Oregon seems to be just to the ideological left of where most political observers place the border between competitive and safely Democratic states.
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After a week of constant criticism on his Medicare proposals, Mitt Romney decided to fall back to something a little less contentious: his tax returns!
In a press conference with reporters this afternoon, he was emphatic about his dutiful taxpaying. ?I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent," he said. "I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year.?Will Romney release his tax returns to verify this information? No, he won?t. Which means that we haven?t actually learned anything new. Without releasing his returns, there is no way he?or the press?can prove that this is the rate he paid. He can?t even disprove Senator Harry Reid?s allegations that he paid a zero percent tax rate, which, when you think about it, is an incredibly low bar.
And so, less than a week after calling for a more substantive campaign, Mitt Romney has returned?of his own volition?to thing that prompted the call in the first place. Tax returns were never exactly a winning issue for the former Massachusetts governor; the conventional wisdom was that they were harming his favorability and potentially leading him to defeat. Re-opening the question only gives Democrats an opportunity to launch more attacks on his lack of transparency. But on balance, even this might be preferable to a constant conversation over Medicare, which has the potential to harm Romney?s standing with older whites and seniors?the people he needs to win the election.
"While I appreciate, I have great admiration for and respect for and a long relationship with Senator John McCain ... one place I would not go for advice on vice presidential running mates is to Senator McCain."
?Jay Carney, responding to John McCain's suggestion that the Obama administration replace Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Daily Meme: So, Is This an Issues Election or Not?!
According to polling experts who have been watching presidential elections for quite a while, only 3 to 5 percent of voters are up for grabs in 2012?a number that could drop even further if turnout isn't as impressive as in 2008 and swing voters stay home. But even this small pool of voters is enough to fight tooth and nail for. As the political director for Romney's campaign says, ?There?s a very small slice of people who are genuinely undecided, but it?s enough to win the presidency.?
For more polling information, go to the Prospect?s 2012 election map.Mitt RomneyJohn McCainJohn McCain presidential campaignPublic image of Mitt RomneyPolitics
Crazy dogfight lightbulb guy.Rep. Steve King, whose name you may know from his repeated crossings into the lands of sociopathy, tells his constituents that he is super awesome because he and Paul Ryan are best buds and Ryan listens to him a lot. No, really: a lot.
?I?m going to work to put my good friend Paul Ryan in as vice president and we?re going to have a strong voice from Iowa right there in the West Wing and sometimes in the Oval Office of the White House,? King told a crowd at the Iowa State Fair Wednesday. [...]Well there's a ringing endorsement. When Paul Ryan wants to hear from someone even more mean and spite-filled then he himself is, he goes right to the number one source for that sort of thing. Want the pro-dogfighting point of view? He's your man. Want assurance that it's perfectly all right for people to just plain not receive any health care, ever, or why brown people will be the doom of us all, or why the abominably high unemployment rate is just because Americans nowadays are lazy "slackers"? He's got you covered. Let's not even get started on Steve King's personal war on slightly more efficient lightbulbs. You can just go to hell right now, slightly more efficient lightbulbs. Everyone knows George W. Bush was a communist when it comes to slightly more efficient lightbulbs.
?Paul listens to me,? King told the Washington Post this week.
No, congressional crazy person Steve King says whenever the Romney/Ryan team wants to know how normal 'Mericans think, he's their go-to guy. Because people who listen to Steve King really get it, you know?
?They come and ask me now, ?What do they think in the Midwest??? he told the crowd. ?That?s because they know you lead. We?re going to continue to lead and we?re going to do this two years from now, four years from now, on and beyond until America is back together again and we have restored our American dream and restored our values of American exceptionalism.?I'm not sure who should be more insulted here, the Romney/Ryan campaign or the entire American Midwest, whose opinions on things Team Romney apparently thinks are pretty much whatever crazy dogfight lightbulb guy says they are.
I've long maintained Tommy Thompson is a rusty campaigner and carries plenty baggage, and just days after winning the GOP nomination, he's already given us proof of both. From a press conference held at a campaign event on Wednesday:
"When I was governor and I was employed [by] the people of the State of Wisconsin, I released my tax returns, but I've been in the business world, and the question is, 'Am I going to release my tax returns?? The answer is 'no'. No. The answer is 'N-O.' What part don?t you understand?"He sounds both crotchety and like he has something to hide?just the way I like Republican Senate candidates.
