How is Donald Trump spending his campaign money? He raised about $80 million in July, but he isn’t running any TV ads and doesn’t seem to be spending much for on-the-ground organizing. At HuffPo, Bob Burnett calculates based on Open Secrets data that Trump has spent about $63 million of his cash on had in July. Where did those millions go? Burnett suggests three possibilities:
- Trump could be planning to “flood the airwaves” with ads just before the election.
- Trump may have used the money to repay a load he made to his campaign early on. He has claimed that he forgave the loan, but everyone knows Trump is a pathological liar.
- Perhaps the $63 million was transferred to the RNC to pay for GOTV operations. I’d say that’s pretty doubtful.
I’d suggest another possibility–that Trump has simply used the money to pay himself for flights on his private planes and helicopter and to rent space for rallies in his personal properties. Election law requires campaign to pay market rates for these services; but in Trump’s case, the law allows him to make a personal profit by campaigning for office. I guess we’ll find out what’s going on when the July FEC report comes out.
Quite a few observers are also wondering why Trump is campaigning in traditionally blue states like Maine and Connecticut while he’s falling far behind in the polls in battleground states and even red states like North Carolina.
The last time Connecticut voted for a Republican presidential candidate, Americans were listening to music on cassette tapes and most cell phones were the size of shoe boxes.
Yet Donald Trump’s campaign spokesman insists they believe he has a chance to turn Connecticut red for the first time since 1988, and that’s why he is holding weekend rally there on Saturday.Veteran Republicans, however, see Trump’s Fairfield, Connecticut, campaign stop [is] a fool’s errand — a prime example of what many worry is a political operation that takes Trump’s proclivity for defying convention a step too far.And, it isn’t just Connecticut that has Republicans scratching their heads. Trump traveled to Maine last week, a state that has also been blue since 1992….Concerned Republicans say their worries go beyond the campaign’s decision to send its greatest resource — the candidate himself — to chase one or two electoral votes in Maine, or to what they believe are unwinnable states like Connecticut. The other phenomenon perplexing veteran operatives is that the Trump campaign now has the needed money to finance television ads and ground operations — they just don’t appear to be spending it.
According to the article, Republicans are worried that even if Trump eventually begins running ads, it will be too late. They note that Obama’s early negative ads against Romney were successful in defining him, and now Trump is making the same mistake. In addition, Trump’s ground game is basically non-existent. From the CNN article:
No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. Yet the Cincinnati Enquirer reported this week that Trump doesn’t even have an office in Hamilton County, the most crucial Republican county in the most crucial GOP state.“The campaign has yet to find or appoint key local leaders or open a campaign office in the county and isn’t yet sure which Hamilton County Republican party’s central committee members are allied with the Republican presidential nominee,” reported the Enquirer.In other key states like Florida, where Trump, along with the RNC, does have staff, they are outnumbered by Democrats. The RNC says it has over 70 paid staffers and plans at least 20 offices statewide. Democrats already have 200 staffers and say they’re aiming for 100 offices in Florida.
Here’s Philip Bump at the WaPo: Cincinnati is the perfect demonstration of Donald Trump’s nonexistent campaign.
On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a story that described the efforts of the Trump campaign in the critical county. Hamilton has declined as a percentage of the state’s population since 1990, but it is still home to 7 percent of Ohioans. So what’s Donald Trump doing there?
With the presidential election 90 days away, the Donald Trump campaign is scrambling to set up the basics of a campaign in Hamilton County, a key county in a swing state crucial to a Republican victory, a recent internal email obtained by The Enquirer shows.
The campaign has yet to find or appoint key local leaders or open a campaign office in the county and isn’t yet sure which Hamilton County Republican party’s central committee members are allied with the Republican presidential nominee. … Even campaign materials, such as signs and stickers, aren’t yet available.
What’s more, Trump hasn’t yet run a single general election ad in Hamilton County — or anywhere.
Last week, the Enquirer reported that Trump supporters, frustrated by the lack of infrastructure in their area, set up their own Trump headquarters in a small house. The campaign tried to spin this as a positive — such enthusiasm! — but it clearly isn’t.
