?To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney?s health care plan, they would have had health care,? Andrea Saul, Romney?s campaign press secretary, said during an appearance on Fox News. ?There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President [Barack] Obama?s economy.? – Romney spokesperson cites Massachusetts health law
THIS IS a joke, right?
Everyone in media is jumping all over Priorities USA, including blaming Team Obama for their ad (shown again here), which depicts a tear-jerking story about a man’s wife dying from cancer after a plant was shut down after Bain Capital came to town.
Didn’t we go through this once already with Mitt Romney? He backed so far away from the ads running on his behalf by Super PACS he left skid marks.
But now CNN even has a timeline of the story line of the Priorities USA ad, finding factual fault with it.
Do you live in a swing state?
Have you seen the ads Karl Rove and the Koch Bros. are running in places like Virginia?
This is our political world after Citizens United. People get to dump loads of money anonymously into Super PACS that can say whatever they want.
But the last thing anyone expected was Team Romney’s spokesperson citing Romneycare as offense against what Priorities USA is alleging.
Bill Burton, a strategist for Priorities USA, said he?s as ?stunned as anyone that [Saul] would invoke Romney?s support for individual mandates, particularly in a state that wasn?t Massachusetts. … They?re clearly sputtering in response to very painful stories from workers who lost their jobs, their health care and their pension benefits,? Burton said. [Politico]
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
A son, James, came out to his father, and the letter below is the response he got. With the post of the letter, this explanation:
5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.
In August of 2007, I finally built up the courage to tell my father I was gay. The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few ?Okays?. I decided to give him time to process the news.
About a week later, and not long before my birthday, I received the following letter:
?James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don?t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You?ve made your choice though Wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad.?
I?ve heard stories similar to this for decades. The latest, first hand, was in a phone call last week.
Five years have passed, and while James writes that he?s doing fine, he has posted his dad?s letter as a painfully real example of how extremist anti-LGBT rhetoric tears families apart.
(From James) ?It?s important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. … 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while.?
In general, things have improved for LGBTs, certainly including in the five years since James received the letter. But there is absolutely no doubt that words like those written by this father are still heard today, and no doubt that such thinking is encouraged by the ?zealotry? of the adamantly anti-LGBT groups and individuals. And, there?s no doubt that once heard, and even when ?doing fine,? such words will almost certainly ?saunter? into one?s mind on occasion. It?s an ongoing process, coming out.
We?ll never eliminate ignorance, fear and hate, not around sexual orientation or gender identity, nor as related to race, gender, religion and just ?different from me? judgments in general. But we can, and are, making progress. A big part of that progress is by way of the advocacy done by organizations, from local to international. Another big part is done by people like James.
(This is How Hate Sounds letter via Towleroad)
"Romneyhood" is easy to understand-- a kind of bizarro world Robin Hood, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. That's exactly what his economic agenda boils down to. It is, in essence what Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Miss McConnell, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney and the rest of these thugs in expensive suits have been chirping about all year. Let's keep in mind that the 10 most profitable U.S. companies-- including Exxon Mobil, Apple, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and General Electric-- paid an average federal tax rate of just 9% last year. Yesterday the Huffington Post reported on a group of progressive academics-- the Scholars Strategy Network-- dissecting the Ryan budget in order to help shape the political discourse during the presidential campaign.
?We have a commitment to laying out the truth in a way that citizens can access and comprehend, including arcane ideas like taxes, budgets and health care reform,? said [co-founder Theda] Skocpol, a sociologist and political scientist at Harvard University. ?But it's important for those issues to be clarified and for citizens to understand what's at stake.?
Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker, who serves on the SSN's steering committee, described the current push in support of the Ryan budget as a ?big mobilization? that could be held up as an embodiment of conservative priorities. In this case, those priorities that the network of academics will highlight include across-the-board tax cuts, including steep ones for the wealthy, at the expense of investments in education, health care, job training, college loans and other domestic programs.
Hacker, a leading health care theorist known to many as the "godfather" of the public option, is convinced that if most Americans understand these details, it will change the debate in Washington.
?This time around, the Republicans are essentially using the deficit as the central organizing principle for their budget," Hacker said in an interview. "But what they are proposing are plans that every independent analyst says will increase the deficit."