WASHINGTON -- Standing outside the same doors a gunman with a backback full of ammunition and Chick-fil-A entered before shooting a man on Wednesday morning, the Family Research Council Tony Perkins said the Southern Poverty Law Center gave the man a "license to shoot" by labeling the FRC a hate group.
The SPLC's Mark Potok called the claim "outrageous" in a statement issued late Thursday.
"The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people -- not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage," Potok said in the statement. "The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse -- claims that are provably false."
Perkins said at his press conference that while Corkins was responsible for firing the shot that wounded the FRC employee yesterday, he was "was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on issues of public policy."
Perkins did not offer any evidence that Corkins was acting as a direct result of anything the Southern Poverty Law Center has said. Instead he said that the fact that the gunman was carrying 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches along with 50 rounds of ammunition -- "not something you bring out to the park for a picnic" -- as evidence the shooter was motivated by his disagreement with the FRC.
Perkins said that many of the stories about Chick-Fil-A and FRC over the past few weeks have mentioned that it was labeled as a hate group by the SPLC. The FRC has received other threats that they have turned over to authorities, Perkins said.
The SPLC had also issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Wednesday, saying "we condemn all acts of violence and are following the story closely."
Asked by TPM whether he believes alleged shooter Floyd Corkins should be charged with a hate crime, Perkins said he disagreed with hate crimes on principle but thought the crime qualified as terrorism.
"I'm not a big supporter of the hate crimes statute," Perkins said. "What I believe is that if you commit an act of violence, it is a crime. I don't care why you do it, you did it. When you talk about acts of domestic terrorism, terrorism is to intimidate and marginalize and silence a portion of the population. I think this could very well fit in that category."
Perkins also clarified that the man who was shot but managed to tackle the suspect was a building manager whose duties include security. Perkins said the victim was unarmed and not in uniform when he was shot.
Please see updated story here.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins took to Fox News Thursday to say groups that oppose his organization are responsible for creating the atmosphere that led to the shooting at its headquarters Wednesday.
"Let me be very clear here that Floyd Corkins was responsible for the wounding of one of our colleagues and friends at the Family Research Council," Perkins said. "But I believe he was given a license to do that by a group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center who labeled us a hate group because we defend the family and stand for traditional orthodox Christianity."
In late 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the FRC a "hate group" over its anti-gay rhetoric, such as that by a senior staffer suggesting same-sex behavior be criminalized. The SPLC rating put the FRC -- long a mainstay in Republican political circles -- on the same list as the Aryan Nations, Nation of Islam and KKK.
The FRC and other social conservative groups rejected the label. And in the wake of Wednesday's shooting, which was allegedly perpetrated by a man who was opposed to the group's politics, Perkins said the SPLC needs to watch its words.
"I think it's time for people to realize what the Southern Poverty Law Center is doing with their reckless labeling of organizations they disagree with," he said.
In the hours after the shooting, which left one FRC security guard wounded, a number of LGBT advocacy groups condemned the shooting and offered their condolences to the FRC. Perkins told Fox he appreciated the sentiment.
"We have had a number of civil conversations with those on the other side and the issues we work on. I appreciate them speaking out against such violence," Perkins said. "There is no room for that in a society such as ours. If we want differences of opinions, that's fine. But let's get all the facts out on the table and debate the issues. Let's not use intimidation or acts of terrorism to try and silence portions of our public. "
The SPLC released a statement on Wednesday in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, saying "we condemn all acts of violence and are following the story closely."
Late update: Perkins called the shooting an incident of domestic terrorism at a press conference outside FRC's headquarters:
"I'm not a big supporter of the hate crimes statute. What I believe is that if you commit an act of violence, it is a crime. I don't care why you do it, you did it. When you talk about acts of domestic terrorism, terrorism is to intimidate and marginalize and silence a portion of the population. I think this could very well fit in that category."
"There are some stories that are so racist that you don?t actually get angry you?re actually kindof shocked that people are that creative. Like the Trayvon Martin shooting gallery, or the All White Basketball League. I mean who has time to come up with so many different ways to not like black people? Apparently DeWitt R. Thomas has found a new religious way to express those beliefs.
In a story that actually makes me chuckle at his audacity Thomas is suing Keith Langston owner of the Two Rivers Grocery & Market in Big Sandy Texas for letting a black man touch his groceries. Literally. DeWitt in his handwritten court statement admits that when he was paying for his groceries a black bag boy began to put his purchases away and he said:
?Wait a minute, don?t touch my groceries. I can?t have someone negroidal touch my food. It?s against my creed.?
