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« Reply #120 on: Aug 09, 2012, 06:43 AM »

Romney spokesperson: His individual mandate could have saved woman’s life

By David Edwards
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 16:12 EDT

A spokesperson for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday shocked conservatives by suggesting that a woman whose husband was laid off from a Bain Capital-owned plant would have lived if she had been covered by a health care law similar to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

During an interview on Fox News, host Bill Hemmer asked Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul to respond to an ad released by the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action that linked former factory worker Joe Sopic’s job loss to his wife’s eventual death from cancer.

“When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant I lost my health care, and my family lost their health care,” Sopic says in the ad. “And a short time after that my wife became ill.”

“I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone,” he adds.

On Wednesday, Saul didn’t dispute the facts, but called the attack “disgusting.”

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate when anyone loses their job,” she explained. “This particular case was a plant that was closed years after Gov. Romney left the company.

Saul continued: “And to that point, you know, if people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”

Romney has spent much of the election season running away from his record of creating an individual health care insurance mandate in Massachusetts so it wasn’t surprising to see conservatives calling Saul’s remarks a misstep.

“OMG,” Redstate’s Erik Erickson tweeted. “This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.”

“Not sure if the Romney camp realizes what a huge opening they’ve just created for Ds on Obamacare,” the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein agreed.
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« Reply #121 on: Aug 09, 2012, 07:06 AM »

Catholic Sisters blast Romney’s ‘woeful ignorance’ about struggling families

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 18:25 EDT

The group of Catholic Sisters who gained international attention for their “Nuns on the Bus” tour have invited Mitt Romney to spend a day with them to learn about the needs of struggling families.

Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, described Romney’s latest ad regarding welfare as “terribly divisive and demeaning”

“Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” Campbell said in a statement. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”

The group of Catholic Sisters have previously protested against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R) over proposed budget cuts they said would hurt struggling families. The nuns are not the only Catholic group to have criticized Ryan’s budget. Referencing Matthew 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have claimed that cuts in Ryan’s budget plan are “unjustified and wrong.”

“Paul Ryan has claimed to be a faithful Catholic, and I have no reason to suspect that that isn’t accurate,” Sister Mary Ellen Lacy Daughter, a lobbyist for NETWORK, told Raw Story last month. “What we do know, and what the bishops agree with us on, is that the document, the budget that he wrote, is not a moral document. It is not a faithful budget. It is not consistent with the Catholic social teachings. He may claim one thing, but it is clearly in opposition to what we believe.”

The proposed budget is meant to prevent a 10 percent cut in defense spending and 8 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending from taking effect. The automatic cuts were part of the debt ceiling deal signed into law last year, and will take effect in 2013 unless Congress passes a budget that provides $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction measures.

Ryan’s plan would cut programs for low- and moderate-income people while allowing defense funding to remain well above the automatic 10 percent cut, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that Ryan’s proposed budget would give millionaires an additional $265,000 on top of the already-enacted Bush tax cuts while cutting funding for the food stamp program by $134 billion. An additional analysis found that 62 percent of Ryan’s proposed budget cuts come from programs for low-income Americans.
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« Reply #122 on: Aug 09, 2012, 08:13 AM »

From the American magazine Perspectives ...

Romney Throws Wife and Father under the Bus

By most accounts, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is a devoted father, dedicated family man and committed church leader. But as his record sadly shows, Romney's family values often take a back seat to his presidential ambitions. Just last week, he cast aside his father George Romney, the man whose rags-to-riches success story Mitt uses as a proxy for his own, all in the name of keeping his mysterious tax returns secret. His wife Ann Romney, the woman Mitt says "reports to me regularly" regarding what American women care about, has been hung out to dry over issues including Planned Parenthood, abortion and the family's personal finances. And as it turns out, Mitt's betrayals hardly end there.

In his interview with David Muir of ABC last week, Governor Romney trotted out a new defense of keeping his secret tax returns secret:

    "From time to time I've been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

Put another way, if you paid a penny more to Uncle Sam than you could've, you're not just a sucker; you should be disqualified from becoming President.

Just like Mitt's dad, George Romney.

Mitt's idol didn't merely establish a precedent by releasing 12 years of tax returns during his failed 1968 presidential campaign. As Paul Krugman recently reminded voters, the auto magnate and Michigan governor not only paid a lot to the U.S. Treasury, but probably much more than he needed to.

    Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes -- 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he "seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations."

(The contrasts between father and son hardly end there. As Rick Perlstein documented, George Romney didn't merely develop an innovative profit sharing plan for his employees at AMC and return bonuses if he thought them too high. He also believed that "rugged individualism" is "nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.")

But if Mitt Romney has turned his back on the legacy of his late father, he has similarly shown no compunction about tossing his wife Ann overboard when political circumstances dictated.

Circumstances like those in 2002, when Romney was trying to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Its constitution requires gubernatorial candidates to have been Massachusetts residents for seven consecutive years. Unfortunately, Mitt had not just been running the Salt Lake City Olympics the past the past three years, but also paid discounted property taxes to Utah while claiming his $3.8 million Park City area mansion was his "primary residence." As the Deseret News reported on April 11, 2000, "Romney has declared his Deer Valley home his primary residence for tax purposes." And while Romney pointed the finger at his accountants at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for his failure to file as a Massachusetts resident in 1999 and 2000, he also blamed his wife, Ann Romney:

    Romney said he didn't see the property tax bills for his $3.8 million home in Park City Utah because the home was in his wife Ann's name and she paid the tax bills.

(After paying amended taxes in Massachusetts and sending Utah a check for $54,000 for the discount he shouldn't have received, Romney survived a Democratic challenge before the state Ballot Law Commission. But with his week's revelations regarding his efforts to cut the property tax bill on his $12.4 million La Jolla, California beach front home, Mitt's status as a registered voter in Belmont, Massachusetts may once again be called into question.)

But that episode pales in comparison to Mitt's tortured history on reproductive rights for American women. For that, he used Ann Romney as a disposable human shield, which could be discarded as needed.

While Romney now claims he wants to "end" Planned Parenthood, he didn't always feel that way. As ABC News revealed in 2007, Romney during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy attended a Planned Parenthood event. During a time when he was trying to establish his pro-choice bona fides with liberal Massachusetts voters, Mitt's wife Ann wrote a check for $150 to the organization. When presidential candidate Romney said in 2007 that he had "no recollection" of the fundraiser, then president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Nichols Gamble seemed surprised:

    "I can understand that he might not remember the check -- it's surprising to me that he would not remember the event. His main motivation for being there was a political motivation."

Whatever Mitt Romney's motivation in 1994, in 2007 his run for the GOP presidential nomination required a different answer. As Romney explained in May 2007, what his wife did - the same woman who with her entire family converted to her husband's Mormon faith - did not reflect on him. As the New York Times reported:

    "Her positions are not terribly relevant for my campaign."

Ann Romney went along with the new script. In a January 2008 interview in Florida, Mrs. Romney brushed off a question about the contribution, protesting "that was 14 years ago and $100. Do you really think I'd remember?"

If not, she doubtless remembered testifying to her husband's position 10 years ago that he was "effectively pro-choice." As Romney's wife Ann explained during his 2002 race for governor, Massachusetts voters need not worry about moderate Mitt protecting the right to choose:

    ANN ROMNEY: I think women also recognize that they want someone who is going to manage the state well. I think they may be more nervous about him on social issues. They shouldn't be, because he's going to be just fine. But the perception is that he won't be. That's an incorrect perception.

    MITT ROMNEY: So when asked will I preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer: yes.

But Ann Romney wasn't the only family member Mitt deployed and later discarded in order to make his case as a reliable pro-choice leader for Massachusetts voters. As Salon's Justin Elliott documented in "The Abortion That Mitt Doesn't Talk About Anymore," it was his own family story which Romney claimed during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy informed his--and his mother's--pro-choice position. When Kennedy labeled him "Multiple Choice Mitt," during their debate, Romney responded with a tale of personal loss:

    "On the idea of 'multiple-choice,' I have to respond. I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that."