The report by researchers at the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, examined Romney?s suggestion of an across-the-board 20% income tax cut financed by closing existing loopholes and concluded there was no way to make the numbers work without burdening the vast majority of Americans with higher taxes.
Romney has not said which tax breaks he would end to finance his plan, but he has suggested that he would only look to breaks that benefit the wealthy. The report concluded that notion is a fantasy no matter how it?s constructed: There simply are too many middle class tax breaks on the table to avoid skewing the burden against the average American.
?Even if tax expenditures are eliminated in a way designed to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible, there would still be a shift in the tax burden of roughly $86 billion from those making over $200,000 to those making less than that amount,? the report reads.
That $86 billion should lend quite the boost to the luxury goods market: ?Americans making over $1 million would see an increase in after-tax income of 4.1 percent (an $87,000 tax cut), those making between $500,000 and $1 million would see an increase of 3.2 percent (a $17,000 tax cut), and those making between $200,000 and $500,000 would see an increase of 0.8 percent (a $1,800 tax cut).?
As for the other 95% of Americans? Not so much. The average tax increase needed to pay for the elite?s gains would be $500 per household.
President Obama, who is speaking in Ohio on Wednesday, is planning to seize on the study.
?He?s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, or to invest in our kids? education,? Obama is expected to say, according to prepared remarks released by the campaign. ?He?s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut.?
?I say to [Republicans], do you have children that breathe air? Do you have grandchildren that drink water?,? Pelosi asked. ?I?m a mom and I have five kids ... as a mom I was vigilant about food safety, right moms? If you could depend on the government for one thing it was that you had to be able to trust the water that our kids drank and the food that they ate. But this is the E. coli club. They do not want to spend money to do that.?
...?Bless their hearts, it?s the philosophy Republicans in Congress have,? Pelosi added. ?And bless their hearts, they act upon their beliefs. It?s an ideology. We shouldn?t have a government role. So reduce the police, the firemen, the teachers, reduce their role and give tax cuts to the high end. That will stimulate the economy and everything will be good.?
This may be the only Rush Limbaugh clip I can bear to hear twice. After Mitt's campaign answered the latest Obama ad by saying that the woman who died would have had health care under Romneycare, his conservative base lost their collective minds.
Erick Erickson jumped right out there, comparing Romney's remarks to George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips" moment.
Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama. They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints. Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again.
About the only thing more stupid in terms of building bridges with the right would be to say something nice about fetal stem cell research.
But that was mild compared to what Mr. Head of the Republican Party, Boss Rush had to say. Let's just say Rush is not a happy camper today. Here's the transcript, but really, you should listen. It's worth it.
Now you might be asking, since this all went down yesterday, what is the Romney campaign doing? Has the Romney campaign responded?
Yes, they have.
The Romney campaign responded this morning on Fox. Off the top of your head, what do you think the Romney campaign said about it?
Well, I'm gonna tell you. I have the story here from Mediaite and the headline says it all.
Romney spokesperson: "That woman would have had health care under Romneycare." That's the reaction.
Appearing on Fox News with Bill Hemmer, Mitt Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul attacked the ad and then she veered off-message. She said that the fired steelworker would have had access to health care if he had lived in Massachusetts, where under Romney's plan health care coverage is extend ---
Now wait, you telling me that you get a campaign person on from the Romney campaign to respond to an allegation that your candidate is responsible for a woman's death and your answer is "she would have had health insurance if she'd lived in Massachusetts."
What -- um -- I don't know the people at the Romney campaign but I'm gonna tell you your candidate is accused of killing a woman because ---
This isn't about health insurance! They're out there saying that your guy killed a woman! And your answer is, well she'd of had health insurance if she lived in Massachusetts?
F-From the sound of this, they don't know at the Romney campaign what the purpose of this ad was and how it took root. They apparently don't know that the Obama campaign ran an ad accusing Romney of murder, essentially. And Stephanie Cutter's backing it up. The woman DID die. Romney got rich. He closed the plant. Husband lost a job. Wife got sick and died. Romney made out like a bandit.
