The latest Pew survey shows something of a breakthrough for the Obama campaign. Since last fall's unveiling of the American Jobs Act, Obama has hammered home the ?fairness? of raising taxes on high income earners. This rhetoric has made its way into almost every speech from the president, and is a key part of his second term agenda. According to Pew, it seems that Obama?s persistence has had an effect?by two to one, 44 percent to 22 percent, Americans say that raising taxes on the rich would help rather than hurt the economy:
There?s been some question of timing with regard to the Obama campaign?s attacks on Bain Capital. ?If these are so effective,? goes the argument, ?then why has Obama deployed them this early in the cycle?? The answer is fairly straightforward?they are the prelude to a broader attack on Mitt Romney?s policies. The Obama campaign almost certainly plans to tie Romney?s taxes, finances, and business practices to his support for upper-income tax cuts, corporate tax cuts, and a smaller, weaker safety net. This survey is a sign that, when these attacks are unveiled, they?ll reach an increasingly receptive public.
Ron Johnson is helping to revive red-baiting.
(Gage Skidmore)Dead now for more than two decades, the Soviet Union has made a big comeback among Republicans trying to tie it in whatever twisted way possible to the Obama administration. Mitt Romney adviser John Lehman has warned about Soviet policy in the Arctic. John Boehner has labeled as "Soviet-style" the three-quarter-century-old dairy support program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And now Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Romney surrogate, is comparing the administration's green energy programs with policies of the Soviets, Cubans and Venezuelans.
Johnson made these red-baiting remarks Tuesday on CNN's Starting Point in an interview with Soledad O'Brien:
?President Obama simply doesn?t understand that it?s the free enterprise systems, the private sector, the productive sector, not the government sector that creates long-term self-sustaining jobs,? Johnson declared. ?Take a look at the Soviet Union, Venezuela?s economic basket case, and is anybody moving to the island paradise of Cuba??Johnson is clearly unfamiliar with exactly how private enterprise has operated in tandem with government since the United States became a nation. Take three examples from long before the Soviet Union was a gleam in anybody's eye highlighted by William Lazonick:
O?BRIEN: You?re surely not suggesting that the idea and the concept behind Solyndra and other green energies like Solyndra is comparable to the Soviet Union and Cuba, right?
JOHNSON: No, I am suggesting that, because when you take taxpayer money and you invest that into businesses, that?s the taxpayer money put at risk. And let?s face it, the lesson of the Soviet Union and other socialist nations is that governments are very poor allocators of capital. It?s an economic model that doesn?t work.
O?BRIEN: Didn?t it work in Massachusetts? Isn?t that exactly what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts in green energy when he was the governor of Massachusetts?
JOHNSON: Listen, the path we need to take this country on is with free enterprise system, the private sector that creates long term self-sustaining jobs and that?s exactly what Governor Romney would do as President Romney.
The United States gave away more than 5 percent of the nation (an area the size of California) to the railroads under the Pacific Railroads Act of the 1860s. The companies could sell this land or use it as collateral for loans. Today dozens of companies continue to hold hundreds of thousands of acres of land from these grants, clear-cutting them, digging coal out of them, pumping oil and gas from them.
Subsidies under the Contract Air Mail Act of 1925 provided nascent airline companies with the wherewithal to develop new airplane bodies, leading within a few years to the all-metal, two-engine planes that allowed passenger air travel to grow so rapidly.
Funding a Revolution: Government Support for Computing Research stated in 1999: "Federal funding not only financed development of most of the nation's early digital computers, but also has continued to enable breakthroughs in areas as wide ranging as computer time-sharing, the Internet, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality as the industry has matured."
There's more, including the Interstate Highway System, government's heavy subsidies to the nuclear power industry, the industries that have grown up around GPS, and on and on, as the Breakthrough Institute has pointed out.
Rep. Johnson and the rest of the brigade that makes these comparisons of U.S. government investment ignore our own history as well as the history of nations like Korea, Japan and Taiwan who became economic powerhouses without any kowtowing to Soviet economics.
It's tempting to label as ignoramuses Johnson and Boehner and others using this tack. But they know full well what they're doing. For these guys and all their Rovian buddies, if you can get "Soviet" and "Obama" into the same sentence, it's a win.
Benjy Sarlin explains the the whole "If you've got a business, you didn't build that" canard....[...]
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John Sununu in his usual form this morning, going on Fox to say that President Obama "spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something" and separately telling reporters, "I wish this president would learn how to be an American."...[...]
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Just a couple of bros. Bonus: Caught on kiss cam (not the bros)....[...]
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When Romney sends his top surrogate out to go-off about President Obama smoking dope I think that means they haven't figured out how to deal with the taxes issue yet....[...]
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Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is in court at Fort Meade for the second day of a pre-trial motion hearing. The government and defense are expected to deliberate over instructions and some[...]
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(h/t Heather@Video Cafe)
Get ready, ladies and gentlemen, because Bill O'Reilly believes he has found a way to defend the outsourcing history of Mittens at Bain Capital and even charge Obama with doing the exact same thing. Problem is, Obama really didn't -- but who needs truth in the Roger Ailes Universe?