But waver he did. American voters who missed those Massachusetts campaigns wouldn't know of the existence of Ann Keenan, the sister of Romney's brother-in-law who died at the age of 21 in 1963 after a botched, illegal abortion. Of course, as this 2007 exchange with Tim Russert showed, Mitt Romney no longer wants you to know about her, either:

    RUSSERT: You talked about your family relative who died from an illegal abortion, and yet President Romney is saying is saying ban all abortion. And what would be the legal consequences to people who participated in that procedure?... So back to your relative.

    ROMNEY: Mm-hmm.

Romney went on to explain the consequences (loss of license and possible prison time for doctors, though not patients) of his new found anti-abortion views. But he never did get back to his relative.

That's because the tragic story of "dear, close family relative" Anne Keenan wouldn't have been very popular with conservative Republican primary voters. Like Mitt's father, mother and wife (and even their horse Rafalca), she became political road kill on Romney's road to the White House. And that public mistreatment of his loved ones says an awful lot about the character of the man. After all, if there's anything worse than being strapped to the roof of Mitt Romney's car, it's being thrown under the bus.
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« Reply #123 on: Aug 09, 2012, 08:15 AM »

August 09, 2012 06:00 AM

Actress Elizabeth Banks: Romney Won't Help Women With 'a Heavy Flow'

By David

In what may be a first for U.S. presidential campaign advertisements, actress Elizabeth Banks is warning that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would strip Planned Parenthood of funding and prevent some women from receiving treatment for conditions like migraines and "a heavy flow."

"Planned Parenthood was my health care provider when I didn't have insurance after I graduated from college," the "Hunger Games" star says in a video released on President Barack Obama's YouTube channel on Wednesday. "Yes, I got birth control, but it was for my massive migraine headaches and my heavy flow. Yeah, I'm on the record saying I have a heavy flow."

"The services that they provide -- what is it? Ninety-five percent of them don't involve anything controversial. So for that little 5 percent that Mitt Romney decides he doesn't agree with, he's going to take away cancer screenings?" Banks continues. "What is he doing? He's going to take away people's access to health care close by. We're talking about working-class ladies who need health care."

"President Obama has not compromised on women's rights and that's why President Obama needs to stay in office," she concludes.

Speaking to KDSK in March, Romney said that he would “get rid” of the family planning organization.

“The test is pretty simple: Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” the candidate explained. “And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

In February, Romney said it was even “wrong” for private organizations like like Susan G. Komen for the Cure to fund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings for poor women.

“Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution which is providing abortion, in my view, is wrong,” the former Massachusetts governor told conservative radio host Scott Hennen.

During a round-table discussion on ABC in June, Romney’s senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, insisted that social issues important to women, like contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.

“Mitt Romney is pro-life,” the senior adviser admitted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election

* banks1.jpg (14.37 KB, 460x380 - viewed 163 times.)
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« Reply #124 on: Aug 10, 2012, 06:18 AM »

Romney won’t release taxes because ‘I’m not a business’

By David Edwards
Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:23 EDT

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said he would not be releasing more than two years of tax returns because “I am not a business.”

Executive editor Josh Tyrangiel asked Romney why the American people shouldn’t be entitled to the same information from a presidential candidate that he would have required as the CEO of Bain Capital before investing in a company.

“If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?” Tyrangiel wondered.

“I’m not a business,” Romney insisted. “We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns.”

“This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance,” the former Massachusetts governor continued. “The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. ”

In recent days, Democrats have turned up the pressure on Romney to release more than two years of tax returns. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has gone so far as to claim that the candidate “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”

Speaking to ABC’s David Muir last month, Romney said that he wouldn’t be qualified to be president if he paid “more than are legally due.”

“I haven’t looked at the tax rate paid year by year,” Romney explained. “I know that I pay a very substantial amount of taxes and every year since the beginning of my career so far as I can recall.”
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« Reply #125 on: Aug 10, 2012, 06:20 AM »

Analysis: Most of Romney’s new Twitter followers are fake

By Rory Carroll, The Guardian
Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:55 EDT

Most of Mitt Romney‘s newest Twitter followers are fake, according to an investigation of bogus social media accounts.

A pay-for-follower service most likely drove the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent and dramatic spike in online followers, concluded Baccardua Labs, a digital security company.

The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for@mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

The report’s author, Jason Ding, said there was no way of identifying whether it was the work of the Romney campaign, a Romney supporter or an opponent out to discredit him.

“Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible.”

Authentication was not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites, he said, and anyone could buy followers for other Twitter users.

mitt romney twitterAs of Wednesday, Romney had nearly 800,000 followers.

Zac Moffat, the Romney campaign digital director, denied that his side was responsible. “The Romney campaign does not buy Twitter followers,” he told CNET. “We have reached out to Twitter to find out additional information regarding the rapid growth.”

By Wednesday afternoon @mittromney had more than 792,800 followers. He gained 116,922 in a single day, 21 July. Around a tenth have since been suspended by Twitter.

Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

The report defined dealers’ clients as “abusers”, with the average abuser boasting 48,885 followers. The phenomenon of fake accounts is not new. The oldest was said to be @krails, created on 15 January 2007. Dealers controlled the following speed and total following number of fake accounts to avoid being suspended by Twitter. “Dealers can apply obscure techniques to make them hard to detect, eg randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream, etc.”

Prices for 1,000 followers ranged widely from $2 to $55 depending on how “real” they seemed. “This underground Twitter business is just blooming,” the report said.
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« Reply #126 on: Aug 11, 2012, 08:14 AM »

August 11, 2012 06:00 AM

Romney-Ryan 2012: The Herman & Eddie Munster Ticket

By karoli

As I write, the only thing lacking is official confirmation by the Romney campaign that Mittens will adopt young Paul Ryan as his running mate. It would appear as though Mittens' disaster-laden campaign of the past few weeks has prompted his billionaires to lay down the law and require Ryan as the Very Serious Running Mate.

Ah, yes. Paul Ryan, "zombie-eyed granny starver" extraordinaire. The guy who loved Ayn Rand until he didn't.

Paul Ryan is a disaster, but that doesn't mean the Villagers won't treat him as a Very Serious VP Candidate Who Will Give Mittens A Much-Needed Bump. They will treat him that way. Meanwhile, the Very Serious conservatives will rejoice and forget Mitt is their candidate, substituting Paul Ryan in their minds for the first name on the ballot, and the Kochs will open their wallets wider for Their Black-Haired Boy. See, for example, the fawning by Chuck Todd and David Gregory over Ryan As Visionary.

I suppose that's enough bashing for one post. (Can Ryan ever be bashed enough?) Let's review some of the facts on Paul Ryan and whether he's a good fit with Mitt:

    He wants to raise taxes on ordinary people so billionaires and millionaires can get a break. Check.
    He wants to give Granny and Grampy a little voucher instead of the Medicare they've come to know and love. Check.
    Repeal Obamacare! Because...Romneycare. Check.
    He was once a beneficiary of the social safety net he seeks to destroy. Hypocrisy. Check.
    He speaks spreadsheet. Check.

Also? President Obama turns him into a whining, sniveling wimp.

I have a theory about why Ryan is the Boy Wonder, and no, it's not the one that says Mitt is really Herman Munster and Ryan is his sixth son, Eddie. I think Mitt's billionaires were tired of his very terrible, awful campaign and decided they'd better get the base fired up before they gave up entirely. And so word was passed to Mitt: It's Ryan or we're done with you.

After that, all that was left was tapping Tagg to fire TPaw and Rob Portman. Mitt seems to be quite good at delegating tasks, even firing people.

Over on the left, there is much rejoicing about Mitt's the billionaires' choice for the veep slot, and for good reason. After all, for eighteen months we've been trying to get the general electorate to see the do-nothing Congress in all its glory, from the debt ceiling debacle to the Ryan budget monstrosity to the zillionth meaningless vote to climb into women's reproductive systems. Now it will be on display for all to see, naked, fat and ugly.

