President Obama is wrapping up a campaign bus tour through northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, where he's been talking to people about his commitment to investing in American workers and creating jobs here at home. Yesterday, he backed up his words with actions by standing up to China's unfair trade practices, and showed his faith in American workers and industry yet again.
As we've continued to learn this week, Mitt Romney has bet against America as a private citizen, as a businessman, and as an elected official. Check out this week's tipsheet for details, and be sure to let others know about the stark differences between President Obama's and Mitt Romney's records when it comes to protecting American jobs.
#1 Standing tall against unfair trade practices
Yesterday, President Obama filed a case with the World Trade Organization against China's unfair trade practices. China has imposed more than $3 billion in unfair taxes on more than 80 percent of our auto exports to China, including cars made in Ohio and Michigan. But while the President has stood up and enforced trade laws against China, Mitt Romney attacked the President's 2009 effort to stand up to China on behalf of the American tire industry, calling it "bad for the nation and our workers." Check out this blog post about the President's record of holding China accountable for its trade practices, and make sure people you know have the facts on the issue:
In a closely watched vote of the California state Senate, a bill to issue the first $5.8 billion in bonds for the construction of high speed rail lines passed 21-16. It needed all 21 votes to pass.[...]
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Or Martians.Or birds.
"Mitt Romney didn't personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction."
-- Paul Krugman, in his NYT column today,
"Off and Out With Mitt Romney"
Today the New York Times noted editorially ("Mr. Romney Changes His Mind, Again") the embarrassing switcheroo in the Incorporated Willard's frothing declarations that the requirement that those who can afford health insurance buy it or pay a penalty -- a cornerstone of the system Willard instituted as governor of Massachusetts, now incorporated in the revised federal health-care system -- is on the one hand a penalty not a tax and on the other hand, two days later, a tax not a penalty.
Why the switch? As he has on so many issues, Mr. Romney caved to Republican conservatives who want him to campaign on the falsehood that the mandate is a vast tax increase on the middle class. The Supreme Court?s decision that the law is constitutional was disastrous to their cause, so they distorted its basic reasoning. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote that the mandate is legal under the Congressional taxing power, which Republicans took a step further, saying the mandate must now be a tax. And not just a tax, but a huge, oppressive tax, one of the largest in history.
It is, of course, no such thing. . . .
The tax-vs.-penalty debate is a legal and semantic issue that has no practical impact on the public, but making this argument says a great deal about Mr. Romney?s inch-deep position on health care. Since the beginning of his campaign, he has fled from his significant achievement in Massachusetts, hoping to attract conservatives who never trusted him. . . .
WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Mitt Romney is planning to fortify his communications and messaging team by adding seasoned operatives, advisers close to the campaign said Thursday, after withering criticism from prominent conservative voices that his insular team has fumbled recent opportunities.
Romney?s advisers insisted that he would keep his inner circle intact amid growing concerns about the Republican presidential candidate and his campaign. The tempest began with a weekend tweet from media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and burst Thursday onto the pages of his newspaper the Wall Street Journal, as its conservative editorial board opined that Romney?s advisers were ?slowly squandering an historic opportunity? to beat President Obama. . . .
This, in turn, means that however much the Romney campaign may wish otherwise, the nature of [his] business career is fair game. How did Mr. Romney make all that money? Was it in ways suggesting that what was good for Bain Capital, the private equity firm that made him rich, would also be good for America?
And the answer is no.
The truth is that even if Mr. Romney had been a classic captain of industry, a present-day Andrew Carnegie, his career wouldn't have prepared him to manage the economy. A country is not a company (despite globalization, America still sells 86 percent of what it makes to itself), and the tools of macroeconomic policy -- interest rates, tax rates, spending programs -- have no counterparts on a corporate organization chart. Did I mention that Herbert Hoover actually was a great businessman in the classic mold?
Bain didn't build businesses; it bought and sold them. Sometimes its takeovers led to new hiring; often they led to layoffs, wage cuts and lost benefits. On some occasions, Bain made a profit even as its takeover target was driven out of business. None of this sounds like the kind of record that should reassure American workers looking for an economic savior.
Two weeks ago, The Washington Post reported that Bain had invested in companies whose specialty was helping other companies move jobs overseas. The Romney campaign went ballistic, demanding -- unsuccessfully -- that The Post retract the report on the basis of an unconvincing "fact sheet" consisting largely of executive testimonials.
What was more interesting was the campaign's insistence that The Post had misled readers by failing to distinguish between "offshoring" -- moving jobs abroad -- and "outsourcing," which simply means having an external contractor perform services that could have been performed in-house.
Now, if the Romney campaign really believed in its own alleged free-market principles, it would have defended the right of corporations to do whatever maximizes their profits, even if that means shipping jobs overseas. Instead, however, the campaign effectively conceded that offshoring is bad but insisted that outsourcing is O.K. as long as the contractor is another American firm.
That is, however, a very dubious assertion.
When the audience jeered, he elaborated: "Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets." This is undoubtedly true, once you take into account the pockets of, say, partners at Bain Capital (who, I hasten to add, are, indeed, people). But one of the main points of outsourcing is to ensure that as little as possible of what corporations earn goes into the pockets of the people who actually work for those corporations.
Why, for example, do many large companies now outsource cleaning and security to outside contractors? Surely the answer is, in large part, that outside contractors can hire cheap labor that isn't represented by the union and can't participate in the company health and retirement plans. And, sure enough, recent academic research finds that outsourced janitors and guards receive substantially lower wages and worse benefits than their in-house counterparts.
Just to be clear, outsourcing is only one source of the huge disconnect between a tiny elite and ordinary American workers, a disconnect that has been growing for more than 30 years. And Bain, in turn, was only one player in the growth of outsourcing. So Mitt Romney didn't personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction; if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.
