The polling since the conventions shows that Democrats are doing better than expected. President Obama now apparently has a clear lead over Mitt Romney. Democratic Party control of the Senate seems likely to survive this election year of many more[...]
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by Bob Berwyn, via Summit County Citizens Voice Federal ocean scientists said this year?s sea surface temperatures along the northeast coast of the U.S. set all-time records, with as-yet unknown consequences for marine ecosystems. Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the [...]
Tammy Baldwin's surge in Wisconsin, including a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist released Thursday night, has the Right having to plow resources into Wisconsin. Baldwin has the heavy hitters against her, including Karl Rove for $1 million and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Here's that Chamber ad.
Does it make you made Tammy Baldwin voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare? Can you believe Tammy even supported the wildly unpopular public option? Wisconsin families and seniors deserve better. Protect Medicare. Vote against Tammy Baldwin.Interspersed with the narrator are voices of supposed callers, demanding that Baldwin "keep her hands off my Medicare," that extremely popular public option health plan that covers our nation's seniors. And by the way, CoC, the public option was hugely popular, generally polling at 60 percent popularity and above.
Medicare for all, single-payer, a public option?whatever you want to call it, it remains the obvious answer to reining in the astronomical rate of growth of health care costs in our economy. There's a reason every other developed nation int the world has a variation on a single-payer system. That's why it's the number one question on the questionnaire Daily Kos asks all candidates who want to participate in Orange to Blue to complete. Here's that portion of Tammy Baldwin's questionnaire.
1. Do you support:Tammy Baldwin isn't afraid of the Chamber of Commerce, and isn't afraid to stand up for and run on smart, progressive policy solutions. That's what we need more of in the Senate.
a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200, Subtitle B, including § 223(b)(1)(A), as introduced in the House, 111th Congress)?
Yes. I have long been a supporter of Health Care for all. It is the issue that brought me to Congress. In the fourteen years that I have served in the House of Representatives I have sponsored and cosponsored a variety of bills that would achieve that goal. In the 112th Congress I am a cosponsor of H.R. 191, which provides for a public option and sets reimbursement rates at Medicare plus 5% for the first three years, and allows HHS to set the rate thereafter.
b) The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789, 111th Congress), which would allow all citizens or permanent residents to buy into Medicare?
Yes, I cosponsored this legislation.
Nice job by the DNC with their latest ad, hitting Mitt Romney for his remarks about the 47 percent that don't pay federal income taxes.
Talking to wealthy donors, Mitt Romney disdainfully dismissed half of America
I'm still waiting for Romney to release his tax returns so we can find out if there were any years he was part of the 47 percent himself.
UPDATE: Here's the video transcript:
VOICEOVER: The Romney campaign is in crisis mode, scrambling to explain a secretly recorded tape where Romney tells wealthy donors nearly half of all Americans see themselves as victims.
BRIAN WILLIAMS (NBC): He talked about citizens who see themselves as victims; pay no income taxes. He went on to say his job was not to worry about those people.
JOHN KING (CNN): What he said in that speech was that all of them don't pay taxes. All of them are victims. All of them want free healthcare--think they're entitled to free housing. He essentially smeared everyone.
GRAPHIC OF DAVID BROOKS EDITORIAL:
It suggest that he really doesn't know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A. Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security and Medicare?
ANCHOR (CNN): If Mr. Romney is so upset that so many Americans are not paying income taxes, does that mean taxes on middle class or lower middle class Americans will go up?
KING (CNN): A lot of Americans of all income stripes have struggled the last few years and the risk for Governor Romney is that it is insulting to them. As a kid, my family was on food stamps for a few years when my dad got sick.
We didn't feel entitled and we weren't victims. And my father was actually pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. But in the end my mother was grateful because she was able to feed her kids.
DAVID GERGEN (with former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer looking on) (CNN): It was almost oafish for someone who has a bank account in Cayman Islands, in order to reduce taxes, to criticize someone in need.
ANNE KORNBLUT (WASHINGTON POST): It's going to reverberate with working class white people who don't pay taxes. It's going to reverberate with women. It's going to reverberate with military families. I don't think there's any group that's not going to in some way be--either hear about what he said or see themselves somehow reflected in it.
GERGEN (CNN): It's not just this comment. It's a pattern. It's a series over time. Americans tend to create a circle in their mind of people inside that circle who would make a credible, comfortable president; someone they could see in that office and they would feel comfortable with. I think this pattern of statements is increasingly placing Mitt Romney outside that circle for a growing number of Americans.
Ad ends with:
Outside the circle.
(h/t FiredUpinCA for the transcript.)
Farewell summer. Let's have our first links of the fall...because live from Bullshit Mountain, it's Saturday afternoon!
16 Amish found guilty of hate crimes in beard-cutting attacks
Some good news out of California where the anti-union Proposition 32 is losing support:
Likely voters are divided on Proposition 32 -- which also would ban union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees and government contractor contributions to elected officials -- with 42 percent saying they would vote yes, 49 percent no and 9 percent undecided, the poll shows.The description of Proposition 32 presented in the article makes it sound tolerable, but it's not. It would gut the power of the labor movement while giving superPACs free reign in the state. That's why the Koch brothers have given $4 million to pass it.
The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
The Chicago teacher's strike is over. It worked. The Verizon strike is over. It worked. Strikes work. Workers should have them more often.