A few other random thoughts. Does anyone giggle at the thought that Bill Kristol picked Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan? How will Newt Gingrich cover his tracks? Has anyone asked Paul Ryan about Ponzi schemes, particularly those he benefits from?

Who does Eddie Munster's hair? Quick, hire them for Pretty Paul's campaign appearances.
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« Reply #127 on: Aug 11, 2012, 08:15 AM »

August 11, 2012 07:00 AM

'When I Hear Mitt Romney Speak it Makes Me Sick to My Stomach'

By Diane Sweet

Many say that Mitt Romney's tax plan, or his refusal to release his personal income tax forms will be what will ruin his chances of becoming president in 2012. What I believe will do him in are these stories that come straight from the mouths of Americans who are or have worked for Romney's Bain owned corporations. There are millions who can relate to the tragedy of having worked at a job for years, only to see their jobs shipped overseas, with no real prospects of another job on the horizon. Beautiful, friendly little towns that turn into ghost towns as people who never missed paying their debts fall behind on their mortgages and watch their homes fall to foreclosure.

The employees of Bain owned corporations seem to have to endure more than the usual share of tragedy that comes with the shuttering of their place of work. There was the paper plant in Marion, Indiana where the workers (Workers who had no idea what was about to happen to them.) were ordered to stop what they were doing and build a stage. The stage was used the next day by men in suits from Bain to tell them all that they no longer had a job. One man likened building the stage to "building my own coffin."

At the Bain owned Sensata plant in Freeport, Illinois, employees are personally training their Chinese replacements, and watching the plant being shipped overseas piece by piece. The Guardian interviewed several of the workers, and city officials in Freeport. Their stories are as heartbreaking as you would expect:

    The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

    But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

    It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

    . . . Sensata (the plant where they work) is majority-owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once led by Mitt Romney, that has become a hugely controversial symbol of how the modern globalised American economy works. Indeed, Romney still owns millions of dollars of shares in the Bain funds that own Sensata.

    Bain has declined to comment. But it has made a lot of money from owning Sensata, quadrupling its initial 2006 investment . . .

    The anger towards Bain and Romney is palpable. Romney has become the target for the emotions of a community who built lives based on the idea of a steady manufacturing job: a concept out of place in the sort of fluid buy-and-sell world from which Bain prospers. "I didn't have a clue what Bain was before this happened," said Cheryl Randecker, 52. "Now when I hear Romney speak it makes me sick to my stomach."

Right this moment, Romney may not be the CEO at Bain, but he does still profit as Bain continues to destroy people's lives. Can you imagine vulture capitalist Mitt Romney holding the highest office in the land while working-class people all over the nation can't bring themselves to look at him, or hear his voice because he upsets them so that it would cause them to vomit? And that's on top of how he has already destroyed their lives and their communities.

I can't imagine it. Mitt Romney is counting on voters being ignorant come election day. We've all watched too many Mitt Romneys steal our jobs, and destroy our towns. We've all been forced to learn a lot, the hard way, and I believe we'll all remember come November. Our memories aren't that short.
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« Reply #128 on: Aug 13, 2012, 07:27 AM »

Aug 11, 2012 7:30pm

Does Paul Ryan Pick Mean Electoral Problems for House and Senate GOPers?

So, how do strategists who are tasked with advising their candidates in House and Senate races view the Paul Ryan pick?

Most Democrats we talked with were giddy about the pick. Even hours after Ryan’s selection had been announced, one Democratic strategist was still in disbelief calling it the “best pick possible for us.”

This same strategist, who was at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Annual issues conference in Napa Valley, California, said donors and members of Congress in attendance were “pumped” about the Ryan pick.

“This election becomes a referendum,” said this advisor. “Balance the budget the right way by protecting Medicare. Or stand with Romney-Ryan — who would further burden seniors and the middle class. It is a disastrous pick for congressional Republicans.”

However, one long-time Democratic consultant warned Democrats not to get too confident. The fact that Ryan has teamed up with Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to outline a plan to tackle Medicare reform, said this consultant, complicates Democrats’ plans to turn Ryan into a partisan boogeyman.

In an op-ed penned in the Wall Street Journal by Wyden and Ryan last December, the two men wrote, “Our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of our nation’s retirees.”

Look for Republicans to revive this quote often on the campaign trail.

Even so, at least one Republican consultant we reached out to told us that he worries that every time Republicans are talking about Medicare, “they are not talking about jobs and the economy.” An issue, of course, that Republicans have long held will not only define this race, but sink Obama.

When asked what he thinks of the Ryan pick, another GOP strategist who is involved in House and Senate races tells me simply “not helpful. Instead of referendum election we now get a choice.”

“I am sure Florida and Arizona love the Ryan budget,” this strategist notes sarcastically.

So, will tying every Republican candidate to the Ryan budget help ensure that Democrats keep control of the Senate and win control of the House?

One smart Democratic strategist we spoke with wasn’t willing to make that prediction. He was, however, supremely confident in its effectiveness at the presidential level.


Paul Ryan’s VP nod elicits cheers of joy across liberal America

By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:37 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate on Saturday energized the Republican base, but it also elicited an unusual amount of glee from prominent Democrats, many of whom believe he’s the ideal candidate for President Barack Obama to run against.

“Paul Ryan is the one VP pick who can unite liberal and conservative America,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow wrote on Twitter, adding her comment to the category “#CouponsCouponsCoupons,” a sly reference to Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare and convert it to a coupon program that offers discounts on private health insurance policies.

On that very subject, Washington Post columnist and occasional Maddow fill-in host Ezra Klein added: “Mitt Romney, announcing Paul Ryan as his VP, attacks Obama for cutting Medicare by $700 billion. Just wow.”

The president’s spokespeople didn’t waste any time hitting that same point, arguing that Ryan will enact “budget-busting tax cuts” for the rich and hurt the middle class. That that effect, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told The Associated Press that Ryan “would end Medicare as we know it.”

Ryan’s selection also plays into the Democrats’ “war on women” rhetoric because of his support for policies that undermine women’s access to reproductive health programs like Planned Parenthood. “Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Ryan as his running mate reminds us of why elections matter when it comes to our ability to make personal and private medical decisions,” NARAL president Nancy Keenan said in a media advisory.

“The outcome of the 2012 presidential election very well could determine whether abortion remains legal and accessible for the next generation of American women,” she added. “Romney has pledged that taking away women’s rights will be a priority for him and his choice of Ryan amplifies that promise to the extreme anti-choice backers of this ticket. My organization’s priority is to make sure President Obama remains in the White House.”

“Paul Ryan: takes big $ from Koch bros, shovels big $ to the oil industry,” environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote, calling Ryan “another corrupt hack.” In a second post he referenced Ryan’s love for the writings of Ayn Rand. “Fun guy, Paul Ryan: ‘I gave out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.’”

Seconding that, Think Progress’s “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan” list mentioned Ryan’s attachment to the writings of Rand and his vote to keep over $40 billion in government subsidies for big oil companies.

“Rand described altruism as ‘evil,’ condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as ‘phony,’ and called Arabs ‘almost totally primitive savages,’” Igor Volsky wrote. “Though he publicly rejected ‘her philosophy’ in 2012, Ryan had professed himself a strong devotee.”

“Paul Ryan?” liberal documentarian Michael Moore exclaimed. “I guess they plan on winning. It’s all about who is able 2 get more ppl 2 the polls. Ignorance fear & hate r great motivators.” He added: “Channeling Bush, war supporters/military dodgers Romney & Ryan insult those who served by using battleship as their prop.”

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), published a document examining the positions of potential Romney running mates, and ultimately said that Ryan holds “anti-civil liberties positions.”

In the milling aftermath of Romney’s announcement, politics magazine The New Republic summed it all up by exclaiming: “The Ryan Veep pick is a fantastic stroke of luck for President Obama.”