Let's set the stage. Tom Hamburger:
Mitt Romney?s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These revelations have resulted in the Obama administration's attacks on Mitt's private-sector record , which is causing him terrible grief at the moment. Conservatives are getting frustrated at the lack of a cohesive defense or response from Romney's campaign.
Here's comes BillO to the rescue. We know that outsourcing jobs to other countries has decimated our jobs sector in manufacturing and many other areas for American workers. After the world became Wall Street's playground for cheap labor, the outsourcing that has been their chief tool has caused tremendous hardships for multitudes of average working-class families.
So BIll has an idea for a Romney response: Obama does it too! The proof? Are you ready? Are you? Here it comes. Obama works with GE who hire many workers outside the US! That's it!!!! It's the same. Obama's guilty of the same thing. (Rough transcript)
BillO: Sending jobs overseas, The truth about the Obama/Romney controversy.
How can Obama attack Romney when he did the same thing?. The Obama administration has continued to make billions of dollars of tax payer dollars available to GE mostly through loans.
Here it comes...
BIllO: GE employs about 300 thousand people and fewer than half, 131,000 are working in the USA. Let me repeat. Less than half of GE's workforce is employed in America.
Less than half of 300K workers have jobs in the US. So you see it's the same. Um, no you pinhead. GE is an existing company that BIllO has a personal grudge against since Olbermann's days at MSNBC and is a huge global corporation that any administration would deal with. But Obama did not create a company to gut other companies; he did not fire U.S. workers and outsource their jobs to China or wherever just to turn an extra buck. That's what Romney did with Bain, and he set the benchmark for this behavior. Ergo, the massive migraine for Mitt Romney.
BillO's medicine is not what Romney's concierge doctor would have prescribed.
During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Mitt Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) argued that President Obama did not have the requisite business experience to create jobs because he was “smoking something” in Hawaii:
SUNUNU: This guy doesn’t understand how to create jobs. So there is no surprise — there should be because of that statement no surprise on why he failed so miserably over the last four years, in terms of job creation. He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.
This is hardly the first time GOP politicians have attempted to stoke controversy around Obama and drugs. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) attacked the president earlier this summer for “doing blow and smoking dope.”
On a media conference call organized by the Romney campaign, Sununu said, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”
Marvel announced its slate of movies and their release dates at San Diego Comic Con. But it’s remarks by Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito that are making waves in some circles. He told MTV of Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther that:
“That would be Marvel in space,” he said. “That’s a great concept and a great idea, and potentially one of our films in the future.” Another possible candidate is “Black Panther,” a superhero story that centers on T’Challa, the defender of a fictional African nation called Wakanda.
“He has a lot of the same characteristics of a Captain America: great character, good values,” said the Marvel exec. “But it’s a little more difficult, maybe, creating [a world like Wakanda]. It’s always easier basing it here. For instance, Iron Man 3 is rooted right here in Los Angeles and New York. When you bring in other worlds, you’re always faced with those difficulties.”
It’s silly to say that it’s easier to build a visual and conceptual Wakanda?especially given BET did it in the Black Panther animated series?than Asgard, or a Skrull warship. But D’Esposito, in a sort of clumsy way, seems to be talking around some beliefs embedded in Hollywood conventional wisdom: that it’s easier to sell white men as brawling gods than black men as hugely technologically advanced leaders of foreign nations.
One of the things that’s bracing about BET’s cartoon adaptation is that it’s so directly about the racism of that disbelief. You’ve got white American officials who say things like “Where do a bunch of savages get off telling us they have a no-fly zone? What are they going to do, throw spears at our jets?” and a World War II-era Black Panther who brushes off Captain America’s offer of help with invading Nazis by telling him “You can go home now. I’ve already taken out the garbage.” In this interpretation, T’Challa’s the rare kind of superhero who can call out systemic ills in Western society, rather than relying on their continued existence to give him purpose. “The fact that every conversation here is framed in terms of profit and power says everything,” he says in the cartoon. “Why cure a disease when people pay for medicine?”
As thrilling as it would be to see those contradictions and assumptions challenged in a big-screen movie with all the power of Marvel’s brand and marketing department behind it, I’m not really surprised that Marvel’s finding excuses to demur. American audiences like seeing American superheroes and American presidents beat back alien invasions, to see America as the sophisticated country that stands as a bulwark between humanity and everyone else. We can put up with Asgardians because they’re on our side, Thor’s promise to protect the earth mediated by his partnership with Captain America, and representations of American superiority in industry, military might, and science, Tony Stark, Captain Fury, and Bruce Banner and Jane Foster. Blade can protect humans from the decadence of vampire torturers, ravers, raisers of evil Gods and breeders of abominations, but he’s an affirmation of our goodness rather than a critique of our society. That’s not to say that there isn’t evil out there that needs taking care of, and I appreciate the Blade franchise’s attention to the vulnerability of homeless people. But it’s easier to sell superheroes of any color who emphasize our common humanity than those who point our failures, whether it’s T’Challa in Africa or Luke Cage in Harlem.