Posted: August 30, 2013 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: morning reads, open thread, Republican politics, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Burger King, Eric Cantor, fast food workers' strike, fund-raising, GLBT rights, hurricane katrina, IRS, John Boehner, living wage, lobbying, McDonald's, New Orleans, North Dakota, Rush Limbaugh, same-sex marriage |
Since it’s the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d start out with some Labor News. There are so many jobs these days that don’t really pay a living wage in the US that it’s really astounding. Fast Food Workers are among the lowest paid in the country.
Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday, in the largest protest of an almost year-long campaign to raise service sector wages.
Rallies were held in cities from New York to Oakland and stretched into the South, historically difficult territory for organized labor.
The striking workers say they want to unionize without retaliation in order to collectively bargain for a “living wage.”
They are demanding $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25. The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.
“It’s almost impossible to get by (alone),” said McDonald’s worker Rita Jennings, 37, who was among about 100 protesters who marched in downtown Detroit Thursday. “You have to live with somebody to make it.”
Rush Limbaugh was all agog and demagogue about the striking workers
LIMBAUGH: If you want a “living wage,” if you don’t like what fast food restaurants pay, then do something else. It’s just that simple. Go to a trade school. Go to another business. Start your own business. Maybe the work that you are capable of isn’t yet worth $15 an hour at a fast-food restaurant. Maybe the consumer doesn’t want to pay $10 for a Big Mac so that people working at McDonald’s make $15 an hour. It’s not just a one-way strata.
You don’t just sit there and double what the employees at McDonald’s make and keep the prices the same. Now, you may think this is obvious, folks, and you may think, “Come on, Rush,” you’d be amazed at how many people do not understand the push-pull in economics. You’d be amazed at the number of people who have taken economics courses who think that the truth about headaches is that the boss is a cheap skinflint and wants his employees to starve and wants to screw his customers.
That’s the basis of their understanding, and they go from there, and they are applauded by left-wing Democrat politicians for holding that belief, and they’re encouraged to have it. Now, to those of you who, like Sean from San Diego, are sympathetic to this demand for the minimum wage at Mickey D’s to go from $7.15 or $7.25 an hour to $15, let me ask you this: When you buy a meal, do you make sure that you’re paying a fair price for it?
When you walk in there, do you ask the employee, “Look, am I paying enough here so that you can get a livable wage? When you go in and buy a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese or a double Quarter Pounder with cheese, do you look at the price is and say, “Are you sure that this costs enough that you can make a livable wage?” Or do you just get a little upset when you think it’s a little too expensive?
Limbaugh was lecturing fast workers on getting a better job as he sat in his mansion with no clue what it is like to work and survive on minimum wage. Limbaugh’s lecture was centered around a couple of the Republicans favorite falsehoods. Rush was pretending that there are better jobs out there for minimum wage workers.
Some happy news for married GLBT workers! The IRS and the US Treasury will recognize your marriage. You get the standard marriage deduction!!
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.
I joined the Sisterhood of the Pink Shoes this weekend. Meanwhile, the real sister with the pink shoes is doing really well in the fundraising arena.
In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.
Martin Luther King was fighting for working folks when he was assassinated. We’ve already said that no Republicans showed up to commemorate the March on Washington. Where were they?
So what was did they do instead? Well, Boehner was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and had no public events scheduled, but he has been headlining GOP fundraisers all this month, so it’s a fairly safe to assume that he was raising cash at the time. Cantor, meanwhile was touring an oil field in North Dakota. The Grand Forks Herald reports:
Cantor, hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met with energy industry and community leaders at a crew camp in Williston, toured a drilling site and other oilfield locations in the Bakken and met with North Dakota Petroleum Council members in Watford City.
Cantor praised North Dakota’s approach to energy development and said the country needs to follow the state’s example and adopt a national energy policy.
“I hope to be able to tell the president that there’s a lot for him to learn here as far as energy production here in America,” Cantor said. “North Dakota seems to have gotten it right.”
The North Dakota Petroleum Council, by the way, is a lobby group that represents the state’s oil and gas industry. That’s what Cantor was doing on the day of the march.
Here’s a little bit of News on New Orleans 8 years after Katrina.
Now optimism is rising as a rebounding city approaches the 300th anniversary of its 1718 founding.
“The city is a much better place than it was eight years ago. The biggest challenge we have is blight,” Landrieu said, adding that 10,000 blighted properties have been removed from the cityscape.