August 11, 2012

Mr. Ryan’s Cramped Vision

Mitt Romney’s safe and squishy campaign just took on a much harder edge. A candidate of no details — I’ll cut the budget but no need to explain just how — has named a vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, whose vision is filled with endless columns of minus signs. Voters will now be able to see with painful clarity just what the Republican Party has in store for them.

As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan has drawn a blueprint of a government that will be absent when people need it the most. It will not be there when the unemployed need job training, or when a struggling student needs help to get into college. It will not be there when a miner needs more than a hardhat for protection, or when a city is unable to replace a crumbling bridge.

And it will be silent when the elderly cannot keep up with the costs of M.R.I.’s or prescription medicines, or when the poor and uninsured become increasingly sick through lack of preventive care.

More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan, and eagerly accepted by the Tea Party-driven House, come from programs for low-income Americans. That means billions of dollars lost for job training for the displaced, Pell grants for students and food stamps for the hungry. These cuts are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops raised their voices in protest at the shredding of the nation’s moral obligations.

Mr. Ryan’s budget “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment,” the bishops wrote in an April letter to the House. “These cuts are unjustified and wrong.”

Mr. Ryan responded that he was helping the poor by eliminating their dependence on the government. And yet he has failed to explain how he would make them self-sufficient — how, in fact, a radical transformation of government would magically turn around an economy that is starving for assistance. At a time when state and local government layoffs are the principal factor in unemployment, the Ryan budget would cut aid to desperate governments by at least 20 percent, far below historical levels, on top of other cuts to mass transit and highway spending.

Those are the kinds of reductions voters of all income levels would actually feel. People might nod their heads at Mr. Romney’s nostrums of smaller government, but they are likely to feel quite different when they realize Mr. Ryan plans to take away their new sewage treatment plant, the asphalt for their streets, and the replacements for retiring police officers and firefighters.

All of this will be accompanied, of course, by even greater tax giveaways to the rich, and extravagant benefits to powerful military contractors. Business leaders will be granted their wish for severely diminished watchdogs over the environment, mine safety and food quality.

Mr. Romney had already praised the Ryan budget as “excellent work,” but until Saturday the deliberate ambiguity of his own plans gave him a little room for distance, an opportunity to sketch out a more humane vision of government’s role. By putting Mr. Ryan’s callousness on his ticket, he may have lost that chance.



12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

By Igor Volsky on Aug 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

Mitt Romney has picked as his running mate 42 year-old Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget, which the New York Times has described as “the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress in modern times.” Below are 12 things you should know about Ryan and his policies:

1. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ryan heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-century libertarian novelist best known for her philosophy that centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages. Though he publicly rejected “her philosophy” in 2012, Ryan had professed himself a strong devotee. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he said at a D.C. gathering honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.” Learn more about Ryan’s muse:

2. Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class, cut them for millionaires. Paul Ryan’s infamous budget — which Romney embraced — replaces “the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.” Federal tax collections would fall “by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade” as a result and to avoid increasing the national debt, the budget proposes massive cuts in social programs and “special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.” But 62 percent of the savings would come from programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes, who would also experience a tax increase. That’s because while Ryan “would extend the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time.” Households “earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.”

Audiences have booed Ryan for the unfair distribution:

3. Ryan wants to end Medicare, replace it with a voucher system. Ryan’s latest budget transforms the existing version of Medicare, in which government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium support” system. All future retirees would receive a government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare. But since the premium support voucher does not keep up with increasing health care costs, the Congressional Budget Offices estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050. A recent study also found that had the plan been implemented in 2009, 24 million beneficiares enrolled in the program would have paid higher premiums to maintain their choice of plan and doctors. Ryan would also raise Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67.

4. Ryan thinks Social Security is a “ponzi scheme.” In September of 2011, Ryan agreed with Rick Perry’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” and since 2005 has advocated for privatizing the retirement benefit and investing it in stocks and bonds. Conservatives claim that this would “outperform the current formula based on wages earned and overall wage appreciation,” but the economic crisis of 2008 should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers who seek to hinge Americans’ retirement on the stock market. In fact, “a person with a private Social Security account similar to what President George W. Bush proposed in 2005″ would have lost much of their retirement savings.

5. Ryan’s budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years. Ryan’s budget calls for massive reductions in government spending. He has proposed cutting discretionary programs by about $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, which, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, would suck demand out of the economy and “reduce employment by 1.3 million jobs in fiscal 2013 and 2.8 million jobs in fiscal 2014, relative to current budget policies.”

6. Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students. Ryan’s budget claims both that rising financial aid is driving college tuition costs upward, and that Pell Grants, which help cover tuition costs for low-income Americans, don’t go to the “truly needy.” So he cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could “ultimately knock more than one million students off” the program over the next 10 years.

7. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsides for big oil. In 2011, Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill. His budget would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.” For instance, it “calls for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone” and would spend only $150 million over five years — or 20 percent of what was invested in 2012 — on energy programs.

8. Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies . Ryan “and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” the Daily Beast reported in June of 2011. “Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.”

9. Ryan claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.” “I’m not a fan of [Romney's health care reform] system,” Ryan told C-SPAN in 2010. He argued that government is rationing care in the state and claimed that people are “seeing the system bursting by the seams, they’re seeing premium increases, rationing and benefit cuts.” He called the system “a fatal conceit” and “unsustainable.” Watch it:

10. Ryan believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.” Though Romney has gone to great lengths to distinguish his Massachusetts health care law from Obamacare, Ryan doesn’t see the difference. “It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare, and you probably know I’m not a big fan of Obamacare,” Ryan said at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the American Spectator in March of 2011. “I just don’t think the mandates work … all the regulation they’ve put on it…I think it’s beginning to death spiral. They’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions.”

11. Ryan accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget. In March, Ryan couldn’t believe that Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey supports Obama’s Pentagon budget, which incorporates $487 billion in cuts over 10 years. “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said at a policy summit hosted by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.” He later apologized for the implication. Watch it:

12. Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure. Ryan joined 62 other Republicans in co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization.
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« Reply #129 on: Aug 13, 2012, 07:35 AM »

Obama Welcomes ‘Ideological Leader’ Paul Ryan to Race 

ABC News
By Devin Dwyer

CHICAGO — Just over 24 hours after Rep. Paul Ryan was tapped for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, President Obama today welcomed the Wisconsin congressman to the race, branding him the “ideological leader of Republicans in Congress.”

Addressing donors at a campaign fundraiser on the south side of Chicago, Obama slammed his rivals’ belief in “top-down economics” as a solution to the nation’s economic woes, insisting the approach has been tried and failed.

“This kind of top-down economics is central to Gov. [Mitt] Romney and it is central to his running mate,” Obama told roughly 1,000 donors huddled inside the Bridgeport Arts Center.

“Just yesterday, my opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of  Republicans in Congress, Mr. Paul Ryan. I want to congratulate Mr. Ryan. I know him. I welcome him to the race,” Obama said.

Some members of the crowd began booing at the mention of Ryan, but Obama cut them off.

“He is a decent man, he is a family man, he is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision, but it is a vision that I fundamentally disagree with,” he said.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

The remarks were the first time Obama publicly acknowledged Romney’s running mate since the announcement Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.  Vice President Joe Biden called Ryan Saturday to welcome him to the race, the Obama campaign said.

Obama and Ryan will face off on the campaign trail for the first time Monday with dueling events scheduled in Iowa, a key Midwest battleground. The president begins a three-day, seven-stop bus tour through the state, while Ryan plans to “drop by” the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said Republicans are girding for a fight.

“We all know that President Obama will continue to run a fear and smear campaign because his policies have failed and he has no vision for the future of our country,” Williams said in a statement.  “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bring new ideas about creating jobs and controlling the budget. President Obama’s campaign has accused Mitt Romney of committing crimes and killing people, and now they have turned their smear campaign to Paul Ryan. They have lost all credibility.”

