Blog Archives

It’s the beginning of the most important day of the year…

Waking up to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Nate Silver now projects President Obama’s margin of victory to be two or three percentage points in the popular vote, approximating the margin that George W. Bush achieved in defeating John Kerry in 2004.

In addition, he gives Obama a 91.6% chance to win the necessary 270 electoral votes for re-election.

John Avlon: “The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic — Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.”

“This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous-overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.”

OK… I’m off for my morning appointments (gee…how do people get up this early?).  – Bill

 

The Economist endorses Obama…

This is a surprise, but The Economist, primarily a business publication, has endorsed Obama over businessman Romney. Here’s the statement:

“As a result, this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.”

 

A Quote for the Morning: A Republican criticizes the racism of his party…

Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, had retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson as a Chief of Staff. Wilkerson made this comment in response to  John Sununu‘s statement on Thursday that Powell’s endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election was motivated by race:

“My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

- Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

And there are people who want these guys elected… why? We worked so hard for decades to establish the civil rights of all Americans. It was a triumph to elect our first black president and Obama has made significant achievements in his first term, even though he faced Republicans in the Congress who publicly pledged to keep his agenda from being passed.

Voting for Republicans in this election endorses their racial views. Do you?

Obama can be proud of accomplishments…

I’m so tired listening to Romney saying that Obama did nothing in his first term as President. We all know that’s not true… just another of Romney’s lies.

We know that the Bush Administration (the Republican years that Romney seems to be basing his proposals on) left Obama with many problems and that the President cured many of them:

 

So let’s keep this in mind as we watch the last 18 days of this campaign… and make sure we spread the word to our friends who appear to be making up their minds.

 

I imagine that Romney will accuse Obama of not having created jobs…

 

… but I doubt if he will identify the actions of the Republican House majority or the Senate Republican filibusters in preventing Obama‘s 17 jobs bills t6o go through.

So what were the results of the Republican refusal to work with their president? Take a look:

Remember this when Romney brings up the 8.1% unemployment rate… remember it when he says Obama has done nothing to even attempt to create jobs.

 

 

Getting ready for the Democratic Convention…

 

Tomorrow will be the start of three days of Democrats firing up their base and showing support for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They are in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we’ll be hearing some great speeches.

There’s been a lot of criticism of C lint Eastwood at the Republican Convention with his empty chair routine. A lot of people are suggesting that the Democrats come up with a parody attack. The leading suggestion is to have Betty White talking to Romney in an empty chair. It’s a very funny idea, but it is not going to happen.

Democrats are going to make the point that we are actually better off today than we were when George W. Bush left us in an economic mess.

Just look at how much job growth there has been in the private sector sing the Republicans (red bars) were replaced by Obama and the Democrats (blue bars.) Of course this is what the Republicans lied about last week when they said Obama had done nothing in the last 3 1/2 years.

So I hope everyone enjoys watching the convention and that independents and undecideds go for Obama/Biden and the Democratic congressional candidates.

 

Another set of facts necessary before listening to Republicans at their convention, thanks to Robert Reich…

 

Robert Reich is quite easy to understand and deserves a good listen:

 

So how is the British press reacting to Mitt?

 

Take your pick… some in London prefer Palin

Romney is certainly giving the English Press a lot to talk about on center spreads, while Olympic coverage takes the front pages. Their reaction to Mitt has gone from openness, to skepticism, to mocking, to concluding that Mitt Romney is worse than Sarah Palin.

Take Daily Mail Political Editor James Chapman, whose cen6ter spread was topped with a two page headline: Romney is a Party Pooper. He has been providing the world a play by play of Romney’s British implosion via his Twitter account, starting off by criticizing London’s preparedness for the Olympics, then forgotname of British Labour Leader Ed Miliband, and then he admitted that he had been given a secret briefing by MI6. This led the British to ask aloud if they have another George W. Bush on their hands:

“Romney blunders again by revealing he’s had (supposedly) top secret briefing by John Sawers, MI6 boss. Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”

After his visit to Whitehall, Chapman offered two of the kinder reviews of Mitt Romney:

“Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash’. Two of the kinder verdicts. Another verdict from one Romney meeting: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity’”

 
Getting compared to Sarah Palin is one thing, but being called worse than Palin is an indication of the mistake Romney has made by being in London in the first place.


