Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you’re enjoying today with family and friends.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Just watched PBO address the nation from Colorado hospital. It was poignant.

    President Barack Obama said Sunday that when he visited families of the Colorado shooting victims, “I come to them not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband.”

    Obama said the shootings at a Colorado movie theater were an “evil act.” While the perpetrator has had lots of attention, he said, “that attention will fade away and in the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    Media Matters Radio Illustrates How Fox News Plays Down Questions For Romney Over Bain Capital And Tax Returns

  3. rikyrah says:

    Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen Explains How Romney Is Taking His Cues From Fox News

  4. rikyrah says:

    It’s Not “Swift Boating” If It’s True

    Outlining the growing controversy about the timeline of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital career, CNN’s Jim Acosta recently asked the candidate if he believed he was “being swift-boated in this campaign.” Later that same evening, reporting on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Tom Forman forged a tighter connection, suggesting “Republican analysts fear Mitt Romney could become the second politician from Massachusetts swift boated out of the presidency.”

    Here’s how Forman describe the Swift Boat affair [emphasis added]:

    FORMAN: He’s talking about the Swift Boat campaign, in which President Bush’s challenger John Kerry was demonized over what his campaign considered an attribute. His decorated service as a soldier in Vietnam. The Swift Boat ads, backed by a group of pro-Bush veterans, questioned the Democratic challenger’s conduct in the war, his anti-war activities later and his patriotism.

    Kerry was slow to respond and never very effective in refuting their claims even though his critics offered little in the way of proof. He lost the election of course. And for many Democrats, swift-boating became a catch-all term for any unfair, untrue, personal assault on a candidate.

    Trying to tie contemporary questions about Romney’s Bain past with an infamous GOP smear campaign is an exercise in false equivalency. “The Swift Boat campaign was completely a lie,” Esquires’ Charles Pierce recently reminded readers. “Nothing the Swifties said about John Kerry was true.” And yet, despite the cavernous gap between the Swift Boat affair and the ongoing Bain story, the comparison continues to gain currency

  5. rikyrah says:

    July 21, 2012 4:55 PM

    There he goes again!

    By Kathleen Geier

    Hey, remember that annoying piece in the New York Times last week — you know, the one about a single mom who worked a child care center, who struggled to scrape by and support three kids with poorly paid job? The piece was so exasperating because it implicitly endorsed the sexist and patronizing frame that if only the woman featured in the article — clearly a very hard-working woman named Jessica Schairer — would catch herself a man, everything in her life would fall into place. But it’s not just the sexism that made this article infuriating, it’s its wholesale denial of the hostile economic reality that Jessica and the majority of the American work force are dealing with today. Katha Pollitt did such a fine job putting paid to the piece that I didn’t think I’d have anything more to add.

    That is, not until I heard, via Chris Hayes’ TV show, that Mitt Romney had mentioned the piece at a campaign appearance earlier this week. Here is what he said:

    “I don’t know whether you read the story over the weekend there was a story that described a couple of women working in a daycare center. One is a single mom, she has three kids. One full-time job and three kids does not make a comfortable life. Being middle class in America is getting tougher and tougher. This president’s economy is not working for the American people even for those that are employed.”

    Just when I think the Mittster has plumbed the depths of his own phoniness, he has a way of astonishing me by reaching new levels of complete fakery.

    The faux sympathy is galling enough: “One full-time job and three kids does make a comfortable life. Being middle class in America is getting tougher and tougher.”

    First of all — riiiiiiight. Like he could even imagine not having a “comfortable life.”

    Secondly, there’s that bit about how “being middle class in America is getting tougher and tougher.” Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

    Let’s look at the facts. Why shouldn’t one full-time job be enough to support a modestly comfortable life for oneself and one’s family? Certainly, by all accounts, Jessica, the woman featured in the piece, is a hard worker. She has an associate’s degree, which means she is better educated that most American adults. Moreover, has been working for the same employer for six years, and she is a manager.