Obama is in Chicago for a whirlwind day of five re-election fundraisers expected to raise at least $6.4 million combined for the 2012 race, according to estimates provided by the Obama campaign.

Obama has spent a record-smashing amount of time fundraising as an incumbent, attending more than 200 events in his first term. President George W. Bush had attended just 88 fundraisers at this point in his first term.


Voting record analysis finds Paul Ryan most extreme VP nominee in a century

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, August 12, 2012 14:27 EDT

Rep. Paul Ryan is the most ideologically far-from-center vice presidential nominee since at least 1900, according to one statistical analysis of historical Congressional voting records.

Based on the DW-NOMINATE model, Ryan’s record makes him the most extreme nominee from either party during that stretch, meaning he is not only ranked as more conservative than any past GOP vice presidential nominee, but also as further from center than any Democratic number two over that same stretch.

That ranking system analyzes all the roll call votes cast by members of Congress and computes a weighted average of how conservatives or liberal elected representatives are based on those votes. For example, the system pegs Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-NM) as the ninth-most liberal member of the House, while Ron Paul (R-TX) ranks as the second-most conservative member (Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) barely beat out Paul for the title of most conservative.)

Ryan, meanwhile, falls well into the conservative end of the spectrum. In fact, the ranking system puts him just four slots closer to center than Tea Party crusader Michele Bachmann (R-MN.)

The system presents its averages on a numerical scale, from -1.0 to 1.0, liberal to conservative, with zero being completely centrist. Ryan earned a 0.562 Ideology Score according to the system, higher than Dick Cheney’s previous record high score for a VP nominee of 0.531. The most extreme Democratic nominee, by contrast, was President Franklin Roosevelt’s VP, John Nance Gardner (-0.482.)

That finding affirms anecdotal evidence about Ryan’s perceived image as a very conservative politician. His budget proposal last year, for example, was so extreme that even Newt Gingrich dismissed it as, “right-wing social engineering,” — though he has since come around now that Ryan is on the party ticket.


Axelrod: Ryan plan is a ‘prescription for economic catastrophe’

By David Edwards
Sunday, August 12, 2012 12:51 EDT

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod on Sunday warned that the budget plan authored by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), was a “prescription for economic catastrophe.”

During an interview on NBC, host David Gregory predicted that Romney and his VP pick would claim that President Barack Obama was trying “scare seniors” by claiming Ryan’s budget would end Medicare as it exists today, turning it into a voucher system.

“There’s no doubt, David, that we’ve got to do more [to make Medicare solvent],” Axelrod explained. “But the question is are you going to do it in a way that preserves the program and the basic integrity of the program and the access to care that seniors need, or are you going to turn it into a voucher program with ever-decreasing value of the vouchers relative to health care costs and throw seniors onto the tender mercies of the private insurance market?”

The senior adviser said he agreed with an assertion made by former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, that Ryan’s budget was “right-wing social engineering.”

“In terms of debt, I heard Congressman Ryan talking about debt — as you pointed out, this was a guy who rubber stamped every aspect of the Bush economic policy, including not paying for two wars, a Medicare prescription plan, two big tax cuts,” Axelrod charged. “And now he wants trillions of dollars of more budget-busting tax cuts skewed to the wealthy.”

He added: “We have more to do, not just to deal with unemployment, but to rebuild the middle class in this country. And the way to do it is not to give trillions of dollars in new tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, raise taxes on the middle class and cut things like college loans, research and technology, infrastructure, energy. This is prescription for economic catastrophe.”

Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopolous on Sunday, Axelrod went even farther, claiming that Romney and Ryan “do not believe” in Medicare.

“He’s the guy who’s the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program and ship thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens. He’s someone who was the architect of a Social Security privatization scheme that was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible, and he believes that we should ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest,” Axelrod said.


Romney would pay less than 1% in taxes under Ryan plan

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, August 12, 2012 15:54 EDT

Under the budget plan proposed by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Romney would have paid an effective tax rate under 1% in 2010, according to an analysis by The Atlantic.

Romney’s 2010 tax rate—he has only released complete information for that year, so it is unclear what his burden would have been in other years—would have come in at a tiny 0.82 percent for the year, far lower than the already low 13.9% rate he actually paid.

That huge drop would come primarily from the Ryan plan’s proposal to eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends. Romney’s income in 2010 came largely from those sources, so those taxes made up the bulk of the overall effective tax rate on his reported $21.6 million income.

Romney would also enjoy the Ryan plan’s reduction in the marginal tax rate from 35 to 25 percent which, in conjunction with other measures like eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, would drop his effective tax rate down under one percent.

That finding comes amid allegations made by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) that Romney paid zero taxes for a decade. While that claim is highly suspect, both stories yet again bring a caricature of Romney as a wealthy, perhaps tax-dodging businessman back to the forefront of the election—and based on recent polls, attacks labeling Romney as such appear to be working.

Romney has said in the past that he did not totally back the Ryan budget, though a top advisor confusingly said Sunday that Romney “would have signed” it. Romney also, during the GOP primary debates, hammered Newt Gingrich for offering a similarly drastic overhaul of the tax code, noting at the time that such changes would result in him paying almost no taxes at all.


Cheney on Ryan: ‘I can’t think of a better choice’ for VP

By David Edwards
Sunday, August 12, 2012 14:47 EDT

The man who selected himself to be former President George W. Bush’s running mate says that he “can’t think of a better choice” than Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to share the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney.

“I’m a big fan of Paul’s,” former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Saturday. “I can’t think of a better choice. I really just think that it is a vital one and I want to give Gov. Romney very high marks for making it.”

“I think that what he has done here is take, and put front and center in his campaign, somebody who has been spending time and energy addressing the most serious problem we face as a nation.”

The former vice president added: “I’m delighted with the Paul Ryan choice. I think he’d make a great vice president.”

* paulryan.jpg (123.71 KB, 1821x1014 - viewed 192 times.)
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« Reply #130 on: Aug 13, 2012, 11:09 AM »

August 13, 2012 09:00 AM

Will the Influence the Mormon Church has over Mitt Romney ever be Questioned?

By John Amato

I've written a lot about what Mormons believe, their history and the influence they have over Mitt Romney, including a story about his polygamist great-grandfather and their exodus to Mexico. If I asked 100 people to name the head of the LDS Church, or what the First Presidency is, I bet not one would know the correct answer.

In our history the media went crazy over John F. Kennedy being the first Catholic to run for President and he was forced to address it and disavow how much influence the papacy would have over his presidency. Fox News went ballistic over Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his "Black Liberation Theology", forcing Barack Obama to step down from his church. But apparently Mitt Romney is given a complete pass when it comes to his faith. It's astounding.

Here's something you may not know.

    Mormons have no full-time paid clergy, and instead are led by an all-volunteer lay male leadership.

Mormons do not have a paid clergy to run their church so males make up the entire infrastructure and as usual, women need not apply. Mitt was ordained at the age of twelve, like other Mormon males. He became a Bishop in 1981 and Boston Stake President in 1986. The dedication each Mormon makes to his faith is as a high as any minister, priest, rabbi, imam or cardinal. The reason a Catholic bishop (I'm Catholic) has never run for public office is because he cannot separate his religious beliefs from governing a secular United States made up of many different faiths and non-faiths. His religious views would dictate exactly how his votes would be cast and how his policies were shaped. That's not a dig against this hypothetical bishop, that's exactly what everyone would expect him to do.

So I ask again, why isn't Mitt receiving a serious look into his religious views?

And by the way, every member of the Mormon faith must pay out 10 percent of their wages to remain in good standing with the church, a practice known as tithing. That's why he has given so much money to the LDS church, according to the only tax return we've been able to see.

    Romneys "gave away $7 million in charitable contributions over the past two years, including at least $4.1 million" to the LDS Church. Paying 10 percent of their annual income in tithing, what members of the LDS Church refer to as "a full tithe," makes Romney, if nothing else, a typical Mormon.