Is it possible that the Trump campaign is nothing but a massive grifting operation to help Trump make money and perhaps to help him get another reality show?
Yesterday Trump claimed that if he doesn’t win Pennsylvania, where he trails by 11 points in the latest poll, it will be because Hillary Clinton somehow cheated. Again from Philip Bump: Trump says he will only lose Pennsylvania if there’s widespread voter fraud. That’s very wrong.
CBS’s Sopan Deb transcribed Trump’s comments.
We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times. … The only way we can lose, in my opinion — and I really mean this, Pennsylvania — is if cheating goes on. I really believe it. Because I looked at Erie and it was the same thing as this. …
[L]et me just tell you, I looked over Pennsylvania. And I’m studying it. And we have some great people here. Some great leaders here of the Republican Party, and they’re very concerned about that. And that’s the way we can lose the state. And we have to call up law enforcement. And we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching. Because if we get cheated out of this election, if we get cheated out of a win in Pennsylvania, which is such a vital state, especially when I know what’s happening here, folks. I know. She can’t beat what’s happening here.
The only way they can beat it in my opinion — and I mean this 100 percent — if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK? So I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th, go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100 percent fine, because without voter identification — which is shocking, shocking that you don’t have it.
There is almost no actual in-person voter fraud. In a survey of 1 billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014, 241 possible — possible! — fraudulent ballots were found. Several of those ballots were cast in elections in Pennsylvania where a man named “Joseph Cheeseboro” and another named “Joseph J. Cheeseborough” each cast a ballot. That’s all that was uncovered in Pennsylvania.
The “certain sections of the state” to which Trump is referring is almost certainly are a reference to a long-standing conspiracy theory involving the results in Philadelphia in 2012, where, in some places Mitt Romney got zero votes. Trump ally Sean Hannity raised it during a dispute with CNN’s Brian Stelter.
It’s all about racism, folks; but no one in the public sphere seems to want to admit it. Check this out at the WaPo: A massive new study debunks a widespread theory for Donald Trump’s success.
Economic distress and anxiety across working-class white America have become a widely discussed explanation for the success of Donald Trump. It seems to make sense. Trump’s most fervent supporters tend to be white men without college degrees. This same group has suffered economically in our increasingly globalized world, as machines have replaced workers in factories and labor has shifted overseas. Trump has promised to curtail trade and other perceived threats to American workers, including immigrants.
Yet a major new analysis from Gallup, based on 87,000 interviews the polling company conducted over the past year, suggests this narrative is not complete. While there does seem to be a relationship between economic anxiety and Trump’s appeal, the straightforward connection that many observers have assumed does not appear in the data.
According to this new analysis, those who view Trump favorably have not been disproportionately affected by foreign trade or immigration, compared with people with unfavorable views of the Republican presidential nominee. The results suggest that his supporters, on average, do not have lower incomes than other Americans, nor are they more likely to be unemployed.
Please go read the entire article, and you’ll find that in this “massive study” Gallup did not even consider racism as an explanation for Trump support!
While Trump is swift-boating himself and the media is busily covering his self-destruction, Hillary Clinton is quietly going about her business–campaigning in swing states, advertising during the Olympics, and building her GOTV operation–as the media tries desperately to fan the flames of some “scandal” or other in hopes of bringing her down.
The obsession with Hillary’s emails is going nowhere except with media Hillary haters and right wing nuts. ABC News reports: Emails Do Not Show Improper Influence From Clinton Foundation, State Department Says.
The State Department said today that there was nothing inappropriate in the communications that Hillary Clinton‘s staff had with the Clinton Foundation when she was secretary of state, recently exposed in new emails released by the conservative group Judicial Watch,
“The State Department is not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation,” State Department Spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said during today’s daily press briefing.
That comment comes after the release of two new emails sent by Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band, raising concerns about the relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton family’s philanthropic organization, the Clinton Foundation. In one email, Band requested a meeting between a wealthy donor and an ambassador, and in another he asked Clinton’s aides to find a job for an associated, whose name was redacted from the email.