Well, she'd have had health insurance if she lived in Massachusetts. Uh, you couple that with -- there was a lack of understanding or desire to join the Chick-Fil-A Day?
I mean, that's your base out there.
Here's what Boss Rush isn't understanding. By forcing Romney to stay in the extreme right and play to that 'base', he's losing and losing badly. Obama is gaining ground every single day while Boss Rush wants Romney to go out gay-hating and telling everyone they can die, and die quickly.
When it all shakes out, people don't much care for other people dying because they don't have access to health care, and that small slice of non-base voters isn't really swayed by gay-haters at Chick-Fil-A. But Romney's stuck with the base he's got, and they're not going to let him off the hook for this one anytime soon.
State hospital officials across the country have been speaking out in favor of the Obamacare provision that expands Medicaid coverage to an estimated 17 million low-income people across the country, urging their legislators to opt into the health care exchanges set up under the law. Despite the significant financial benefits for states that accept the expansion, some Republican governors have already threatened to reject it. In Missouri, health officials articulate the stark reality — struggling hospitals without enough funds that would eventually be forced to close their doors — that would be in store for their state if Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) does not accept the expansion.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that, if Missouri chooses to forgo the health insurance exchange under Obamacare, hospitals in the state could lose hundreds of millions in funding:
The projected loss of up to nearly $400 million would come from cuts to federal Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, and at least one doctor has speculated the cuts could force some rural hospitals to close.
The cuts were to be eased by a Medicaid expansion that would add more than 300,000 Missourians to that program, but leaders in the Missouri House and Senate say they are likely to block that move.
“If you don’t expand Medicaid and you eliminate the DSH funding, you have the ability to significantly impact hospitals’ financials,” Missouri Hospital Association spokesman Dave Dillon said. “It’s extremely problematic.”
A professor of pediatrics in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at St. Louis University estimates that as many as 40 to 50 percent of rural hospitals in the state could close, if the expansion is not enacted and the funds from it are not replaced. In addition to rural hospitals, larger medical centers in St. Louis and Kansas City could also be hit with cuts.
Members of Congress have urged governors to “refuse to play politics with people?s health and publicly support expanding health care access to the thousands of people in your state who need it today.” Nonetheless, Republican governors in states including Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Louisiana have pledged to refuse the Medicaid expansion. Missouri’s own governor has not publicly taken a position yet.
With the Boy Scouts of America national leadership refusing to either consider lifting its ban on LGBT scouts and leaders or make public its rationale for keeping the policy, two large Scout councils have reaffirmed they will not go along with discrimination.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN-based Northern Star Council, which serves over 75,000 scouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin, recently posted a statement reiterating that it welcomes “all people who can help to further Scouting?s mission of youth development.” This commitment to inclusive, the council notes, has been in place for more than a decade.
The Boston Minuteman Council, which serves 8,000-plus scouts in Massachusetts followed suit. Reaffirming at 2001 statement, the council said:
Through the Scout Oath and Law, we pledge to respect all people and to defend the rights of others. Bias, intolerance and unlawful discrimination are unacceptable within the ranks of the Boston Minuteman Council. The Boston Minuteman Council serves youth through volunteers in Packs, Troops and other units without regard to color, race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation or economic status. We have done our best to live up to this statement in the decade since its adoption.
A council spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the national organization has long been aware of Boston Minuteman’s policy and has done nothing to interfere.
Eagle Scout Zach Walls, founder of Scouts for Equality, told ThinkProgress that this is “another example of local BSA units standing up for one of the key principles on which the BSA was founded: mutual religious respect. Frankly, I think this is only the beginning.?
Mitt Romney held a meeting Thursday with a group of right-wing activists that included several leaders who have been vocal supporters of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) Islamophobic witch hunt, deepening his association with right-wing, anti-Muslim sentiment.
One of the guests at Thursday’s event was Vice President of the Family Research Council Jerry Boykin, who has a long history of Islamophobia, and once said that Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” Most recently, Boykin piled on to Bachmann’s baseless indictment that top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot. “I believe in some aspects of this situation there is support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government, that sounds extremist but it is just a fact, it?s a reality,” he said.