I love how the Deseret News frames Mitt with his millions of dollars of charitable giveaway as just typical Mormon on 'tithing."

Huffington Post: The Mormon Moment -- Postponed

    In the last few months, considerable attention has been devoted to Mitt Romney's tax returns and his former company's "job-creating performance," but there has been insufficient discussion about what arguably has had the greatest role in shaping who he is and how he views the world: his Mormon religion. Despite his reluctance to address the subject directly, public interest in Mormonism remains at historic levels.

    His "Mormon Moment" is laden with obligation: never in the history of the United States has an ordained minister been a major party's candidate for the presidency. The Mormon Church has a lay priesthood, and by virtue of his ordination to the offices of Bishop and Stake President, Romney has occupied ecclesiastical positions equivalent to those within the Roman Catholic Church of Priest and Bishop. Were a Catholic Bishop to run for the presidency, there would doubtless be a demand that he address aspects of his religion in far greater detail than would be required of candidates never ordained to the ministry -- and thus Gov. Romney's obligation.

In 2007, Romney was forced to give a speech on religion called "Faith In America" . Not surprisingly, he mentions the word "Mormon" only once! Instead, he chose to give a series of platitudes and generalities. Of course, he made sure to include a heavy statement about 'religious tolerance' to dissuade the demand for any specifics:

    "There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.

That's a nice cop out. If you question Mormons on some of their more bizarre beliefs, then you're an intolerant lout. Obama had to discuss his beliefs in great detail. John F. Kennedy had to do the same. But there's one big difference with Romney's faith. Many religions do believe and preach that they are the true faith of God, but Joesph Smith, the founder of Mormonism stated quite clearly that either you follow the God of Joseph Smith or you follow evil. Via Krakauer's Under The Banner Of Heaven

    Joseph preached something he called “free agency”; everyone was free to choose whether to be on the side of the Lord or the side of wickedness; it was an entirely personal decision—but woe to those who decided wrong. If you knowingly chose to shun the God of Joseph and the Saints, you were utterly undeserving of sympathy or mercy.

In the Huff Po piece that I cited above, they ask a germane question for Romney to answer:

    What your church labels "sacred" is frequently termed by others "secret" or even "sinister," leading many to conclude that Mormons may not always be telling us what they truly believe. How can you assuage these suspicions by articulating your beliefs?

Mitt Romney will never challenge a Mormon principle, ever. Nor will he be open about what the LDS church teaches.

Here's a segment of Meet The Press from 12/16/2007. You'll notice that Romney will not condemn his church for their odious treatment of African Americans until 1978.

    MR. RUSSERT: You, you raise the issue of color of skin. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools. In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. Here was the headlines in the papers in June of '78. "Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias. Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites." You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn't you think, "What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?"

    GOV. ROMNEY: I'm very proud of my faith, and it's the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith--well, it's true and I love my faith. And I'm not going to distance myself in any way from my faith. But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mm was a tireless crusader for civil rights. You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights. So my dad's reputation, my mom's and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else. And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.

    I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God. My faith has always told me that. My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.

    MR. RUSSERT: But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.

    GOV. ROMNEY: I've told you exactly where I stand. My view is that there--there's, there's no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.

Romney was thirty-one years old when he supposedly pulled his car off the road and wept with joy, but he never once spoke out publicly in defense of Black America prior to that, so we're supposed to take it on faith that he always believed in it. In reality, the pressure of their bias became too great for the Mormon Church to handle along with the fact that they also wanted to build a massive temple in Brazil so the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during a prayer session reversed the horrible century-old law. I bet you never heard of the Quorum of Twelve, right? When Russert tried to get Mitt to admit Mormonism was wrong to be so biased against African Americans. Romney ducked the question and reiterated that there is no discrimination in the eyes of the Lord. He makes my point for me.

However, in the eyes of Mitt Romney's 'Lord' it was just to exclude blacks from the priesthood. He slyly tells a story about his father supporting MLK, but he avoided any sentence that would have even hinted that Mormonism was fallible. He'd never say anything against his church, even with their discriminatory practices. To clarify, blacks were not allowed to enjoy the hereafter before 1978. But that exclusion--the lifting of which brought Mitt to tears--was not enough to question his faith or criticize it even retroactively.

Now I imagine most think that Mormons, as all Republicans, believe that life begins at conception. Actually, that's not true in Mormon teaching. For Mormons, life begins in spirit children from a premortal world. These human spirits live with heavenly Father and Mother. Jesus is there to help Mormons get over sin and death and all their earthly trails and tribulations on earth. Mortals have no memory of their spirit life The only reason why they're born into a corporeal being at all is so they can be tested by how Mormons live their life.

But that's not what most Republicans believe, so when Russert quizzes him on this point, he waffles through it.

    MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe life begins at conception?

    GOV. ROMNEY: I do. I believe, I believe from a, from a, a political perspective that life begins at conception. I, I don't, I don't pretend to know, if you will, from a theological standpoint when life begins.

Romney is lying outright by saying he doesn't pretend to know from a theological standpoint when life begins. Mitt Romney understands every bit of Mormon theological viewpoints thoroughly. He can teach it to you. He's a Bishop, remember?

Another hugely important point about the Mormon religion is that so much of their rituals are secret. Why? If they are proud in their beliefs today why not share them with the rest of us including entering their over 100 Temples around the world? Or maybe the promise of the afterlife. There are three kingdoms (Telestial, Terestrial. Celestial) in the afterlife a mortal can exalt to. How strictly people adhere to Mormon teachings will determine their destination. It's a plan of salvation, so to speak. God's plan was for all his spirit children to be able to transform into God as well, ruling their own kingdom with their spirit mate and children. When so many of the Republican Party identify themselves as fundamentalist Christians, don't you think they deserve to know this about the man for whom they are expected to vote?

Helen C. Whitney and Gregory A. Prince conclude their piece with this:

    We realize that in addressing these issues, Gov. Romney would likely open himself to criticism from some quarters. However, the office to which he aspires demands of its aspirants a level of openness and clarity that he has yet to reach. Ironically, his reluctance to be open about his religion only reinforces the last and arguably most enduring of all Mormon stereotypes: its secrecy. Given the overwhelming importance of his religion in shaping who he is and how he views the world, we see the above questions as an opportunity for him to begin to emerge from obscurity.

At least someone other than moi is asking finally....
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« Reply #131 on: Aug 16, 2012, 11:50 AM »

August 16, 2012 10:00 AM

Romney Campaign Calls Police On Sensata Worker Delivering Letter

By karoli

It's a good thing the nice policeman wasn't a jerk. Instead of arresting this terribly threatening woman (cue sarcasm), he agreed to hand-deliver her letter for her, after Romney campaign workers locked her out and called the police.

Sensata, as you may recall, is the company where Bain Capital is in the process of shutting down plants and sending jobs overseas. Adding insult to injury, Sensata workers are required to train their replacements.

While Mitt Romney isn't directly ordering the closure, as a Bain investor he is certainly benefitting from it. As one Sensata employee said, hearing Romney speak makes her physically ill. Who wouldn't feel that way after losing their job and financial security while having to cheerfully train their overseas replacement? The stories are heartbreaking.

I realize there's a lot of people out there who will vote for Mitt Romney just to get Barack Obama out of office, but I hope they'll stop and ask themselves whether they really want a guy as President who thinks people exist for only one reason: Profitability. This is what drives Romney in business, and it's what will drive him in office. We're just chattel; the corporations are king.



Sensata Employees Ask Mitt Romney To Save Their Jobs

By Kenneth Quinnell

Employees at Sensata Technologies in Freeport, Illinois, protested Mitt Romney's visit to nearby Janesville, asking the Republican presidential candidate and former head of Bain Capital for their jobs. Sensata is now owned by Bain and is in the process of laying off hundreds of American workers. The workers know that Romney has the influence at Bain to save their jobs and since he's campaigning on a "jobs first" platform, they asked him to put his money where his mouth is.