In short, what was good for Bain Capital definitely wasn't good for America. And, as I said at the beginning, the Obama campaign has every right to point that out.
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The director of issues analysis at the anti-LGBT rights group American Family Association (AFA) is proposing that the government pass a law requiring that every American go to church or pay a tax penalty.
During his Thursday Focal Point radio program, Bryan Fischer backed a listener's proposal to have an "individual mandate from the government that everybody has to go to church."
"Because after all, Obamacare is all about improving the health of the American people," the radio host explained. "We know that going to church is good for you, it's good for your health. So we are going to mandate that you go to church for your own health and we are going to tax the atheists who don't go to church."
"Now we can't make you go to church, but we are going to penalize you if you don't," Fischer continued. "We are going to assess a tax on every atheist who doesn't go to church because those atheists are endangering their physical health."
"That is actually a brilliant, brilliant suggestion."
Earlier this week, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) used the Affordable Care Act's individual health care mandate as justification that every person be forced to buy a Glock 9mm handgun.
?Well, I got a great idea,? West said during a campaign rally in Florida on Sunday. ?I believe for personal security, every American should have to go out and buy a Glock 9mm. And if you don?t do it, we?ll tax you. Now, I wonder how the liberals will feel about that one.?
(h/t: via Right Wing Watch)
I am not ready to start a new, long series about music just yet, so tonight we shall discuss the hate filled, venom spitting American Family Association (AFA). This is one of the most conservative, evangelical groups that exists and qualifies as[...]
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Bush and Rice, miserable failures. Photo by Eric Draper
Kaili Joy Gray noted yesterday that W. "Mitt" Romney's "chief lady adviser" Ann Romney said that "at least one woman is under consideration" as Mitt Romney's running mate. Today, Bill Kristol spills the beans as to who that "one woman" might be:
[T]he woman Ann Romney likely has in mind is Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state
Really? I mean, REALLY?? This Condi Rice?
[RICHARD] BEN-VENISTE. Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6 P.D.B. warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that P.D.B.Kristol says, "Rice offers an unusual combination of being at once a reassuring pick (she served at the highest levels of the federal government for eight years) and an exciting one." Wait, what? Reassuring to who? Terrorists? I suppose you can argue Rice would be a better pick than Palin was in 2008, but not by much.
RICE. I believe the title was Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States. [...]
BEN-VENISTE. Thank you. [...]
RICE. I would like to finish my point here. [... Y]ou asked me whether or not it warned of attacks. [...] It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. [...] [I]t did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States. [Emphasis supplied.]
You passed important legislation today.
Add that to your resume.
Step increases for teachers will be mandatory next year, thanks to you.
There was no veto from Gov. Haley.
Sometime in the last four months, someone sent you a link to my petition.
Since I only sent it to about 200 people myself, thousands of you must have pitched in to spread the word.
House and Senate budget committees both made it clear that a 2% increase was all they were interested in this year. That additional step increase came from all of you, clear and simple.
On behalf of 51,000 South Carolina teachers, thank you.
Relying on some somewhat old numbers (the poll was in the field during the second week in June), Gallup offers a good news/bad news assessment for Democrats and fans of the president regarding the impact that third-party candidates may have on the upcoming battle for the White House.
The good news for Democrats: Any success for third-party candidates is liable to come from Mitt Romney, and will pad the president's advantage.
The bad news for Democrats: Whatever numbers those third-party candidates swing in polling data is almost certainly not going to be replicated in November at the ballot box.
So ... there's that. Onto the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (48-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL w/THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES (Gallup): Barack Obama (D) 47, Mitt Romney (R) 40, Gary Johnson (L) 3, Ron Paul (?) 2, Jill Stein (G) 1, Virgil Goode (C) <1
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-44)
CALIFORNIA (Field Poll): Obama d. Romney (55-37)
TX-SEN?R (WPA Opinion Research for Cruz): Ted Cruz 49, David Dewhurst 40A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
Never mind that the Right Network failed and shut down last year. Never mind that Glenn Beck gets a ton of money so people can ask "Glenn who?"
This should prove beyond all doubt that tax rates must go up on billionaires because truly, there's really nowhere for them to spend all of that money they have, which is why they've unleashed Herman Cain on the Internet in the form of "Herman Cain TV." iPhone, iPad and Android apps coming to an app store near you, I'm sure.
Let me tell you, Tea Party Nation and Judson Phillips are just about beside themselves with joy over this insane waste of bandwidth. You can watch Herman Cain lie while looking straight into the camera, claiming that the Obama administration is working to restrict gun rights while letting them fall into the hands of foreign drug dealers.
There is a WTFness about the videos on that site that will make you cringe. The gun video is entitled "Give a Lamb a Gun." Oooh, yes. Please, let's do that. Or the weird animated thing, Tex Visits Plymouth Rock.
I don't see any PSAs warning against sexual harassment, wingnuts, or compulsive liars, however. Parents, please be careful about what your children watch on television. It could be hazardous to their mental health.
Want to see an overweight bald man arguing with a Sandra Fluke puppet? You got it, America. How about some toothless guy sitting on the curb talking about what?s wrong with Hillary Clinton? That can be arranged. Animated Ronald Reagan berating Barack Obama about wealth redistribution? You bet. Dinosaurs who lay red, white and blue eggs in ?the greatest country of all?? Get the kids. Metaphors involving sheep and firearms? Coming right up. ?Gunless Moments in History? ? a feature that equates gun control with the Holocaust? We thought you?d never ask. And, of course, ?lots of Cain?? Oh hell to the yes. It?s like going down a beautiful rabbit hole of inspirational, patriotic paranoia.