Three others in attendance at Thursday’s event — American Values president Gary Bauer, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins — penned a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) defending Bachmann’s witch hunt. In that letter, they argued there is legitimate concern about “senior federal officials or branches of the federal government could be animated or influenced by groups affiliated with, or a philosophy grounded in, radical Islam.”
Boehner ended up rebuking Bachmann and her Islamophobic effort — which is more than Romney has done. The presidential candidate has refused to condemn Bachmann saying, “I?m not going to tell other people what things to talk about.”
Speaking yesterday at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar highlighted the importance of using public lands in our nation’s transition to a green economy.
“We can’t afford to turn the clock of progress back to the past,” he said.
Salazar discussed a number of accomplishments that the administration has achieved in promoting renewable energy on public lands, including expediting seven projects worth 5,000 megawatts and unveiling of the first wind energy project on public lands in Nevada. Altogether, he said, the Obama Administration has permitted 31 solar, wind, and geothermal projects on public lands.
Also on Monday, the Departments of Defense and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a new partnership to encourage the development of renewable energy for military installations on lands managed by the Interior Department that had been previously used for defense purposes.
In a report released earlier this week, the Center for American Progress found that there is vast potential for renewable energy development on federal lands in the West. In total, about 34 gigawatts of renewable energy ? enough to power 7 million homes ? could be sited on public lands in six western states over the next two decades.
Salazar also used his keynote speech as an opportunity to urge Congress to extend the wind energy production tax credit, which he said ?ought not be a Republican or Democratic issue, but an American issue.? Last week, a spokesperson for presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney noted that the candidate would allow the tax credit to expire, putting 37,000 American jobs at risk.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
The Walt Disney Corporation today announced its highest quarterly earnings ever today, due to higher prices at its theme parks and the success of several cable channels it owns, including ESPN. This comes after the company made $7.3 billion in profits last year.
But Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, still appeared on Fox Business today to bemoan the U.S. corporate tax rate, which he said is undermining U.S. competitiveness. Iger falsely called the U.S. “among the highest in the world, if not the highest” and said that America’s corporate tax rate is causing “a loss of jobs.” Watch it:
It’s somewhat commendable that Iger seemed to endorse deficit neutral corporate tax reform, unlike many Republicans who actually want to decrease corporate tax revenue. (Still, corporate tax reform in the U.S. should be revenue positive.)
But Iger spreads a pair of falsehoods about the U.S.’s level of corporate taxation. First, the U.S. may have the highest corporate tax rate on paper, but because of the proliferation of loopholes and credits, its marginal rate — which is the rate that corporations actually pay — is the second-lowest in the developed world. While Iger cited the UK as a country with an enviable rate, the U.S. raises far less from its corporate tax:
To put some more perspective on this, U.S. corporate taxes are currently at a 40-year low, while corporate profits hit an all-time high in June. Last year, America’s ten largest corporations paid an average 9 percent corporate income tax rate.
And while Iger bemoaned corporations taking advantage of tax loopholes and credits, as the Orlando Sentinel noted, Disney benefits from a host of tax breaks. It also “maintains a web of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions.”
As billionaire investor Warren Buffett said, “it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it?Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.” But its a convenient story for CEOs to tell to push for a lower tax rate.
Let's ignore for a moment that Mitt Romney's solution to what ailed General Motors was to just let the whole damn thing fail, thus making this choice of topics a rather curious choice at best for Mitt's increasingly self-satirizing campaign. His ad blaming Barack Obama for GM's closing of auto dealerships in Ohio has other problems as well. The outdoor footage at the four second mark? It's a clip of downtown Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is notable for, among other things, not being in Ohio.
[J]ust as the narrator says that at the 5-second mark, the ad shows a streetscape that appears to be in Oklahoma City, as noted by Sarah Burris, managing editor of the progressive blog FutureMajority.com. Google street view confirms that the scene is indeed outside the Advanced Academics building on E. Sheridan Avenue in Oklahoma City.It's fine to pander to the voters in battleground states (even if your message is "vote for me, because I wouldn't have even tried to help you damn people"), but it loses a bit of impact when you can't even be bothered to get footage from the actual state you're pandering to. I guess Mitt Romney is just that committed to outsourcing?