    "My priority is putting Americans back to work, that's job number one," said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    Wisconsin is considered a battle ground state for the presidential election, and the main fight Monday was over jobs.

    "If your priority is jobs, you got to get rid of Obamacare," said Romney. "And I will."


    But not everyone thinks Romney is the right man for the job. Some people outside the rally don't think the country is his main priority.

    "People that are making that kind of money and that are paying this kind of money for these campaigns are not in the best interests of the American people," said Iver Knuth, who came to Janesville to protest against Romney.

    Not so far away in Freeport, over a dozen workers at Sensata Technologies are blaming Romney and a company he ran 2001, Bain Capital, for sending their jobs over seas. They want Romney to be more clear on how he plans to put them back to work.

    "I've never heard him just really say what he's going to do to save our economy," said Dot turner, whose job is being outsourced overseas.

    Romney's response; to invest in energy production like coal, oil, and natural gas.

    "I want that energy here, because I want those jobs here, were going to bring employment back up in America," said Romney.

The disconnect between Romney's words and his history is a major theme of his current bus tour across the Midwest:

    Mitt Romney’s “Every Town Counts” bus tour brought the presumptive Republican presidential nominee across southern Wisconsin and into Iowa Monday and Tuesday.

    But the towns didn’t count enough for him to learn their real histories and their real needs. And the tour scrupulously avoided towns where Romney’s Bain Capital continues to put the hurt on American workers.

    In Janesville, Wisconsin, where a sprawling General Motors plant closed three years ago, socking the town with one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, Romney failed during his stop to discuss the plant or GM. He couldn’t exactly rip into his November opponent, Barack Obama, for not doing eneough to reopen the plant—a credible gripe—since Obama worked during his first term to save GM while Romney talked up the idea of letting the company go bankrupt.

    That’s the problem for Romney. He has been on the wrong side of so many economic fights that it is impossible for him to play the economic populist in communities that could stand with a little populism.

    But the real story of Romney’s tour is the towns that don’t count with him.

    When Romney made stops in Janesville and Dubuque Monday, he was just up the road from the town of Freeport, Illinois.

    But Romney did not stop in Freeport, a town that like Janesville and Dubuque has been hard hit by trade and fiscal policies that encourage corporations to shutter US factories and ship jobs overseas—and that has been even harder hit by speculators who buy up factories, strip the assets and close them.

    On the day Romney was busing across the region, employees of Freeport’s Sensata Technologies plant gathered in front of the factory with handmade signs that read:

    “Romney! Stop Bain Outsourcing to China”

    “Mitt Romney Save Our Jobs”

    “Romney: Instead of talking about JOBS, just don’t ship MINE to China”

    The Sensata Technologies plant, which has been on the forefront of producing state-of-the-art automotive sensors, was owned by Texas Instruments, and then by Honeywell, before being sold in 2010 to Sensata Technologies Holding, N.V, a firm based in the Netherlands but majority-owned by Bain Capital. Bain, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney helped to develop and that continues to make him a very rich man, has since consolidated ownership of Sensata.

    The workers at the plant wanted Romney to make a slight detour on his bus trip and take a look at the devastation being caused by Bain’s machinations at a plant where many of them have worked for more than thirty years.

    The plant’s operations are rapidly skrinking as Sensata moves to outsource work from Illinois to China.

    “This used to be a very high-volume plant and now it’s pretty much a ghost town…and by the end of the year it will be a ghost town”, Sensata employee Cheryl Randecker told local reporters.

    Had Romney come to Freeport, he would have heard how much Bain’s approach has harmed not just the Sensata workers but Freeport and counties along the Illinois-Wisconsin stateline that have suffered more than their share of plant closings.


'I'm sick to my stomach': anger grows in Illinois at Bain's latest outsourcing plan

The Sensata plant in Freeport is profitable and competitive, but its majority owner, Bain Capital, has decided to ship jobs to China – and forced workers to train their overseas replacements.   

The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

"It's not easy to get up in the morning, training them to do your job so that you can be made unemployed," said Borman, pictured, a mother of three who has worked for 23 years at the Sensata auto sensors plant.
Bonnie Borman at Sensata in Freeport

Borman knows her eventual fate in the stricken economy that surrounds Freeport. "I am going to be competing for minimum wage jobs with my own daughter," she said.

Such scenes have been common in America as manufacturing has fled abroad in search of cheaper wages.

But, in the midst of the 2012 presidential election, Freeport is different. For Sensata is majority-owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once led by Mitt Romney, that has become a hugely controversial symbol of how the modern globalised American economy works. Indeed, Romney still owns millions of dollars of shares in the Bain funds that own Sensata.

So as Sensata strips out costs by sacking American workers in favour of Chinese ones, the value of Romney's own investments could rise, putting money into the pockets of a Republican challenger who has placed job creation in America at the heart of his bid for the White House.

The story of how Bain became involved in a car factory in a small town amid the rolling farmland of northern Illinois is emblematic of modern financial wheeling and dealing.

Bain bought the firm that was to become Sensata in 2006, when it was the Texan arm of a Dutch company. It then floated it on the stock exchange in 2010, but kept a majority stake. Sensata came to own the Freeport plant at the beginning of 2011 as part of a wider purchase of a car parts business from Honeywell.

Sensata spokesman Jacob Sayer said closing the Freeport plant to cut costs was a key element of the Honeywell deal. "If that had not been part of the strategy, then the deal would not have been so attractive," he said.

Bain has declined to comment. But it has made a lot of money from owning Sensata, quadrupling its initial 2006 investment. In business circles that focus on the bottom line is all that matters. But, not surprisingly, it cuts less ice in Illinois.

Workers insist their operation is profitable and makes top quality auto sensors.

"I understand business needs to make a profit. But this product has always made a ton of money. It's just that they think it is not enough money. They are greedy," said Tom Gaulraupp, who has put in 33 years at the plant and is facing the prospect of becoming jobless at the age of 54.

Mark Shreck, a 36-year-old father-of-three, confessed he was one of the few workers not surprised at the layoffs, as this is the second time his job has moved to China. "I feel this is what companies do nowadays," he said.
Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp

The Freeport workers have appealed to Bain and Romney to save their plant. The local town council, several Illinois politicians and the state's Democratic governor have all rallied to their cause. "This company is competitive globally. They make a profit here. But Bain Capital decided to squeeze it a little further. That is not what capitalism is meant to be about," said Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp, 52, pictured.

The anger towards Bain and Romney is palpable. Romney has become the target for the emotions of a community who built lives based on the idea of a steady manufacturing job: a concept out of place in the sort of fluid buy-and-sell world from which Bain prospers. "I didn't have a clue what Bain was before this happened," said Cheryl Randecker, 52. "Now when I hear Romney speak it makes me sick to my stomach."

President Barack Obama's campaign has sought to make Bain's record of buying and selling companies – often involving job losses – a key part of its strategy of painting Romney as an out-of-touch super-rich financier. In turn, Romney, who left Bain in 1999, has defended his long career there, saying Bain ends up generating economic growth and spurring job creation. Far from profiting from layoffs, Romney has portrayed Bain as a model for the American future.

That argument stuns Illinois governor Pat Quinn. "If he thinks that is the model for American economic growth then he is barking up the wrong tree," Quinn told The Guardian.

Of course, no one at the Romney campaign wants to be linked with the Freeport plant closure. "Governor Romney is not familiar with this issue and has not been involved in the management of Bain since 1999," said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

Nor does anyone at Sensata want to discuss the social costs of their decision. "We don't have any statement on the impact it has on Freeport," said Sayer. Bain did not return a request for comment.

But the impact is enormous on individuals and city alike. Freeport, a city of 26,000, is struggling. Its downtown features empty store fronts and businesses barely getting by.