Donald Trump has described the emails as “pay for play,” without producing any evidence of an exchange of money or political favors.
“The Department does not believe it was inappropriate for Mr. Band or any other individual to recommend someone be considered for employment at the State Department,” Trudeau said today. “We also do not believe it’s inappropriate for someone recommended in this manner to be potentially hired insofar as they meet the necessary qualifications for the job.”
The Clinton campaign said on Wednesday that this person was not a donor nor a Clinton Foundation employee, but refused to release his or her identity. Trudeau added that even if this person had been a Foundation employee or a donor, it would not have precluded the individual from being hired at the State Department.
The media will surely try to “trump”-up this story from CNN: Bill Clinton talks email controversy: ‘Biggest load of bull.’
The questioner identified himself as a Democrat who loved Clinton as president and is supporting his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election. But, he wanted to know: Why should Americans trust the Democratic nominee when she lied about her emails?“Wait a minute,” Bill Clinton said. “It’s not true.”And so began the ex-president’s unexpected fiery defense of one of the biggest controversies dogging Hillary Clinton’s White House bid.“First of all, the FBI director said when he testified before Congress, he had to amend his previous day’s statement that she had never received any emails that are classified. They saw two little notes with a ‘C’ on it,” Clinton said. “This is the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard.”Clinton went on to say that while the classification system of sensitive emails was “too complicated to explain to people,” what is clear is that Clinton and her colleagues were never being careless with national security.
“Do you really believe there are 300 career diplomats because that’s how many people were on these emails, all of whom were careless with national security? Do you believe that?” he said. “Forget about Hillary, forget about her. Is that conceivable?”Clinton pointed to the number of prominent Republican leaders — particularly those in the national security arena — who have endorsed Clinton in recent weeks, as a sign that she is the only person fit to run the country.“There are people who spent their lifetimes advancing national security who believe she’s the only person that you can trust,” Clinton said.
I say good for Bill and good luck to the media in trying to make this a “scandal” over the weekend.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a great Saturday!
I am so sick of the ads, the lies, and the voter suppression…voter disenfranchisement, and voter intimidation. We are well on our way to Fascism, and no one can tell me any different! Mutthafukkin’ GOP.
I have plenty of links for you tonight, so I will make them quick.
First I have a few updates on stories we have mentioned earlier today.
Voter intimidation is real: Pennsylvania GOP accused of planning voter intimidation
The Philadelphia City Paper reported today that The Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh United, along with other organizations, undersigned a letter asking the Justice Department to ensure voters in targeted locations are able to cast their ballots fairly.
“We have received information that strongly suggests the Republican Party, under the guise of combating alleged voter fraud, has assigned Election Day poll watchers disproportionately to majority African-American precincts in Allegheny County,” the organizations write.
According to the letter, the targeted precincts have over 79 percent of African-American registered voters, compared to non-targeted areas with less than 11 percent.
“The Pennsylvania Republican Party has serious questions to answer about where they are putting their poll watchers and why,” Nicole Berner, Associate General of Service Employees International Union, said in a statement.
A bit of info on that claim that Romney has paid no taxes for years is making news at Addicting Info: Dutch Source Confirms – Romney Paid ZERO Taxes
New documents released by the newspaper Volkskrant from the Netherlands yesterday detail how Mitt Romney took advantage, through his former firm, of a 9-figure tax loophole. When he retired in 1999, his golden parachute enabled him to operate as a company manager and executive, for purposes of investment, for 10 years. And so began Romney’s direct use of the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich” tax avoidance scheme…
Copies of the Bain docs at the link.
There are lots of state amendments that Dakinikat mentioned this morning, here are some thoughts via The Volokh Conspiracy » Some Key Referenda to Watch
As we get ready for a very important election day tomorrow, there are stories out of California that may get ignored in the shuffle: California Agency Releases Evidence of Money Laundering in Right-Wing Campaign Spending on Ballot Measures
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission forced a mysterious $11 million donor to two ballot measures to reveal its secret funding sources today, and the result showed how most of these independent expenditure groups work, mostly through money laundering:
Ending a mystery that captivated the run-up to Election Day, the Arizona group behind an anonymous $11 million donation revealed under court order today that the shadowy donation was laundered through two groups, including one tied to David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who have played a huge role in spreading anonymous political cash around the country.
