The silliest part of the silly season is the breathless speculation about the veepstakes. We promise not be breathless.[...]
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We'll be hosting our inaugural Google+ Hangout Thursday, May 3 at 3 p.m ET.Join TPM2012 reporters Evan McMorris-Santoro, Benjy Sarlin, and Pema Levy as they give you the inside scoop on Obama v. Romney and share their insights on the campaign ahead.What[...]
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According to ProgressivePunch, Mary Bono Mack's homophobic voting record-- she scores a 14.29 out of 100-- on roll calls of crucial import to the LGBT community, is better than almost any Republican's. Her husband, Cornelius the fourth, for example, scores a 12.50. The vast majority of Republicans score a 0.00. That's right, 230 Republicans-- from rapid homophobes like Steve King, Allen West, Internet pornographer Ben Quayle, Michele Bachmann, Buck McKeon, Virginia Foxx to purported model "centrists" like Paul Ryan, Peter King, Charlie Dent, Walter Jones and Fred Upton to deranged, trembling closet cases like Aaron Schock (who still hasn't found the "right gal"), David Dreier, Patrick McHenry, Trent Franks, and Adrian Smith (+ gay hating Blue Dogs Heath Shuler, Mike McIntyre, Larry Kissell and Mike Ross) have voted against every single important roll call that would establish equality for the LGBT community. All 53 congressmembers with 100% voting records are Democrats and even the best-scoring Republicans, Richard Hanna, Nan Hayworth and Justin Amash, have miserable 50.00 scores.
Maybe what Mary Bono, who represents one of the biggest LGBT communities in the country, needs to tell the vote scores to stop stereotyping Republicans. Tuesday there was a big GOP campaign kerfuffle when the Romney camp, pressured by homophobic bigots, was forced to fire his one openly gay staffer, Richard Grenell, who happens to be a constituent of Bono Mack's. Far right extremists are dancing on the grave of Grenell's career and basking in the knowledge of just how easy it is to push Romney around. Watch:
Listen to Bryan Fischer explaining how the fringe right has been able to make Romney dance to it's tune-- and then go back and think about what Bono Mack said about not stereotyping Republicans. Oddly, soon after Grenell announced he was resigning, Bono Mack tweeted that he would be returning to Palm Springs and working for her campaign. That tweet seems to be scrubbed this morning. No trace of it-- except from the people who retweeted it... like Mike Signorelle:
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Speaking in a live broadcast from Afghanistan, President Obama announced Tuesday night that this marked the end of "a decade under the dark cloud of war":
"This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end," Obama said before a backdrop of armored military vehicles and a draped U.S. flag at the Bagram air base.
Obama's address to the nation capped a surprise visit that coincided with the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, a mission that has become an unexpected focal point in his campaign for reelection.
The stated purpose for the trip was to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that Obama said would define "a new kind of partnership" between the nations, more than 10 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The agreement calls for the continuing reduction of the U.S. troop level while supporting the growth of "strong and sustainable" Afghan security forces. It also broadly outlines how Americans would continue to work with the Afghan government to fight terrorism and support development of the nation's infrastructure.
Answering critics of a timetable for withdrawal and those who would advocate a more immediate drawdown, the president said the U.S. goal was "not to build a country in America?s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban" but to "destroy Al Qaeda" while leaving enough time for the nation to stabilize.
"My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the predawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon," the president said.
The administration and Obama's campaign have put a major emphasis on national security over the last week, questioning whether Mitt Romney would have ordered the same mission to take out Bin Laden. That's led to Republican charges that Obama is politicizing the military effort.
Obama, hours after speaking directly to the troops at Bagram, said that the nation was in the position to begin winding down its mission only because of the bravery of the nation's military.
"They met their responsibilities to one another, and the flag they serve under," Obama said. "In their faces, we see what is best in ourselves and our country."
As America's military commitments abroad wind down, Obama said, it is "time to renew America."