A thriving downtown and newly vibrant neighborhoods contrast starkly with the city’s appearance eight years ago. When Katrina hit, thousands of people who couldn’t escape New Orleans in time were trapped in homes as levees broke and floodwaters rose. Helicopters plucked the desperate from rooftops as chaos spread. The damaged Superdome became a refuge of misery for thousands as tempatures and tempers soared.
Days afterward then-President George W. Bush promised the nation’s full attention. But federal authorities were sharply criticized for their early response and local and state authorities as well. And though billions of federal dollars have helped to rebuild a strengthened levee system, many locals remain bitter with the Army Corps of Engineers for the failure of the levees.
Landrieu said he’s intent on moving forward.
“I think that we have successfully done the most important thing, which was to think about building the city back the way she should have always been and not the way she was,” he said.
Landrieu said rebuilding has even meant re-organizing government operations, streamlining finances, curbing waste and fraud and reorganizing the city’s education system – even adding new fire and police stations, parks and libraries.
The weird thing about the blight is that it’s in areas that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have ramshackled buildings and over grown lots. Every time I go from my home near the Mississippi River towards the Lake I see blight on the way. It pops up in the newer suburban areas as well as older neighborhoods. There are still a lot of eye sores and it appears it’s going to take a long time for many of them to be torn down or restored. Thankfully, the historic parts of the city appear to be well on the mend. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is so gone in many areas that the blight will remain for some time.
That’s my offering today! What’s on your reading and blogging list?
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Posted: September 24, 2012 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, U.S. Politics | Tags: abortion, auto bailout, bullying, delusional projection, denial, draft deferments, fact checkers, fantasy, fund-raising, lying, Neil Newhouse, overwhelmed, personhood amendments, Rob Portman, Vietnam War |
Mitt Romney with Rob Portman, speaking to reporters on flight to Denver, 9/23/12. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Yesterday, on the way from Los Angeles to Denver aboard his private campaign plane, Mitt Romney commiserated with reporters about the way his presidential run is going.
Recently fellow Republicans have been critical of him for spending so much time fund-raising when he should be campaigning in swing states. Yesterday, Romney explained to reporters on his campaign plane why he has had to spend so much time raising money–it’s all President Obama’s fault. According to NBC News, Romney
addressed his languid public campaign schedule of late, which has focused largely on fundraising and debate prep, by again blaming the president for disregarding federal campaign matching funds in 2008 and again this presidential cycle, forcing him to do the same.
“He’s doing it again this time, so to be competitive it means a lot more fundraising than I think I would like,” Romney said. “I’d far rather be spending my time out in the key swing states campaigning, door-to-door if necessary, but in rallies and various meetings, but fundraising is a part of politics when you’re opponent decides not to live by the federal spending limits.”
See, if poor Mitt had had his druthers, he’d have taken federal matching funds instead of raising unlimited campaign money from millionaires and billionaires. But that mean old Barack Obama forced him to turn to mega-rich donors. It wasn’t what Mitt really wanted.
Frankly, I think Romney must be so anxious about the situation he’s in that he is getting slightly delusional. He’s clearly in deep denial about his standing against Obama in the polls. He told Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes that his campaign “doesn’t need a turnaround” because “We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent President to the United States.”
Really? When you’re behind by about 3 points nationally and trailing in every swing state, I don’t call that tied.
Back to the pity party. Romney told reporters that
“I don’t pay a lot of attention to the day-to-day polls. They change a great deal,” Romney said. “I know in the coming six weeks they’re very unlikely to remain where they are today. I’ll either go up or I’ll go down. It’s unlikely that we’ll just stay the same.”
But when he was asked why he’s behind in swing states, Romney again blamed President Obama. The New York Times Caucus Blog has details on Romney’s complaints about the Obama campaign’s ads:
“I think that the president’s campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions,” he said. “They’ve been very aggressive in their attacks both on a personal basis and on a policy basis. I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate and we’ll be able to have a choice which is based upon each other’s accurate views for the future of country” ….
“When he says I was in favor of liquidating the automobile industry, nothing could be further from the truth,” Mr. Romney said. “My plan was to rebuild the auto industry and take it through bankruptcy so that could happen, and by the way he doesn’t mention he took them through bankruptcy.”
Mr. Romney did oppose the auto industry bailout, instead lobbying for a process of “managed bankruptcy,” which he said would have allowed the car companies to restructure and emerge stronger than before. Though Mr. Obama did ultimately take General Motors and Chrysler through managed bankruptcies, the president argues that the process would not have been possible without his decision to inject the companies with billions in taxpayer money — an intervention Mr. Romney opposed.