The donation, the largest anonymous contribution to a ballot measure campaign in California history, was made to the Small Business Action Committee, a conservative group running a campaign for Proposition 32, the measure that would curb labor’s ability to collect political cash, and against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative.
“This isn’t going to stop here,” said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s political watchdog. “They admitted to money laundering. We agreed to do this without an audit because we wanted to get information to the public before the election. But we in no way agreed this would preclude further action.”
Ravel said Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership conceded it was the intermediary and not the true source of the contribution. The true source was Americans for Job Security and was made through a second intermediary, the Center to Protect Patient Rights, she said.
Americans for Job Security was both active in the 2010 election cycle. They are a corporate front group which received initial funding from the insurance industry. And the Center to Protect Patient Rights is run by a Koch Brothers operative, Sean Noble, who admitted the money laundering to the FPPC. This is a misdemeanor under California law, but conspiracy to commit money laundering is a felony.
Earlier today Kurt Eichenwald tweeted this:
Sigh. The political $ laundered through an Arizona group, through another, through another using "charitable" orgs is linked to Koch bros.—
Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) November 05, 2012
To which I responded:
When are you going to give those Koch Bros the @Kurteinchenwald treatment? Write a book and bring em down.
He actually replied back to me…unfortunately…he said:
Not really my kind of thing. My books are narratives. That wouldnt be.
Damn. I know he uses public records and sources after the fact, but the Koch Bros need to be taken down.
The rest of the links tonight are in link dump fashion…
Take a look at this tumblr, it is like a postcard from NOLA to New York
And lastly, this video from Chris Rock, its been mentioned on Sky D before, but I had to end this post with some kind of laughter.
Good Late Night!
I don’t know about y’all, but Wednesday just can’t come fast enough. I am so sick of this election and hope that once it is all over, I will never have to see Mitt’s face (and that smirk) ever again.
Anyway, its cartoon time!
This is an open thread of course, what y’all doing tonight?
Nate Silver continues to be the best source of poll analysis during this endless presidential campaign season. The Romney path to electoral victory is still pretty nonexistent even if he did give them the old razzle dazzle in Denver last week. I guess the Romney Lie Fest got less of a bump than the usual challenger victory in the first debate.
A 3-point gain for Mr. Romney would be consistent with what candidates received following some of the stronger debate performances in the past. It would also make the national race very close. The FiveThirtyEight “now-cast” had Mr. Obama ahead by an average of about 4.5 percentage points between the conventions and the debate. (This is higher than the average result from the national tracking polls alone, which have been a pinch less favorable to Mr. Obama on balance than the broader consensus of surveys.) A 3-point gain for Mr. Romney would imply that Mr. Obama’s advantage is now only 1 or 2 points, putting Mr. Romney well within striking distance depending on how well the rest of the campaign goes for him and how accurate the polls turn out to be.
However, the fact that Mr. Romney did not make further gains in the polls on Sunday can be read as mildly disappointing for him. The way tracking polls work is to replace the oldest day of interviews with fresh interviews conducted the previous day. In the Sunday release of the polls, this meant that interviews from Saturday were replacing a day of interviewing from before the debate. The fact that the Saturday interviews that entered the polls were roughly as strong for Mr. Obama as the predebate day of interviews that they displaced is an encouraging sign for Mr. Obama — at least as compared with most of the polling news that he has received since the debate.
There’s an interesting article on voter fraud in Washington Monthly. Interestingly enough, the focus is on mail-in ballots which weren’t a focus in any of the voter restriction laws that were passed this year primarily because they frequently favor republicans. There’s actual research now that shows that voter ID laws are likely to increase fraud.