  6. rikyrah says:

    £13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

    A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

    James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

    He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy”. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

    The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

    Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

    “The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments,” the report says.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Mitt and His Buddies Looted Almost $10 Trillion from Real Economy

    Posted on July 22, 2012 by emptywheel

    The Tax Justice Network just released an updated version of a report showing how much money gets siphoned out of the real economy into tax shelters: conservatively, $21 Trillion, and possibly as much as $32 Trillion.

    I’ll have more to say about what the report says about the how the super wealthy have done in the last decade and which banks have been helping to loot the real economy.

    But for now, consider where Mitt Romney fits into this picture. TJN shows that it’s really just the richest of the rich–those 91,186 people who make up the top .001%–that account for the biggest chunk ($9.8 Trillion) of this looting.

    Not only is Mitt a member of that tiny club. But his net worth–commonly reported to be $250 Million but, given all the secrecy, possibly much more–puts him well above the mean $183 Million that members of this club enjoy.

    And Mitt and his buddies in this very elite club have stashed 18% of the total liquid net worth of the world in places where not only can’t potential presidential voters know about it, but it also remains outside the kind of circulation that would really contribute to real economic growth.

    Last week, Obama released an ad that said Mitt is the problem. TJN shows just what a big problem Mitt and his buddies really are.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Never Mind the Bubbly, Some Can’t Buy Groceries


    Published: July 21, 2012

    This past week had many New Yorkers indulging an amused horror over a curated set of images on the social-media site Tumblr titled “Rich Kids of Instagram.” Photographs, outlined in gilded frames, depict the summer-holiday excesses of young people for whom Y.M.C.A. camp was apparently never on the horizon. Several revelers pay tribute to their imbibing on noncommercial modes of transportation


    This, of course, is a highly dubious claim. Despite job growth in certain knowledge-class and service sectors, unemployment has been rising. On Thursday, the State Labor Department reported that the city’s unemployment rate climbed to 10 percent in June, exceeding the national figure by close to two percentage points. The unemployment rate in the city is now nearly twice what it was five years ago and has been running higher than the figures for Atlanta, Boston, Houston and Chicago.

    While it is indeed a very good time to be moving to New York with a Stanford M.B.A. and a business plan to create the Twitter of 2014 (as suggested by the barely post-adolescent tech entrepreneur Josh Miller when he stood next to the mayor at a press event in May), it is a far less auspicious moment to be someone who already lives here and is looking for cleaning work, say, in the offices of the Twitter of 2012.

    Since last month, Agustina Guillot and Lorena Ordonez, middle-aged immigrants living in New York, have been seeking jobs in the aftermath of being let go, with little explanation, by a company contracted by Con Edison to clean its headquarters in Union Square.

    It had taken Ms. Guillot five months to find the position last year, she told me, after she and her 23-year-old son were both laid off from factory jobs at an electronics manufacturer in New Jersey. Her son has been unable to find any work for 16 months.

  9. rikyrah says:

    July 22, 2012 1:06 PM
    Rich mom, poor mom in New York: a tale of two cities

    By Kathleen Geier

    Today’s New York Times has a really fascinating pair of articles that center on working women and how they balance their jobs and family lives. I’m pretty sure they weren’t meant to be read side by side, but doing so is an instructive exercise in compare-and-contrast.

    Article one amounts to one of the rich-people-porn pieces the Times Style section so often specializes in. Much of it concerns how high-powered women executives are able to take abbreviated maternity leaves if they choose to do so, because they have abundant resources to help with child care, and enough clout on the job to work from home or maintain somewhat flexible schedules:

    New parents with the financial means have solutions that others don’t when they have to answer to both a newborn and a boss. [Yahoo CEO] Ms. Mayer, for example, will be able to hire as many nannies and baby nurses as she needs. Ms. Sankar’s parents and in-laws are living in her home in Palo Alto, Calif.