The Telegraph
is reporting that London Mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney’s readiness comment:

“Quite a moment from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Shortly after Rix had lit the flame he really went for it in Hyde Park. He referenced Mitt Romney’s ‘London isn’t ready’ quip and shot back in style. “Are we ready?” he called and the crowd went wild. There may even have been a hint of the Obama-friendly “Yes we can!” in there – he may have jumped into a winning scenario but I’ve not heard a politician get that reaction before.”

… and this in front of a crowd of over 200,000 Londoners.

 

 

Romney insists Republicans are NOT the Party of the Rich…

From PERRspectives:

At a $1.7 million fundraiser in Jackson, Mississippi, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney declared that the GOP is not “the party of the rich,” insisting instead that “we’re the party of people who want to get rich.”

Sadly for Romney, there are two small problems with his assessment. For starters, Mitt’s proposals (like those from GOP wunderkind Paul Ryan) would deliver another massive tax cut windfall for the wealthy and shred the social safety net while putting the economic recovery at risk. Just as damning for Mitt and his cheerleaders like David Brooks and Robert Samuelson, the historical record shows that from economic growth and job creation to household incomes, stock market performance and just about every other indicator of the health of the U.S. capitalism, the modern U.S. economy has almost always done better under Democratic presidents.

Nevertheless, Governor Romney offered his GOP extreme makeover during his audience with the haves and have-mores in Mississippi. As ABC reported:

  “We’re accused, by the way — in our party — of being the party of the rich,” Romney said. “And it’s    an awful moniker, because that’s just not true. We’re the party of people who want to get rich. And we’re also the party of pSee the rest of this article HERE.eople who want to care to help people from getting poor. We want to help the poor.”Americans have good reason to look the dressage horse in the mouth, and not just because earlier this year Romney announced, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” As it turns out, Mitt Romney’s program makes George W. Bush look like Karl Marx.

 

See the rest of this article HERE.

The campaign speeches we don’t hear.

So much has been pointed out lately, through television commentaries and new legislation, about Congressmen and Senators entering office as middle-class individuals and leaving office as millionaires by using secret investment information they learn at work.

What would happen if their reelection campaigns listed the things they had done for their constituents AND said they had earned no unethical investment income and are happy with the income they make on their salaries and, say, speaking engagements?

Don’t expect to hear it. Politicians seek reelection in order to continue making money, either legally or illegally. It doesn’t matter if they are Democrats or Republicans or Independents. It’s all the same.

Frankly, I’d vote for the candidate who promised ton do the job he was elected for and not focus on his retirement wallet. And party wouldn’t matter…much.

Afternoon Entertainment : Katie Goodman on the Current Situation.

It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat.

If you have a bad language problem, predominantly the “F” word, don’t play this.

Breathing easier?

Hard To Believe Dept. – Where Economic Strategies Come From

Former President George W. Bush is writing a book on—wait for it—strategies for economic growth.

Yeah, that George W. Bush.

The one who ate up our budget surplus that he inherited after the Clinton administration and turned it into massive debt. The one who got us into this great recession BEFORE Obama ever took office.

As the Economic Policy Institute put it best of all:

“…between the end of the 2001 recession (2001Q4) and the peak of that expansion (2007Q4), the U.S. economy experienced the worst economic expansion of the post-war era.”

So, unless Bush calls his book “What I Did Wrong” I’m not sure anyone will take it with any seriousness.

Thanks to All Hat, No Cattle.

Did someone say Romney had outstanding business experience?

He doesn’t seem to know much about the history of labor and the monthly creation of new jobs.

Obama just announced an increase in jobs by 115,000 in April. Romney’s comment:

“We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs per month,” Mitty said on “Fox & Friends.” “This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.”

It could be that Romney doesn’t know what a “normal recovery” has as monthly jobs growth. During George W. Bush‘s presidency, there was never a single month in which job growth topped 400,000, let alone 500,000, according to Bureau of Labor StatisticsThink Progress pointed out:

“there have only been 16 months since 1939″ in which the economy added half a million jobs in one month.