What do forged absentee ballots and vote-buying have in common? They occur more often than in-person impersonation (which is virtually non-existent) and are unaffected by voter ID laws. What’s more, states like Florida and Texas, which recently enacted legislation making it harder to vote in most respects (laws currently being challenged by the courts and the DOJ) feature no-excuse absentee voting, making it easier to commit fraud that way. As Liptak explains, that’s probably no coincidence: “Republicans are in fact more likely than Democrats to vote absentee. In the 2008 general election in Florida, 47 percent of absentee voters were Republicans and 36 percent were Democrats.” (Liptak adds: “Voters in nursing homes can be subjected to subtle pressure, outright intimidation or fraud.”)
The moral of Liptak and Fahrenthold’s stories is this: people just aren’t willing to commit a felony to vote in someone’s place—the only kind of fraud ID laws target. Rather, politicians themselves usually commit the fraud, by forging absentee ballots or paying people to vote for them. In addition, when states enact restrictive voter ID laws, it only encourages them to vote by mail, where errors and corruption is more rife.
I haven’t had any references to good graphs recently so I thought I’d link you to this Chart Book that shows you how serious the Great Recession actually was from CBPP. It also shows how much worse the economy would have been without stimulus. Can you image how much better we could be by now if the Republicans hadn’t gotten in and blocked more efforts to improve the economy?
The Recovery Act was designed to boost the demand for goods and services above what it otherwise would be in order to preserve jobs in the recession and create them in the recovery. The Congressional Budget Office finds that GDP has been higher each year since 2009 than it would have been without the Recovery Act (with the largest impact in 2010 when GDP was between 0.7 and 4.1 percent higher than it otherwise would have been). The economy is still benefiting from the Recovery Act in 2012, although as expected that effect is diminishing as the economy grows; CBO estimates that GDP in the third quarter of 2012 will be between 0.1 and 0.7 percent larger than it would have been without the Recovery Act.
Again, congress appeared absolutely unconcerned about this devastating economic event. WAPO indicates there’s a good reason. Most of them actually got richer or were immune from its impact.
The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights. But more than 20 percent of the members of the curren tCongress — 121 lawmakers — appeared to be worse off in 2010 than they had been six years earlier, and 24 saw their reported wealth slide into negative territory.
Those findings emerge from an ongoing examination of congressional finances by The Washington Post, which analyzed thousands of financial disclosure forms and public records for all members of Congress.
Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.
Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez won re-election in on Sunday, quashing the opposition’s best bet at unseating him in 14 years and cementing himself as a dominant figure in modern Latin American history.
The 58-year-old Chavez took 54.42 percent of the vote, with 90 percent of the ballots counted, to 44.97 percent for young opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, official results showed.
Chavez’s victory would extend his rule of the OPEC member state to two decades, though he is recovering from cancer and the possibility of a recurrence hangs over his political future.
Jubilant supporters poured onto the streets of Caracas to celebrate the victory of a man who has near-Messianic status among Venezuela’s poor, and there was relief too among leftist allies around the region – from Cubato Bolivia – who rely on his oil-financed generosity.
“I’m celebrating with a big heart,” said Mary Reina, a 62-year-old Chavez supporter who lives in the hillside slum where the president cast his vote. “Chavez is the hope of the people and of Latin America.”
So, it looks like US conservatives have one more bogey man still standing. Meanwhile, Citizens United has opened up a whole new dimension in corporate donations to candidates. Is this really legal?
A million-dollar donation by a foreign-owned corporation to a Republican super-PAC has raised legal concerns and opened up the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision to new criticism.
Restore Our Future, the super-PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s run for president, received a $1 million donation in mid-August from reinsurance company OdysseyRe of Connecticut, a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of Canadian insurance and investment management giant Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.
Fairfax Financial’s founder is Indian-born V. Prem Watsa. Watsa serves as CEO and chairman and owns or controls 45 percent of the company’s shares. He is also the chairman of the board of OdysseyRe, the American subsidiary.
The law says that any foreign national is prohibited from “directly or indirectly” contributing money to influence US elections. That means no campaign donations, no donations to super-PACs, and no funding of political advertisements.