    When Ivanka Trump flew to Miami on business eight days after giving birth to her daughter, Arabella, last summer, she rode in her father’s plane, returning late that night

    Compare this scenario with the one sketched in Gina Bellafante’s piece about the plight of low-wage workers in New York City. The Times reports that NYC’s unemployment rate is ten percent, about two points higher than the rest of the country. Unlike the women profiled in the other article, many of the low-wage workers in this article don’t have even have paid sick days, and a bill to require paid sick leave has been stalled in the City Council.

    In contrast to the other article, which offered such heartwarming vignettes as the one about Ivanka Trump being whisked away in daddy’s private jet in order to travel for work, we get a glimpse of the considerably less glamorous, and far more exhausting, commuting schedule of an immigrant working as a cleaning person:

    Ms. Ordonez, a single mother who lives in the Bronx and came to the States from Ecuador in 1981, was already working full days as a home health aide in East Harlem when she accepted the 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. cleaning shift at Con Edison, embarking on a schedule and route — multiple subways and two-hour trips in the middle of the night — that allowed her no more than three hours of sleep.

    Ms. Ordonez recently lost her job. Bellafante notes:

    Because she is paid so little beyond minimum wage, she requires two full-time jobs to meet expenses that include a rent burden of $1,475 a month, on which she is now 60 days behind.

    The article makes it clear just how much ground has been lost by low-wage workers over the past several decades, and the enormous difficulties they now have in making ends meet:

    In the 1960s and ’70s, the report states, the earnings of someone working full time, year round at the minimum wage were enough to lift a family of three above the poverty line. The purchasing power of New York State’s minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour, is now dramatically lower than it was 40 years ago. Today, a person earning the minimum and working year round would earn about $16,000, or 82 percent of the poverty threshold for a family of three.

    We then move on to another outrageous vignette:

    At J.F.K. last week, I met a security worker, Prince Jackson, employed by Air Serv (whose chairman, Frank A. Argenbright Jr., the report handily tells us, owns a $6.8 million compound in Sea Island, Ga.) as he ended a night shift. Part of his job involves the important work of monitoring a passenger-exit area in a Delta terminal, ensuring that no one breaks through into the arrivals area.

    For this he is paid $8 an hour. His health plan’s co-pay is too high, so he never uses it, he told me. Mr. Jackson, who is galvanizing his co-workers and speaking at Tuesday’s event, said that were it not for his church’s food pantry, he could not afford groceries. His son is a junior at Clark University, and he would like to be able to send him some money occasionally so the young man could study more and work less. But he can’t.

    I’ve written a couple of blog posts now blasting the Jason DeParle article that blamed single moms for inequality. And certainly, over the years the Times has published more than its share of dumb lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous pieces like the executive-moms-on-maternity-leave piece.

    But credit where credit is due: Gina Bellafante really hit the nail on the head with today’s piece on low-wage workers. Several of the workers she profiles are single moms, but she doesn’t attempt to frog-march them to city hall for the marriage licenses, as if that would be their get-out-of-jail-free card out of a lifetime of poverty, near-poverty and constant economic struggle. Instead, she views them, correctly, through the lens of work, and sees that, first and foremost, what they need are jobs that pay them adequately and provide good benefits. And what we need to be asking ourselves is, why it is that such jobs were once so abundant, and why they aren’t now, and what we can do to bring them back

  10. rikyrah says:

    This Week in God
    By Steve Benen
    Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:00 AM EDT.

    First up from the God Machine this week is a look at a popular Republican governor, facing criticism from his own party because his administration had the audacity to hire a Muslim-American employee.

    At issue is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s (R) decision to appoint Samar Ali as international director at the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). Ali, a 30-year-old lawyer, is a former White House fellow who grew up in a small town in Tennessee, before getting undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she was student-body president. She’s also a Muslim.

    And for some Republican activists, that’s a problem. In fact, it’s such a problem, that several Republican Party county organizations have passed resolutions criticizing Haslam for hiring Ali, among other people the right doesn’t like.

