long way since that “effectively zero” assessment in January.
It’s worth noting that it’s difficult to gauge Boehner’s sincerity. It’s possible, if not likely, that the Speaker is worried about his party’s election-year fundraising, and by telling a Fox News audience that the GOP’s majority is in jeopardy, he may trying to boost donations while combating complacency.
Of course, Boehner is also inadvertently giving Democrats a morale boost, letting rank-and-file Dem voters that their own majority is within reach.
Regardless, Democrats face an uphill fight: they’ll need a net gain of 25 seats in November, and the post-Census redistricting process has rigged the game in Republicans’ favor. That said, recent polling shows most voters want a Democratic majority; Congress’ retched approval rating is a recipe for volatility, and both the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee believe a Dem majority is in reach this year.
REPOST- What is the Violence Against Women Act?
I’OIN’T KNOW! SMGDH
she didn’t know about the minimum wage either.
Pathetic. But these are the stupid, white, privileged folks that get into office and are given the power to destroy other American’s lives.
Michael Tomasky on Obama’s Problem With Jewish Voters in November
by Michael TomaskyApr 24, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Despite the president’s moving words at the Holocaust Museum on Monday, his support among Jewish voters is down. Can he turn things around by Election Day?
Amidst all the speculation (including my own) that Barack Obama should be able to dispatch Mitt Romney without too-strenuous exertions, and despite the president’s moving speech at the Holocaust Museum on Monday, we would do well to remind ourselves that Obama is having trouble with Jewish voters. A recent poll puts his support at middling levels, good enough to carry New York and California (obviously), but maybe not Florida. The poll result suggests one of the notable failures of his term: He moved into the White House clearly thinking that he could completely reset and reframe U.S.-Israeli relations, and even reset and reframe the very idea of what it means to be pro-Israel. This was and is an extremely worthy project, but it has proven to be a hell of a lot harder than he thought it would. And so he has—for the time being at least—given up on the project, now that he needs the votes.
This is the same mufucka that called the president arrogant last week?
I’ll pass on this bullshit. No Pepto Bismol on hand. :p
This is the same misguided mufucka that called my president arrogant last week….
Naw dude, I’ll pass on this bullshit. Thank you very much.
Sorry about the dupe, my old slow computer will be put down soon. :(
MITT ROMNEY’S LASTEST ENDORSEMENT
Good Morning, Everyone! :-)
Good Mornng, Ametia and Everyone :)