Obama inherited a more severe recession than Bush (and, of course, he inherited it FROM Bush), which meant that he had a greater need for a quick and pronounced recovery. Also, as Bush was dealing with the bursting of the dot.com bubble, September 11th happened, further elongating the timeline for recovery.

And yet, by strictly numerical measures, Obama at this point is doing better than Bush… so somebody should point this out to “Mr. Business”.

A Quote on the Economy – Clinton Outlines History and Praises Obama

“If you go back 500 years, whenever a country’s financial system collapses, it takes between five and 10 years to get back to full employment. If you go back for the last 200 years, when buildings had been widely owned by individuals and companies, if there’s a mortgage collapse, it almost always takes 10 years.

“He’s beating the clock, not behind it. Don’t listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock.”

- Bill Clinton

… and what are Republicans beating? (and if you say “off” I’ll laugh.)

Scarborough Library Follies

Todd and John setting up the remote studio

John and I broadcast Winners and Losers from Shepherd University‘s Scarborougfh Library this morning, adding an extra hour to our regular show. Todd Cotsgreave, our Station Manager, spent close to two days setting up the equipment, testing it and getting rerady for the broadcast, for which we express great thanks.

I was really struck by the signs and posters they had outside of the Library building and all over the inside that showed John and me broadcasting (pictures swiped from this blog going back quite a ways).

We interviewed members of the Library staff, program directors, student volunteers and Lisa Welch from the Film Society (movie tonight, btw – George Clooney ‘s Good Night and Good Luck). It was all set up by the Library Dean and we even had a mini breakfast and coffee for all attendees.

It all worked out pretty well and we’ll probably do it again in 6 months or so.

Do Bush Appointed Judges Hate Obama Because He Is Black?

Dennis S wrote an observant piece for Politicus USA. Taking as an example, he cites Richard Cebull, the 67-year-old George W. Bush appointed Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Right-wing Republicans hate Obama because he’s black. That’s a fact that’s been the subtext of virtually every political mouthing made by the extremist element of the party. “Poor, food stamps, housing loans ‘they’ couldn’t afford, ‘they’ don’t wanna work…” There have always

Cebull, the White Jokester

been vehement denials by the offending parties of any racial intent. And here’s another denial. But the action by the judge is so base, so visceral, that it’s beyond denial.

Here’s the email forwarded by the judge to six friends and his brother:

“A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’”

There was a graphic on the e-mail of a mother and son holding hands and looking at a lake… above the picture was the phrase “A Mother’s Love”.

Federal Judges are, in a sense, employees of the President and are not allowed to criticize or condemn him. Period. This was, apparently, a judge who did not understand that something like this sent by e-mail could get posted on the internet and seen by millions, making clear the opinions of the sender.

Cebull’s statement when exposed said:

“because it’s anti-Obama. I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended.”

The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan. I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

So here we have a Federal Judge admitting his anti-Obama position. Publicly.

Dennis S sums it up very tightly:

The whole unseemly apology reminds me of Christians who spend their whole lives drinking and whoring around, then think a last minute ‘apology’ will get them to heaven. Folks, you can’t commit sins like racism, and it is a sin, and expect to bail yourself out with an insincere bullshit apology.

This what has become to be known as a “Republican Apology“, often stated when they are caught in a difficult position: apologizing to anyone offended by the comment. Note, this is NOT and apology FOR the comment, but an aim at those who disagree with the Republican position.

Cohen and Conyers... Support Them!

Although it is not likely to happen, Democrats John Conyers and Steve Cohen of

the House Judiciary Committee are trying to get a hearing to have Cebull impeached. With Republican control of the House, it is not likely to happen.

Pass it on.

With this quote, I thee wed…

Who is joining hands with all the truly religious in America by following the last three or four decades of political history?

Guess..

Look at every race that’s been run over the past forty, thirty years, and you will see a divide between George Bush and Al Gore, between George Bush and John Kerry, between John McCain and Barack Obama, between people who go to church and people who don’t … We are the party that believe in values.

Got it?

Yeah, it’s Rick Santorum from a WLW radio show last Friday.

over at RestoringTruthiness.org has an article: Rick Santorum to Abraham Lincoln: Oh You Infidel! that sums up the situation of the values party nicely.