  11. rikyrah says:

    when Halperin is whining, this means POTUS’ team is doing their job.

    that whole false equivalency BS – cause the GOP wasn’t getting anywhere with LYING about what the President said.

    Questions With No Answers
    By Mark Halperin | July 22, 2012

    Before the Aurora tragedy, the Democrats had momentum on Romney’s tax returns and the Republicans had momentum on the President’s line about infrastructure and building businesses.

    With Aurora likely to dominate the news for a long while and the Olympics and Romney’s overseas trip coming up, which side — if either — can revive their line of attack, soon or ever?

    And given the inability to drive an earned media negative message, does it make sense to keep at it on the paid TV ad side at this point?

    Read more:

  12. rikyrah says:

    The Ryan/Romney Plan for Medicare is Crony Capitalism At Its Worst
    By LOLGOP on July 21, 2012 in Mitt Romney

    More welfare for Wall Street

    The fact that Mitt Romney’s so-called plan to balance the budget includes offering millionaires an average $390,000 tax break should be enough to end any policy debate. But add in the fact that he would pay for wasteful giveaways to the richest Americans is by gutting Medicare and you have to wonder how anyone who isn’t a millionaire might vote for Mitt Romney.

    Mitt Romney’s plan to voucherize Medicare raises the eligibility age to 67 and shifts costs to seniors, who will pay far more for health care — $6,600 a year on average. Despite this, Romney’s Medicare plan will still cost taxpayers $39,000,000,000,000 MORE than our current Medicare system because private care is so inefficient.

    David Rosnick and Dean Baker explain:

    Based on the CBO data provided, the waste far exceeds the savings to the government. Under traditional Medicare, the government is expected to spend about $6,600 in 2022 on a typical 65-year- old, and the beneficiary is expected to spend $4,600 (all numbers in 2011 dollars). Under the Ryan proposal, a voucher for the same 65-year old would cost the government $6,600, saving the government nothing. However, the total cost of purchasing Medicare-equivalent insurance would be $16,900 – more than 50 percent higher than the $11,200 spent by the government and beneficiary combined under traditional Medicare. The difference of $5,700 represents a gift to the private sector

  13. rikyrah says:

    There’s some pent-up demand in this particular political market
    By Kay July 22nd, 2012

    Frank Rich on the punditry lecturing the Obama campaign:

    David Brooks lamented that Obama’s negativity was “self-destructive” and left him “looking conventional.” Peggy Noonan gloated: “The president opened his campaign with a full-fledged assault on his opponent. This is a bad sign in an incumbent!”
    Try selling that wisdom to George W. Bush, an incumbent who started assaulting John Kerry with attack ads as early as March in 2004 rather than reprise his “compassionate conservative” campaign of 2000 (much of it in reality a dispassionate disemboweling of Al Gore). Or to Bill Clinton, who started twisting the shiv in Bob Dole in April 1996, never for a second worrying whether a sorrowful Sunday-morning talk-show pastor might ask, “What ever happened to the Man From Hope?” Those two incumbents both won, as it happened

    Every summer, there are a series of parades in the county where I live. The individual towns in the county coordinate schedules, and each town or village is allotted a certain Saturday for their parade. It’s the high school marching band, fire trucks, small business-themed floats, Girl Scouts, church groups, veterans groups and incumbent politicians or people running for office. This area is so overwhelmingly Republican that the county GOP don’t even bother entering a float. They simply have their incumbents drive the route in borrowed convertibles. The local Democrats do enter a float, however, and our statehouse candidate, John Vanover, borrowed the float and walked the route yesterday with his wife, Theresa:

    This particular town is a tough sell for Democrats. Theresa, John’s wife, has never been politically active and this was her first parade. She’s soft-spoken and she smiles a lot, just a generally quiet, calm person. John borrowed the Democratic float and got a driver and he and Theresa planned to walk beside the float and talk to people on the parade route. A few of us told John and Theresa we would meet them at the parade and walk with them, because many of us have….experienced this particular parade before and we figured they could use some moral support, particularly Theresa, who is new at this. I arrived about 5 minutes before the parade started and John and Theresa had decorated the float and were ready to go. I smiled when I saw that John had put this Obama picture on the float

  14. rikyrah says:

    now riddle me this, people, what if President Barack Obama belonged to a church THAT SOLD GUNS?

    just askin.’