I agree with the author, Jason Johnson; that word "negroidal" is classic. That must be one of those secret phrases that only certain folks know about.
I actually like this DeWitt guy; he reminds me of some of the folks who comment on this blog or who you see at republican gatherings. He is as American as apple pie. It takes all kinds to make up this big pot we are all melting in. (Literally this summer.)
Anyway, from the looks of ole DeWitt, I am sure that the young brother is relieved that he doesn't want him bagging his groceries anymore. Bagging groceries for my man must be an all day job.
Good luck with your lawsuit, DeWitt, and if you need to raise some money just get a website. It worked well for George Zimmerman. [Story]
Finally, while the republicans keep doing whatever is necessary to hold on to power, they continue to ignore the impact their shenanigans will have on people like Viviette Applewhite.
"Viviette Applewhite fears she'll never be able to vote again. But the 93-year-old isn't giving up.
The lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, with Applewhite as the lead plaintiff, could be headed to the state Supreme Court. "If I live to see it, I'm going to be there," she said.
Applewhite, who testified July 25, said she was surprised by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr.'s ruling. "He was really listening and paying attention," she said. "I really thought he was not going to pass it."
Simpson, in his decision, said he was moved by the witnesses' testimony but concluded that the plaintiffs did not establish that "disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable."
Applewhite, who said she had missed only one election since she was 21, said she saw strong political and racial motivations for the voter ID law, and believed it would have dire consequences in the coming presidential election.
"They did it for one reason: to replace Obama," she said. "Now, too many black people can't vote, he will be out."
"I'm praying I won't be here, but I probably will be," she said, noting that her uncle recently died at 106 and her aunt is 104.
Applewhite, who proudly recalls marching with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., views voting as the only way to control her own destiny and the crux of personal liberty....
Applewhite's ID problem is complicated. Several years ago, her pocketbook, containing all of her important documents, was stolen.
After she tried for years to get a new birth certificate, lawyers helped her obtain one in May. But she hasn't been able to replace her Social Security card because it uses the name Applewhite while her birth certificate lists her father's surname, Brooks.
Even if Applewhite gets a new Social Security card by November, she will also need to show two proofs of residency. She has one - the lease agreement for her apartment. But the utility bills are in her daughter's name, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials have rejected all of the other documents she has bearing her name and address - welfare statements, voter registration cards, bank files, Medicare paperwork, a letter from the mayor, and a birthday card from President Obama.
Applewhite doesn't have a single document with her photo on it. "I'm stuck, you see. They really got me over a barrel" [Source]
Yes they do Ms. Viviette, and that is exactly how they wanted it.
But that's just how republicans roll in "post-racial America." Welcome to the new Jim Crow. It's a lot more subtle, but just as effective.
Don't you wish that everyone was as open with their racism in America as DeWitt R. Thomas?
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Dear Ann Romney,
I don't like your attitude very much. It seems very entitled and imperious. You say you have done everything legally required, and there will be no more tax returns. Not only do you say it, you say it with a snarl, as if those you're asking to vote for your husband are simply too stupid to understand what a tax return filed by a Very Wealthy Couple looks like. As if you're saying "we've given all you people need to know."
Oh wait. You actually said that.
Ma'am, you've released *one* return. ONE. If we're really lucky, we'll get to see the second one 15 days before the election, when it's too late to really understand how you and your husband run your finances.
Here's the thing. I'm not looking for a fight with a woman who is fighting for her husband's election, but you're simply wrong about your pronouncement that what is in those returns isn't relevant, doesn't matter, and won't matter if you do release it. You assume the reason we're asking for these returns has to do with some sort of attack on you.
Don't you understand the attacks are happening because you refuse to disclose this information to people who you're asking to trust for four years? Or are you just above it?
Here is a list of legitimate, real reasons why voters are entitled to access to your tax returns, whether you like it or not:
Similarly, we're entitled to know whether any possible future President is a tax dodger. From the one single return released, it certainly appears that there are some dodgy tax items that deserve closer scrutiny. The problem is, we don't have enough information to say one way or the other, and you think we shouldn't see it.
You say to us: "Trust me." I say to you: "Why?" What have you done to earn my trust? You treat me like I'm some kind of scum for asking reasonable questions about issues that truly do matter. We're entitled to know how you manage these things, how you approach taxes, how we can expect to be treated in a Romney administration. Telling me "you people don't need to know" does not foster trust. It fosters resentment.