But campaign finance law is not as clear for US subsidiaries of foreign companies as it is for individuals.
Most of the regulations on political spending by subsidiaries of foreign companies were written before corporations were legally allowed to fund political advertisements or donate to super-PACs. And Republican members of the Federal Election Commission have thwarted the implementation of new rules regarding the practice.
With that, I will turn it over to you. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
You want a good laugh? You know how all those Wall Street Banks keep giving bonuses to people that crashed the economy and forced tax payers to bail out their bad investment decisions? How about this one for size? Romney campaign gives bonuses to top staff. Ever notice how bonuses–which are usually said to be for merit pay–always look more like gifts from slush funds? Yup, he can’t afford media buys, but he can shower his incompetent staff with big money.
Mitt Romney’s campaign handed out $112,500 in bonuses to four of its top staffers, according to new disclosure records filed Thursday.
Richard Beeson, Romney’s national political director, received a $37,500 payment on Aug. 31, in addition to his monthly salary of $13,750, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
In addition, campaign manager Matt Rhoades, policy advisor Lanhee Chen and communications director Gail Gitcho each received $25,000 payments on the same date, filings show. The trio are also paid at the same rate as Beeson, which works out to an annual equivalent of $165,000.
A Romney spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the payments Thursday.
The bonuses came the day after Romney formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Tampa. Despite strong fundraising since May, new records show that the campaign was struggling badly for money in August because it had run low on primary funds and was unable to tap into contributions collected for the general election until after the nomination. Instead, the campaign borrowed $20 million.
Records show that the campaign still owed $15 million of a $20 million loan from the Bank of Georgetown on Aug. 31. The campaign has since paid off another $4 million of the total by collecting new contributions for its primary account, officials have said.
Romney’s failure to match President Obama’s campaign in television advertising, along with worsening polling numbers and a series of missteps, have prompted grousing among political strategists about the Republican nominee’s campaign and senior staff. Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan called Romney’s operation “incompetent” in a widely read column earlier this week.
This is what’s called making sure your staff doesn’t abandon you even if they are really bad at their jobs. Just imagine what he’d do with the federal deficit!
The Princeton Election Consortium believes that Republicans are at risk of losing the House now. This is good news for those of us that are tired of seeing continual attacks on Planned Parenthood, abortion rights, voting rights,and healthcare reform instead of anything else.
Conditions through August showed a 2% lead on the generic Congressional ballot for Democrats. As of September 20th, in the wake of the Democratic convention, the lead has widened to 4.0 +/- 2.0%. Although it has yet to be appreciated by pundits, this could well translate to a November loss of the House of Representatives by Republicans. Based on the generic Congressional ballot, the probability of a Democratic takeover is 74% with a median 16-seat majority. Whichever party is in control, the seat margin is headed for being narrower than the current Congress. Like any probability in the 20-80% range, this is a knife-edge situation. This picture may change over the coming six weeks as more information, especially district-level polls, becomes available.
As seen in recent articles in Politico and U.S. News, few pundits think the Democrats will re-take the House. However, analysis of a leading indicator suggests to me that transfer of control is a distinct possibility.
Predicting the House outcome is challenging. First, there is the basic problem that we have to estimate how far opinion will move between now and November. On top of that, there is uncertainty in knowing how the polling measurement – generic Congressional ballot preference – translates to a seat outcome.
It’s been widely observed that Mitt Romney’s attacks on Obama over Medicare, welfare, dependency and “redistribution” are about driving up Romney’s share of working class white support. Romney — who may need two thirds of that vote to win — is arguing that Obama isn’t really looking out for their interests and wants to redistribute their hard-earned money and medical benefits to those other people.
So today’s report on white working class Americans from the Public Religion Research Institute is a must read. It defines them as ”non-Hispanic white Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs, and make up one third (36 percent of all Americans,” and it sheds light on what all this stuff is all about.
On “dependency,” the study finds that large numbers of working class whites (46 percent) have received Social Security or disability payments over the last two years; more than a fifth have received food stamps; 19% have received unemployment.