    Mormon Church ‘owns unregulated gun sale website’
    One of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America is owned by the Mormon Church, an investigation by New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has revealed.

    By Rosa Prince, New York

    6:36PM GMT 07 Feb 2012 was criticised by the Mayor’s office for running classified adverts which allow individuals to buy and sell handguns and other firearms without proper background checks and no questions asked.

    The site is owned by Deseret Media, the for-profit arm of the Church of the Latter Day Saints – also known as the Mormons – which has come to prominence recently as a result of the presidential run of member Mitt Romney.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a lead campaigner for the regulation of firearms which cause carnage on the streets of New York and across the country, recording an advert aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl calling for greater gun control.

    A source who worked on his investigation into online gun sales said: “One would think that a church would feel a special obligation to make sure that they weren’t fuelling a black market for a particularly deadly form of commerce.”

    The KSL classifieds site currently has adverts for nearly 6,000 products under its firearms and hunting section, including more than 1,000 hand guns. Powerful Glocks, Smith & Wessons and Sigs are all on offer.

    • Ametia says:

      Why that Barack Hussein Obama would be labeled a gun-hoading, THUG who is out to get WHITEY! Yeah; I said it.

      I’m sure the Obama campaign is on to this as well, and we can expect ads on this, once the Aurora massacre chills out.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Penn State Taking Down Paterno Statue
    Crews have blockaded area outside Beaver Stadium

    Penn State is taking down the tarnished statue of longtime coach Joe Paterno, reports the AP. The university’s president, Rod Erickson, has confirmed that he has given the order to remove the iconic statue, and a chainlink fence is blockading the area outside Beaver Stadium this morning. “I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse,” said Erickson in a statement today.

    Some 20 construction workers, two dump trucks, a flatbed truck, and a forklift are present, as are about 20 police officers—the move won’t sit well with Paterno’s many remaining supporters, notes the AP. The 7-foot statue weighs more than 900 pounds and was unveiled in 2001 in honor of Paterno’s “contributions to the university.” It became increasingly divisive in the wake of the Freeh Report’s finding that Paterno helped cover up and enable Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys.

  16. rikyrah says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their prayers. My sister is back home.

  17. Ametia says:


    Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

    Today’s WTF moment comes courtesy of the Mormon Church, which apparently owns a for-profit, unregulated online gun dealership:

    Mormon Church ‘owns unregulated gun sale website’

    One of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America is owned by the Mormon Church, an investigation by New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has revealed.

  18. Ametia says:

    Alec Wek on MHP show this morning, speaking on the Sudan Civil War.

  19. Ametia says:


    Mitt Romney Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge
    Massachusetts Governor makes written promise to eschew tax hikes

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a candidate vying for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, recently signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The Pledge commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

    Gov. Romney became the first major candidate to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge on December 31st, 2006. As Governor, Mitt Romney pressed for several major tax cuts in the difficult blue-state environment of Massachusetts.

    ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, President George W. Bush, 43 U.S. senators, and 197 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, seven Governors and over 1,100 state legislators have signed the Pledge as well.

    “In signing the Pledge, Gov. Romney firmly commits himself in writing to fiscal discipline and economic common sense,” Grover Norquist said. “Mitt Romney has told taxpayers in no uncertain terms that he plans to look out for their interests.”

    “I strongly encourage every Presidential candidate to sign the Pledge,” Norquist continued.

    Read more:

  20. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Evereyone! :-)

Leave a Reply