When I say that strikes work, I don't mean that unions get each and every last thing they ask for. That's an unrealistic goal in any negotiation. I mean that strikes allow unions to get things that they would not get without a strike. This is primarily because a strike adds a very powerful stakeholder to the outcome of the negotiations: the public. When negotiations involve only workers and management, management is often able to simply say "fuck off." Management can wait them out?workers will run out of money and start starving long before their managers do. If managements feels that they can save money in the long term by telling workers to fuck off with their contract demands, they will do it, even if it means taking a financial hit in the short term. This is the cold logic of capitalism. Absent any direct incentive, management will always take a dollar out of workers' pockets and put it into their own, if they can.
A strike, though, acts as a check on that imbalance of power by inviting a very powerful third party to the table.
WASHINGTON ? Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, did not violate House ethics rules when she contacted the Treasury Department in 2008 to set up a meeting on behalf of top executives from a bank her husband owns stock in, a special investigator announced on Friday.The right wing is predictably apoplectic.
The father of a rape victim referenced in an attack ad against Democratic Attorney General hopeful Kathleen Kane called the ad a lie and called on Republicans to withdraw it.Republicans lying about rape? Nothing new here, move along.
?The advertisement says that Kathleen Kane made a plea bargain in a rape case that a judge says wasn?t tough enough. I know that?s a lie, because it was my daughter that was the victim in the case,? he wrote in a letter provided by the Kane campaign. PoliticsPA will not publish his name in order to respect the privacy of the family.
I tweeted my commentary on the Massachusetts Senate debate between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in real time, so no need to go much further on it. Basically you saw an incumbent Senator clearly behind in his own internal polling, so he decided to go[...]
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You may recall that there were a couple of nooses displayed as protests of Barack Obama in right-wing precincts the night he was elected in 2008, and there have been effigy hangings of the president here and there since. They quickly were swept under the rug, everyone moved along, and that was that. But obviously, those sentiments among racist rednecks have, if anything, intensified in recent years.
And now that it's clear he is about to win re-election, it's coming back out -- with clear references to Clint Eastwood's speech at the GOP convention included.
First there was the cretin who hung an empty chair labeled "Nobama" in close proximity to a George Allen sign at festival in Virginia this weekend. No one evidently was able to track down the culprit.
As we say, effigy hangings aren't particularly new, though they do serve as a nice barometer of the anger levels of the expressly racist faction out there. What made this noteworthy was the clear reference to Eastwood's use of an empty chair as a proxy for President Obama.
Today, Burnt Orange Report received the photo at right, taken in front of a home in Northwest Austin. The resident, a Republican, lynched an empty chair from a tree in his yard, which one can easily interpret to represent a racially motivated act of violence against the President.
When confronted, the man doubled down:
I called the homeowner to ask about his display, citing my concerns as a fellow Austinite. He replied, and I quote, "I don't really give a damn whether it disturbs you or not. You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you. I don't give a shit. If you don't like it, don't come down my street."
Ironically, the homeowner in question, Bud Johnson, won "Yard of the Month" in August 2010 from his Homeowners Association. I guess his display was a little different that month?
The next day, the man added an American flag and a guard to his display.
I wonder how Clint Eastwood feels about having his piece of impromptu acting serve as grist for a lynch mob.
Fifty years ago, when an Eisenhower speechwriter wrote a tell-all about his White House time, JFK was disgusted. ?I hope,? he told aides, ?nobody here is writing that kind of book.? Nobody did.
What would he have made of today?s politicians being bared 24/7, not only by books but tapes, videos, open mics and constant leaks of staff with an eye out for their own futures?
Welcome to the era of naked politics and, if you wonder why we don?t have better people in public office, don?t look much further.
Once long ago, I was asked about running for something. I didn?t hesitate: ?No, I?m not shameless enough.? But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are, as well as the Tea Party toads and Democratic counterparts in their wake.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama was to trying to hold on to his authentic self--a problem he recognized early in the process, telling Tim Russert with a worried smile that his wife and friends thought he was still there behind all the hype and admitting on 60 Minutes that the ?attempt to airbrush your life...is exhausting.?
Is the President still there, or we seeing a good man trying to hold on to shreds of his authentic self in a humiliating process?
And, as we congratulate ourselves over the free flow of ?information? that feeds our insatiable hunger, who should we blame for the quality of people we get in the process?
If our emperors have no clothes, who stripped them naked?
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Ballot measures that will affect the future and the voice of workers in Michigan and California are going to be hard-fought. In California, where Proposition 32 would defund union political spending under the guise of getting money out of politics, while leaving tons of corporate money in politics, a new poll finds 49 percent of voters opposed and 42 percent in favor. In Michigan, Proposal 2, an amendment that would guarantee collective bargaining rights holds a 49 percent to 39 percent lead and a measure to repeal the state's anti-union Emergency Manager law is 46 percent for repeal to 35 percent to keep the law in place. These results are honestly a little weird?support for the collective bargaining amendment has decreased by five points while repealing the Emergency Manager law has gained 13 points? It's not clear what to make of that, but confusion around the fact that on one question the pro-labor vote is yes and on the other question the pro-labor vote is no may be a factor.
In any case, the polling makes clear that neither side can take these measures for granted. And they fucking matter. Putting collective bargaining rights into the Michigan state constitution would be a huge step forward for workers, especially in a state where Republican legislators have had real successes in their war on workers. In contrast, if Prop. 32 passes in California, it not only weakens the political power of workers through their unions, but slashes an important source of contributions for Democrats while leaving Republican corporate funding largely intact.
Make sure your friends in California know the stakes on these important ballot measures.