"An America where our children live free from fear, and have the skills to claim their dreams. A united America of grit and resilience, where sunlight glistens off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan, and we build our future as one people, as one nation," he said.
Oakland police used “an overwhelming military-type response” to deal with Occupy protesters that took to city streets last fall, according to a new report from an outside monitor released early this week. The report also confirmed for the first time that it was police who fired a beanbag round that hit Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, a former Marine who was critically injured during an October protest. “We were, in some instances, satisfied with the performance of the Department; yet in others, we were thoroughly dismayed by what we observed,” the report said. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the police department to submit a plan to deal with the numerous complaints it has received regarding its handling of the protests, Reuters reported. The police department will face sanctions from the court if it fails to submit a credible plan.
The Miami Herald first noticed the old profile and lifted some troubling quotes:
?I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book,? the 2005 Myspace page said. ?Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!?
In another section of his profile, he refers to his ex-girlfriend as his “ex-hoe,” and alludes to a situation in which his friends, who were imprisoned for an undisclosed crime, didn’t turn him in. ?They do a year and dont ever open thier [sic] mouth to get my ass pinched,” he wrote.
The comments may cast doubt onto his legal team?s insistence that Zimmerman is not an inherently racist person. In the days before his arrest, George Zimmerman?s family defended him against charges of racism by pointing out that he himself is Hispanic and was raised in a multiracial family. But his comments about Mexicans would seem to indicate that his own genealogy had little impact on his disparagement of minorities.
The MySpace page, which is still up, could pose a problem for Zimmerman?s legal team, who instructed their client to shut down all of his social media profiles and other online holdings to better manage his image. A Twitter account, a separate MySpace page, and a website set up by Zimmerman have all vanished in recent weeks.
– One proposal would allow same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, recognize previously performed civil unions as marriages, and recognize unions and marriages performed in other jurisdictions as marriages.
– A second measure would allow divorce in Rhode Island for couples legally married elsewhere.
– A third bill would repeal the controversial amendment attached to last year?s civil unions bill that allows for certain organizations to use religion as an excuse to refuse services to couples who have a civil union.
The state does not currently recognize same-sex marriages, but does allow for civil unions. Couples are shunning that law’s broad religious exemption, however, which allows organizations to ignore their relationships and are traveling to neighboring states for full marriage equality. Still, marriage law in the state remains muddled. In 2007, Attorney General Patrick Lynch released a legal opinion stating that the state did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage and should recognize gay unions performed in other states. That same year, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couple could not divorce in the state.
Republicans across the country have pushed for a slew of abortion regulations that limit women’s access to health care. State lawmakers have considered measures that put up more hurdles for women seeking abortions, with the goal of ultimately preventing them from having the procedure.
Pennsylvania was one of 17 states to consider requiring women to undergo an unnecessary ultrasound before an abortion, which Gov. Tom Corbett (R) supported even though the House stopped the bill. He defended the measure by telling women “you just have to close your eyes” if they didn’t want to see the ultrasound. And in an interview with UW Election Eye, Corbett said he supported the abortion bill in the hope that it would stop women from having an abortion:
CORBETT: I think we have over 30,000 abortions a year in Pennsylvania. [...] I think adoption is a much preferable way to go. When you see that kind of number, if an ultrasound, which is not invasive at all, would convince somebody maybe to carry that baby to term and give it up for adoption and save that life, I think that’s the way to go.
Research has shown that seeing an ultrasound does not lead women to change their minds about having an abortion. Instead, it only forces women to jump through more time-consuming hoops before they can have a medical procedure.
In remarks from Afghanistan?s Bagram Airbase last night, President Obama outlined in broad strokes the terms of a U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement, which he signed earlier that day with his counterpart President Hamid Karzai. Reiterating that the United States? goal ?is not to build a country in America?s image or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban,? but rather to ?disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda,? Obama coupled his messages of ?enduring partnership? to Afghanistan with an equal commitment to the continued transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces and the associated withdrawal of U.S. combat forces at a ?steady pace.?