A serious quote for today… listen up:

Economist Paul Krugman

…compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

“And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.”

- Paul Krugman

Be aware…be very aware. Remember it was the tea party audience at the recent Republican debate who yelled “Let them die!” when Ron Paul (a “doctor”? Really?) said the poor could get their own health policies if they wanted coverage.

What is becoming of our country? To think there is a percentage of our citizens who would believe in such a thing. I don’t care what anyone thinks of the limitations of Barack Obama. I don’t remember him EVER hoping that children and seniors would die for lack of medical coverage.

This is more than a little depressing.

 

Of course, we also hear from Romney this morning…

… and he isn’t thrilled:

Why is this man smiling?

“As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced – not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute. While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”

- Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential Candidate

“Extraordinarily difficult situation” that Republicans have been placed in? Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the Republicans WON here. Then again, maybe his old Massachusetts liberalism is coming out.

Quote of the Day – From the Democratic Governor’s Conference

Concerning the walls Republicans have built up to block Obama‘s Debt Ceiling proposals:

“I think that there is an extreme wing within their party who have as their primary goal not the jobs recovery, but the defeat of President Obama in 2012.  They know that their formulations, their policies of less revenues and less regulation badly failed our country and plunged us into this recession. So their only way of evening the playing field is to keep the president from being successful in the jobs recovery.”

- Martin O’Mally, Governor of Maryland at the Democratic Governor’s Conference in Salt Lake City.

Truer words were never spoken.

Saturday night thoughts as I watch Doc Martin reruns…

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’m getting so tired of listening to the conservative candidates, congressmen and capitalists complain about paying taxes at the level they should be… say, at the rate they were taxed at before George W. Bush lowered them.

As you recall, he lowered the taxes while, at the same time, getting us involved in an Iraq war for dishonest reasons without actually putting the expenses in the reported budget. It is as if bookkeeping and government spending had no relationship.

If a candidate cannot say “Yes, I will have to raise taxes, especially on the rich,” then he (or she) is being completely dishonest. As citizens, we should demand tax increases… and demand military cuts (and demand that we get out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and just about everywhere else in the Middle East.

So how do we make it happen?

Afternoon Quotes of Republican Duplicity…

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, who was responsible for the act? Obama? Hardly likely.

As revealed in Talking Points Memo:

Karl Rove Assistant to the President, Deputy C...

Karl Rove, American Citizen

“I think the tools that President Bush put into place — GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well,” former Bush adviser Karl Rove said on Fox News.

Also on Fox News, Bush’s one-time Chief of Staff Andrew Card claimed his former boss “made sure that everything was in place so that President Obama could have an opportunity to — to get Osama bin Laden, and it finally happened.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t forget who Accomplished the Mission those many years ago… Oh, wait, that was in Iraq looking for weapons of Mass Destruction. Nothing to do with bin Laden. Sorry.


On the appropriateness of celebration…

There has now been a day to ponder the responses of the killing of bin Laden which, let me assure you, I think was an important and rightful act.

I am bothered, however, by the New Year’s Eve-style celebrations which went on for hours after the announcement: delerious street dancing, people wrapping themselves in flags, yelling and screaming… I would have expected something much more somber. I would have expected candles, thoughtful silence, remembrance of so many lost in the name of getting this one man.

I’ve been reading blogs, watching television, flipping through the newspapers and listening to radio for 24 hours or so (about half of which I was disconnected from the internet thanks to my friends at Frontier… boy, these guys are driving me to the Hughes Network) and finding there were a lot of people who also thought the party-like atmosphere made us seem as bad as Al Qaida, who did the same kind of thing after the twin towers went down. I had hoped we would be better than that, but I should know from experience that we, as a people, are easily tipped into emotional release.

Having had the day to think about everything I hope folks will be a little more reflective today. This, of course, means different things to different people. I spent five minutes switching from CSPAN‘s Morning Edition, Morning Joe, Fox News and CNN and each had their own perspective. CSPAN was taking calls from the public… at least two who were pushing the idea that 1.) bin Laden was not dead, but we really had scooted him off for secret interrogation without the rest of the world knowing about it, and  2.) that he has been dead for a couple of years and we have been keeping him on ice so Obama could stage this event in order to get reelected. In their usual reluctance to comment or get in the way of the craziest responses, CSPAN just let it go by with a “Thank You.”