Romney also expressed dismay that the Obama campaign has claimed that he is against abortion “even in cases of rape and incest and the life of the mother….That’s wrong.” It’s true that Romney has said he believes that rape and incest victims and mothers whose physical health is threatened should be excepted from abortion bans; but at the same time he chose Paul Ryan–who doesn’t support any exceptions–as his running mate and before that he told Mike Huckabee that he supports state constitutional amendments to establish “personhood” for fertilized eggs. So why should voters trust him?
On his tax plan, according to The National Journal, Romney
accused his rival of inaccurately saying he favors lowering taxes on the wealthy while raising them on middle-income people. He was apparently referring to Democrats’ use of a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that found Romney’s tax plan would require households with incomes under $200,000 to pay higher taxes, on average, to help finance tax cuts for the rich. Romney has dismissed the study’s assumptions as “garbage.”
Back to the Caucus Blog:
Standing in the back of his plane, and pressed by reporters to explain his lagging position in many polls, Mr. Romney — whose campaign recently said that they would not allow fact-checkers to dictate their campaign — found himself calling for fact-checkers.
“I understand that politics is politics but in the past, when you’ve had an ad which has been roundly pointed out to be wrong, you take it out and you correct it and you put something back on,” Mr. Romney said.
“He keeps running these things even though he knows they’re wrong and saying them in rallies even though he knows they’re wrong.”
Talk about projection. I’d even call it delusional projection. This is from the guy whose top pollster Neil Newhouse famously said “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” In fact, (via Americablog) a recent study by
the self-proclaimed non-partisan “Center for Media and Public Affairs” – which has been accused of conservative ties in the past – finds that media fact-checkers found Mitt Romney and the GOP lied twice as much as Democrats. It’s some coincidence that the study came out just a few weeks after the Republican party collectively decided that it’s time to start tearing down fact-checkers.
Note that (see above) in the midst of his many complaints, Romney even indulged in the somewhat delusional fantasy that voters would somehow suddenly wake up and recognize President Obama’s despicable treachery:
I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate and we’ll be able to have a choice which is based upon each other’s accurate views for the future of country.
It’s difficult to see how that could happen as long as Romney himself keeps repeating lies about President Obama and shifting his own positions at the drop of a hat. But Romney apparently believes the voters’ epiphany will come during the debates, when he will magically be able to express himself clearly at last. From The National Journal:
“I think the president will not be able to continue to mischaracterize my pathway, and so I’ll continue to describe mine, he will describe his, and people will make a choice,” he said. “That’s the great thing about democracy. I’m not going to try to fool people into thinking he believes things he doesn’t. He’s trying to fool people into thinking that I think things that I don’t. And that ends at the debates.”
But he said that he couldn’t guarantee a debate win. “I can’t tell you winning and losing,” he said. “I mean, he’s president of the United States, he’s a very effective speaker. I hope I’ll be able to describe my positions in a way that is accurate and the people will make a choice as to which path they want to choose. I happen to believe that if we each do our job relatively well, I will be able to convince people that our pathway forward will be more prosperous and more secure and more confident if we choose the path I describe.”
I really think Mitt Romney is so anxious and stressed that he’s losing it–he seems completely unaware of how his own behavior looks to others. He has begun deluding himself in order to hide his failures from himself. I don’t think he has ever faced such a difficult challenge in his life until now. He has always been the guy on top–the one who could get away with anything.
In high school, Romney could pin down a classmate and cut his hair without being charged with assault; he could lead an elderly professor into a glass door an not be disciplined, he could make fun of a classmate’s speech patterns and get away with it. He could even pose as a highway patrolman and stop a car on the highway as a “prank” with no repercussions whatsoever. As a young man, his father helped him obtain four draft deferrals so he could be protected from being sent to Vietnam like so many others his age. As an adult, he was a CEO whose every order must be obeyed and whose whims were catered to.
Finally at age 65, Romney is facing a real test of character, and I don’t think he’s up to it. He’s self-destructing in a very public way. It will be very interesting to watch his behavior in the debates and his other appearances during the last few weeks of the campaign.