Yet the study also finds that three quarters of working class whites believe poor people have become too dependent on government assistance. There’s obviously overlap there, which bears out what some have already pointed out — many of these voters simply won’t think Romney’s comments about the freeloading 47 percent, or about government “dependency” in general, are about them.
But the findings on “redistribution” are also revealing. White working class voters want to soak the rich, and they agree with key aspects of Obama’s views about capitalism and inequality.
Comedian Sarah Silverman’s has a new video saying exactly what she thinks of the GOP effort to suppress Democratic votes with their new voter ID laws. Take a few minutes to watch it. Make it a viral hit.
And then make sure your voter registration is up to date. If you moved since you last voted, you need to update your address before your state’s registration deadline. In Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada, that’s two weeks away.
The gap between women’s and men’s pay remained about the same for the fourth straight year in 2011, as both genders got slammed by lower wages.
Women earned 77 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2011, the Census Bureau said this week as part of its extensive annual report on income and poverty.
The female-to-male earnings ratio for full-time workers has been little changed for four years, after hitting a record high of 78 percent in 2007.
Experts say the latest figures show that women aren’t making significant gains in terms of earning power – but men aren’t either.
“It’s not that gap is not closing,” said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, senior policy analyst with the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s that wages are sort of flattening.”
For men who work full-time and year-round, inflation-adjusted median earnings fell about 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, to $48,202, according to the Census Bureau. For women working full-time, the median, or midpoint, of annual earnings also fell by about 2.5 percent, to $37,118.
Dahlia Lithwick writes in October’s The Nation on “One Nation by and for the Corporation”.
But how does one measure the ways big business is faring at the Roberts Court, and whether it’s happening at the expense of ordinary citizens? We can start with a study in late June by the Constitutional Accountability Center showing that the US Chamber of Commerce, the powerhouse business lobbying group, had seven straight wins this past term at the Court—a vastly better record than it had during other recent periods of stability in the Court’s membership. When Lewis Powell wrote his famous 1971 memorandum urging the Chamber to press its agenda in the courts, in academia and in the media to give the business community a larger and more unified voice in the legal system and society at large, he could hardly have dreamed of the gains made by the Chamber and other pro-corporate entities in the decades since [see William Yeomans, “How the Right Packed the Court”].
Another measure of the Supreme Court’s favoritism for corporations over ordinary people lies in the ways it has eroded access to the courts for ordinary litigants in recent years. It’s worth recalling that the courts exist as the one branch of government intended to be immune from the kind of concentrated and wealthy influence contemplated by the Powell memo. The judicial branch was conceived as the one above-the-fray realm where ordinary people—those without lobbyists, Super PACS or position papers—might still find a fair hearing when they were wronged. But one of the central projects of the conservative legal movement in recent decades has been to recalibrate that balance, allowing big business to throw up roadblocks to the courthouse doors and make the courts less and less accessible to the people it has harmed.
Can we please put Rush Limbaugh in a straight jacket in some nice facility some where–like Gitmo–and off the air? Limbaugh: “Male Private Parts Are Shrinking” Because Of “Feminazis” And “Chickification”. You can go listen to it. I don’t even want to print it here.
You know how BP swears it cleaned things up down here? Well, it appears Isaac uncovered a heckuva lotta oil that’s still here.
Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker told the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority that officials would investigate as many as 88 segments of the coast requested by state officials in the aftermath of Isaac in areas that are not still part of the existing BP cleanup.
But Garret Graves, chairman of the authority, failed to gain assurances from Walker that the joint Coast Guard-BP response will expand its search for BP oil at locations other than those requested by the state or where the public has reported oil.
Walker said BP contractors have removed 44,000 pounds of tar mat uncovered on Elmer’s Island, and a large amount of tar balls at neighboring beaches. They haven’t completed a survey of known oiled areas in interior wetlands, however.
Graves said the state has found a combination of tar mats and liquid oil at Keelboat Pass in St. Bernard Parish, and at a variety of locations between there and Elmer’s Island on the west side of the river. He said BP should search all beach and wetland areas in between.
So, that’s an offering of things that I think are important to know. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?