This transition is necessary to better align our investments with the broader demands of U.S. military and financial interests both globally and domestically. While conservative critics of the drawdown often express worry about the risks of such a reduction, it will be critical to force Afghan political leaders to take greater responsibility for the fate of their country, a theme stressed by both Obama in his remarks and the strategic partnership language. Indeed, the risks of enabling Afghan dependency indefinitely have the potential to be far costlier for both the U.S. and the Afghans.
The partnership agreement, and Obama?s personal visit, is in part intended to underscore U.S. ongoing support for the Afghan government — albeit in a less direct form, under a more ?normalized? bilateral relationship — and to shore up its position in contests with internal and regional rivals. Avoiding Afghan state collapse and regional instability should be a major concern for the U.S. and its partners as they manage the transition process. But the Afghan government — which is highly centralized under President Karzai?s executive leadership — has resisted sharing power with other actors within Afghanistan?s fragmented political landscape, forming a major driver of continued conflict. The support of a narrow and exclusive Afghan government is not an overriding U.S. interest to which we should commit indefinitely if the Afghan government is not willing to make commitments of its own, and as the largest donor for both the security services and the state, we cannot be uncritical in our support.
Exact details on plans for further reductions in U.S. force levels beyond this fall are unclear at this point, and despite affirmations of support the partnership agreement offers no specific figures for continuing military or nonmilitary aid, which is likely to be the focus of further negotiations at international conferences in Chicago and Tokyo later this summer. For Afghanistan to continue to enjoy a more limited but ongoing American backing under the strategic partnership, it must be held to the promises it has made in this agreement and in many previous international forums. A responsible U.S. political strategy that seeks to facilitate the ?just and lasting peace? sought by President Obama requires linking our messages of support with a determined push for government reforms and inclusive settlement talks, in which all parties can seek a more sustainable political consensus than offered by the current system.
Source: TPMDCQuick and dirty, folks. Basically, the upper line represents the value of your work. The lower line represents what you got paid for it.
The empty space in between?the difference between what your work was worth and how much you got for it?represents the money the executives skimmed off the top and kept for themselves.
How did they do it? In part, by so destroying the notion of job security that workers increasingly felt lucky just to be able to live paycheck to paycheck.
But let me switch gears for a second here. Imagine if this chart showed the gross income of the wealthiest 1 percent in the top line, but their income after taxes on the lower line.
"What's our incentive to keep working hard?" we'd be hearing. "We're gonna go Galt!"
But that's not what it is. It's a chart about working people getting screwed. And as you know, if workers start talking about withholding labor, they're "thugs." God forbid mid- and low-level corporate administrative workers say such a thing. That's actually flat out illegal.
No, seriously. It's illegal. How do you think we got that rule? One guess.
It seems to me this tracks pretty closely with the change in the "business" culture over the past few decades. We all still cling to the old-fashioned notion of the "businessman," which is how Mitt Romney's currently selling himself. But this quaint notion of the "businessman" who's in the business of actually making something as well as it can be made, and hoping to make a profit from that, has long since been replaced by the MBA-model "businessman," for whom the product makes no difference. The "business" is in finding ways to extract more money from it, whether there's more profit from it or not.
We're all still mostly stuck in the old way of thinking about "business." Where it simply wasn't possible to extract more money unless there was more profit. But the chart tells a very different story. The way to extract more money from a business (profitable or otherwise) is increasingly to take it out of what you pay your employees, even if they're working harder for you than ever.
Now we know why the rich are so keen to be "job creators." It's certainly not that they care whether you've got a job. It's that every job they create is another opportunity to keep more of the money your work makes.
It certainly explains why they hate unions so much. Those "thugs" think you should be able to keep some of that money for yourself. So that you have "an incentive to keep working hard."
I could swear I've heard that somewhere before. But it sounded totally patriotic when I heard it last. Now it just sounds like socialmalisms.
Oh, well. Whatever.