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Posted: September 20, 2012 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, U.S. Politics | Tags: campaign advertising, campaign finances, fund-raising, media buys |
I mentioned this in the morning post, but I may not have emphasized it enough. On Tuesday, there was a report that the Romney campaign is $11 million in debt. The campaign had borrowed $20 million before the Convention to tide them over until they could begin spending funds from the general election coffers. The campaign is choosing to hold onto the cash for now and try to pay it back with new fund-raising.
There have been many reports over the summer that Romney was taking in huge amounts of money, but last night The New York Times posted an article explaining why Romney has been spending more time fund-raising than on the stump in swing states and why his campaign hasn’t been running that many ads in the media. The fact is, that Romney’s campaign Isn’t really rolling in as much money as he’s been leading us to believe.
Despite what appears to be a plump bank account and an in-house production studio that cranks out multiple commercials a day, Mr. Romney’s campaign has been tightfisted with its advertising budget, leaving him at a disadvantage in several crucial states as President Obama blankets them with ads.
One major reason appears to be that Mr. Romney’s campaign finances have been significantly less robust than recent headlines would suggest. Much of the more than $300 million the campaign reported raising this summer is earmarked for the Republican National Committee, state Republican organizations and Congressional races, limiting the money Mr. Romney’s own campaign has to spend.
For each the past three months, the Romney campaign has been claiming contributions of more than $100,000, but it turns out not all of that money went into the campaign account.
Yet at the same time Romney aides worked hard to project the image of a fund-raising machine far outpacing the president’s.
Romney aides released informal dollar figures that lumped several pools of money — some available for his use, others not — into a single figure, providing a perception greater than reality: $106 million in June and $101 million in July, far more than Mr. Obama and the Democrats.
Yet those figures obscured the fact that most of the money Mr. Romney was raising was reserved for those other political entities like the Republican National Committee.
Only $22 million of the huge RNC windfall can be spent in combination with Romney’s presidential campaign. On the other hand, President Obama has more cash on hand.
A closer look at Mr. Romney’s own filings revealed that Mr. Obama, while trailing in overall party fund-raising, was pulling far more money than Mr. Romney into his campaign account, the most useful and flexible dollars a candidate has to spend, in part because of strong collection from small donors who could give again and again without hitting federal limits.
One reason for this is that this year Obama is getting most of his contributions from smaller donors, while Romney has fewer and wealthier donors, many of whom may have already maxed out. They can give unlimited amounts to superpacs, but with all the problems Romney has been having over the past three weeks, you have to wonder if the big guys will want to keep throwing away millions on a losing cause.
To show how the effect the lack of funds is having on Romney’s campaign, the Times compared his and Obama spending on ads in a number of states:
According to a review of spending figures provided by a group that tracks political advertising, from Sept. 10 through Sept. 24, Mr. Romney and his allies reserved $3.7 million in advertising time in Ohio. That compared with $5.2 million for Mr. Obama and his allies.
In Colorado, Mr. Romney is being outspent $2.2 million to $1.5 million during that same period. In New Hampshire, Mr. Obama is spending $1.2 million, compared with $380,000 to benefit Mr. Romney. The vast majority of that is coming not from the Romney campaign but from American Crossroads, the conservative super PAC.
The Times also notes that the Obama campaign has reserved $40 million worth of ad time through November 6, while the Romney campaign has been purchasing ad time day to day–a week ahead at most.
Now I admit that I’m a mathphobe, and I haven’t seen this discussed much around the blogosphere today, so maybe I’m totally nuts. But to me it looks like Romney is worried about money.
The campaigns have to report their spending for the past quarter tonight, and Romney released his report a short time ago. From Politico:
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign spent more than $66 million in August, ending the month with $50 million in the bank, new federal disclosure reports show….
The campaign took in nearly $67 million in August, doubling the $33 million the campaign in July.
That total doesn’t include a $20 million secured loan the campaign took out in August….
The Romney campaign’s August figures do not include money raised by the Republican National Committee, which operates a joint fundraising operation with the Romney campaign.
Right now Romney has $50 million in his campaign account. It looks to me like he’s going to be dependent on outside groups to fund his advertising. I also heard today that Karl Rove’s Crossroads superpac is not going to have a stunning report–their donations were down in August.
No wonder Romney has been going to so many fund-raisers instead of campaigning. It doesn’t seem smart to me. Doesn’t he have other people who could collect donations for him? Maybe not. And who knows how much longer the big money guys will stick with him? Will he have to start writing his own checks for the campaign?
As I said, I’m terrible at math. Let me know if you think I’m right or wrong about this.
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