Fox seemed to be devoting the morning to making sure there was plenty of focus on George W. Bush whose plans were in place to be carried out by Obama… plus repeated videos of Bush with megaphone at the 9/11 site, Bush doing the “Dead or Alive” speech, etc. Damned little focus on Obama.

My favorite was public radio which found part of the Seth Myers’ speech at the Correspondent’s Dinner the night before the attack and the one bin Laden joke he made… which the President did a deep laugh at… we know now that he knew what was about to go on in Pakistan and he kept it in unleaked control.

Morning Joe had the usual mix of conservatives and liberals and CNN was more concerned with a troop of missing boy scouts and massive flooding in Cairo, IL. Their Obama thoughts ran as a tickertape stream at the bottom of the screen.

Frankly, I’m going to start reviewing the “what do we do next” scenarios… with a certain amount of hope that we MAY no longer need to be in Afghanistan – that it becomes the new Iraq, the war that we have no reason to be in. I don’t really believe it will happen… after all we still have thousands of folks still in Iraq. If we could only get away from the need to be an empire!

I’ll comment on what I find later. Have a nice day.

As the Middle Class disappears, we turn into Poverty Nation at the Middle Class level.

“You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both.”
Louis Brandeis

So how poor is the Middle Class when looked at in comparison with the top 1% (who don’t seem to be affected by the results of the Great Recession)?  Here are a couple of charts from Stanford University which will give you an idea:

CEO pay as related to Average Worker pay
The ratio of the average pay of the 100 highest-paid CEOs in the United States to the average wage of workers increased from 39:1 in 1970 to 191:1 in 1988 to 1,039:1 in 2000. Put more colloquially, top CEOs in 1970 made 39 times more than the average worker, whereas now they make 1,039 times more than the average worker.
U.S. CEO pay in relation to the average worker’s wage:

Source: Thomas Piketty, and Emanuel Saez. 2007. “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-2002.” In Anthony B. Atkinson, and Thomas Piketty, Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Children In Poverty
In the United States, 21.9 percent of all children are in poverty, a poverty rate second only to that of Mexico’s (among rich nations).
Relative Poverty Rates in Twenty-One Rich Nations at the Turn of the Century for Children:

Source: Timothy M. Smeeding, 2008. “Poorer by Comparison.” Pathways 3-5.

Got it? The rich aren’t complaining because they earn around a thousand to one compared to the average middle class guy. And they don’t seem to be concerned that, aside from Mexico, we are leaders in Child Poverty among developed nations (we even come in 3 times worse than Slovenia!)

So now the Tea Party folks are pushing a budget where they have already eliminated, in concept, NPR, PBS, the EPA and just about every other federally funded advantage that the Middle Class has. This was all passed by the House yesterday… now it goes to the Senate.

I  signed a petition yesterday to save public broadcasting. If you want to join me, go to this link: http://pol.moveon.org/nprpbs/?r_by=-5593088-7WiE7Qx&rc=mailto. This will get the word out to the Senate before they vote on it. Let’s let them know what WE want.

The Republicans are working very hard to eliminate the Middle Class, and it is a losing battle, it seems, negotiating with them. John Boehner seems to have no real control over his House colleagues and the Tea Partyers don’t have any idea what negotiation means.

As we head for a potential government shutdown, we’re in for lots of rhetorical crap and not much real action.

Quote of the Day… one of many I’m seeing all over the Internet

Countdown with Keith Olbermann was the anchor of something extraordinary that emerged, painstakingly and against all odds, during the Bush years. A mild liberal alternative was established in the corporate media to counter the flamethrowers at Fox. Nothing like it had existed since MSNBC fired Phil Donahue in early 2003. Now it’s gone. And it’s hard to see how this gaping hole on the “liberal” end of the corporate media is going to result in anything other than giving a louder voice and greater ventilation to the policies that are currently being advanced by an aggressive right-wing oligarchy.”

- Joseph A. Palermo, Associate Professor, American History, California State University, Sacramento.

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