You haven't given us one single reason to trust you. You say, well, we tithe, that makes us good people. No, it doesn't. Anyone can write a check. So what? A central tenet of LDS doctrine is the requirement to tithe, at a minimum. a very bare minimum. That's not evidence of integrity; it's evidence that you seem to place the LDS doctrine above the tax laws currently in effect in this country. That's hardly reassuring.
You say to us: "You don't need to have that information." I beg to differ, for the reasons I've stated. Here's what you risk with this attitude, Mrs. Romney. You risk alienating voters who might have been in your camp. I say might, because there are plenty of other reasons not to vote for your husband. But by shoving your puffed-up chest and a mighty attitude of high dudgeon in our faces not once, but several times, you exclude those who might otherwise be convinced.
You want your husband to represent me, Mrs. Romney? You want him to have that job, a job I pay for? Then both of you need to submit to my hiring requirements. This election is a by the people, for the people moment, not an appointment by the oligarchs, no matter what you might think. We, the people, are your Job Interviewers, and right now we're inclined to say we'll get back to you with our decision after the returns are released.
The fact that you would place yourself and your husband above even one other person in this country tells me you and your husband are unfit to occupy the White House. That you do it to the voters who are entitled to know exactly who they are voting for disqualifies you entirely.
I'm sure you'll enjoy your retirement to California. Bye, now.
crossposted from Momocrats.com
The Southern Poverty Law Center has responded to accusations by the Family Research Council and other anti-gay groups that its labeling of hate groups is “incendiary” and that it provided “license” to the gunman to attack FRC Wednesday and must be “held to account.” Mark Potok, Senior Fellow at the SPLC, called Tony Perkins’ accusation “outrageous” and explained how the exploitation of this tragedy creates a false equivalence between criticism of anti-gay rhetoric and condemnations of gay people:
Perkins? accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people ? not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins? words, that pedophilia is ?a homosexual problem? ? an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to ?export homosexuals from the United States.? The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC?s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC?s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse ? claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.
Indeed, as ThinkProgress and many others have pointed out, there’s nothing incendiary about calling hateful rhetoric what it is. Rather than taking umbrage for the designation, groups like FRC and the American Family Association should be “held to account” for the lies and fear they spread that earned them the “hate group” moniker in the first place.
Via Twitter, David Phillippe pointed out today that Paul Ryan has directly contradicted Mitt Romney on how to extend the solvency of Medicare. At issue are cuts to Medicare included in both Obamacare and the House GOP budget engineered by Ryan, which now total $716 billion over the current budget window. Mitt Romney told CBS on Wednesday he would undo those cuts and restore Medicare’s payments to their prior level, and claimed this move would extend the program’s solvency:
ROMNEY: The president’s cuts of $716 billion to Medicare, those cuts are going to be restored if I become president and Paul Ryan becomes vice president… My commitment is, if I become president, I’m going to restore that $716 billion to the Medicare trust fund so that current seniors can know that trust fund is not being raided and we’re going to make sure – and get Medicare on track to be solvent long-term on a permanent basis.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your own budget, which Governor Romney has endorsed, would also have [$716 billion] in Medicare cuts.
RYAN: Well our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency. What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare.
Paul Ryan has the right of it — maintaining these cuts will extend the solvency of Medicare’s trust fund, while undoing the cuts as Romney insists will shorten its solvency. That’s because the cuts do not target seniors’ benefits, but rather the payment rates to health care providers. Overpayments to private insurers in Medicare Advantage are trimmed, overall provider payments are reformed to encourage efficiency, and reimbursements are tied to improved economic performance.
Since the securities flowing into the trust fund come from the payroll tax, which is not cut, the funding remains the same while the services-per-dollar those funds can purchase goes up. As a result, the solvency of Medicare’s trust fund is extended, and the gap over the next 75 years between Medicare’s funding and its expected payments shrinks.
Of course, Ryan’s implication that Obamacare uses the money from the cuts to pay for its own spending instead of extending Medicare’s solvency is also wrong. Trust fund accounting, which deals with Medicare’s solvency, is a conceptually separate framework from the unified budget accounting under which Obamacare’s spending falls. It’s perfectly feasible for the same cut to make room for new spending under the latter, while simultaneously improving Medicare’s solvency under the former. As Paul N. Van de Water put it, “That?s no different than when a baseball player hits a home run: it adds to his team?s score and also improves his batting average.”
So Romney contradicts Ryan on whether these cuts extend Medicare’s solvency, and both incorrectly claim Obamacare fails to do so. Welcome to politics.