The loss of 170 solid well-paying jobs will ripple out into this economy, further straining city resources, hurting businesses and eventually adding to Freeport's foreclosure problem. "There is a sense of fright. People don't know what this means for their families, their health insurance and whether they will keep their homes," said mayor Gaulrapp.

It is already happening.

Tom Gaulrapp – no relation to the mayor – worries he will be homeless. "It is a real possibility," he said. Randecker's daughter has already quit nursing college in Iowa to save money. Joanne Penniston, 35, is wondering if she will have to leave town. "I would have to uproot my whole family," she said.

Dot Turner, who joined the firm when she was 18 and freshly married and then put in 43 years on the factory floor, has suddenly found long cherished retirement plans thrown into disarray. She is 62 and knows finding another job will be tough. "I should not be standing in an unemployment line at this stage of my life," she said.

Turner too finds it hard to hear Romney talk of creating jobs when the post she has worked at for four decades – and which paid for three children to go to college – has just been sent overseas by a firm majority-controlled by Bain. "When Romney talks about creating jobs, it is just a big fairy tale," she said.

There is little chance of a happy ending for Freeport. The workers collect petitions and hold demonstrations. But they know they are likely doomed. "We are not stupid. We know we are unlikely to save our jobs. But if we get the next company that tries it to think twice, then maybe we save our neighbour's job. Or our children's," said Tom Gaulrapp.

Meanwhile, bit by bit, the machines inside the Freeport plant are being packed up, beginning their long journey to China. By the end of the year it will be over. "It is kind of like part of your family being shipped out - I worked with that stuff for years. Now there's nothing left but a discoloration on the floor where the equipment used to sit," Gaulrapp said.
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« Reply #132 on: Aug 23, 2012, 10:40 AM »

Big Oil Buys Gusher: 5 Pro-Oil Planks In Romney Energy Plan

By Climate Guest Blogger on Aug 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

After raising nearly $10 million in Texas oil money in two days, Mitt Romney announces an energy plan on the Texas-New Mexico border later today that includes billions of dollars in giveaways to industry contributors.

Romney will call for extensive expansion of oil and gas drilling – including along the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas – and eliminating most federal safety and environmental standards that govern the development of energy resources on our public lands.

This corporate polluter agenda should come as no surprise, as the Washington Post noted:

    “Romney’s plan caters heavily to oil and coal interests, and oil executives are some of his biggest benefactors.”

Romney’s energy team is comprised of oil and coal industry insiders, from oil billionaire Harold Hamm, the chair of Romney’s energy policy team – and $1 million donor to the conservative Restore Our Future Super PAC — to coal lobbyist Jim Talent, as well as retreads from the George W. Bush administration. Politico described it as “Bush energy advisors going to Romney.”

The Romney-Ryan plan once again claims mysterious “trillions” of dollars in government revenue; however, a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis found that their proposals would bring in only limited federal revenues over the next decade. Instead, the Romney-Ryan energy plan includes billions of dollars of tax breaks to corporate polluter allies, access to lands and waters owned by all Americans, and fewer restrictions on mercury, toxic, and carbon pollution.

Here are five facts about the Romney-Ryan “oil above all” energy strategy you ought to know in advance of his energy speech in New Mexico today.

1. The Romney-Ryan plan gives the big five oil companies a $2.3 billion tax cut above and beyond existing tax loopholes

Both Romney’s plan and the House-passed Ryan budget would retain $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks for the big five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell – that made a record $137 billion in profits last year, and over $60 billion so far in 2012. Perhaps more outrageous is that the Romney-Ryan proposed cut in the corporate tax rate would provide a $2.3 billion tax cut for the big five oil companies. With the existing tax breaks, the big five companies would skim over $4 billion annually from the U.S. Treasury.

2. Romney plan gives Americans’ lands and waters to dirty energy interests

Romney also proposes the extreme idea of giving states control over energy development on America’s public lands.  This is a misguided proposal that would end the tradition of managing lands that belong to the entire country for the wide array of resource values to “meet the present and future needs of the American people.” Instead, on a state by state basis these unparalleled national assets – including national parks – could be turned over to energy companies, making energy development the primary use of the land, at the expense of grazing, hunting, fishing, and all other forms of recreation. A similar proposal was too radical even for arch conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed a bill turning all federal lands over to her state.

3. Romney and Ryan would cede clean energy innovation, exports to China, Germany, other nations. They outsource energy jobs to our greatest competitors.

The worldwide market for clean energy technologies will be $2 trillion by 2020. Yet Romney and Ryan would cede this market to other nations by opposing incentives to help emerging technologies grow to scale. Romney and Ryan oppose the extension of the Production Tax Credit to encourage wind energy. The PTC helped the U.S. double its wind electricity generation over the past four years, and ending it could cost at least 37,000 jobs this year.

An American Wind Energy Association analysis predicts that New Mexico and Texas could lose up to 5,000 and 20,000 jobs, respectively, if the PTC expires.

4. Romney plan won’t reduce oil and gasoline prices

Romney falsely claims that his energy plan will “lower energy prices.”  Oil prices are set on the global market, regardless of domestic production. Even oil independent nations such as Canada experienced high gasoline prices this year. The Wall Street Journal reiterated that “Producing a lot of oil doesn’t lower the price of gasoline in your country.” To determine whether domestic oil production lowers gasoline prices, the Associated Press analyzed 30 years of production and price data. AP determined that there is:

    “No statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.”

5. Romney and Ryan support continuing mercury contamination from power plants

The Obama administration issued overdue reduction standards for mercury and cancer causing pollution from power plants.  The standard saves thousands of lives of children, seniors and other vulnerable people. Yet Romney promises to undo it on his very first day in office by issuing an executive order that

    “Directs all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation.”

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standard will produce “$3 to $9 in health benefits” for every dollar in pollution reduction costs, according to EPA.

In spite of record-breaking temperatures, severe droughts and raging wildfires plaguing the U.S. this year and worsened by manmade climate change, Mitt Romney has put the interests of big donors over science once again. The Romney-Ryan energy plan is simply a handout to their biggest polluter supporters, ignoring the devastating impacts of continuing to rely on a fossil-fuel based economy that does nothing either to address the growing threat of global warming or to increase our competitiveness in the growing clean energy economy.

– Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Noreen Nielsen is CAPAF Energy Communications Director, and Christy Goldfuss is the Public Lands Project Director.
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« Reply #133 on: Aug 24, 2012, 08:45 AM »

REPORT: Seniors Will Pay $60,000 More For Medicare Under Romney/Ryan Plan

By Igor Volsky on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

The Romney/Ryan proposal to transform Medicare’s guaranteed benefit into a “premium support” structure for future retirees could increase costs by almost $60,000 for seniors reaching the age of 65 in 2023, a new report from the Center for American Progress finds. Current seniors would also have to pay more for preventive, hospital, and physician services should Romney and Ryan repeal the Affordable Care Act, facing an increase in health spending of between $7,900 and $18,600 over the course of their retirement.

Beginning in 2023, Romney’s proposal — which is modeled heavily on Paul Ryan’s FY 2013 budget — would provide all retirees with a premium support subsidy to buy coverage from an exchange of private insurance plans or traditional Medicare. Private insurance plans in each geographical area would bid for how much they would charge to provide Medicare benefits and the premium subsidy would be tied to the premium of the plan with the second-lowest cost, or the premium for traditional Medicare—whichever is lower. If seniors choose a plan that costs more than the voucher, they will have to pay the difference. As a result, most seniors will have to spend more on coverage. Here are 5 reasons why:

1) Current seniors will pay more. The premium support structure does not kick in until 2023, so current seniors will remain in the existing Medicare program. But should Romney/Ryan repeal the Affordable Care Act’s savings, beneficiaries will face higher cost sharing and premiums (particularly for preventive services) and seniors who have received prescription drug discounts, will now pay more for their medications. What’s more, Romney/Ryan would lower Medicaid spending significantly beginning next year, shifting federal spending to states and beneficiaries, and increasing costs for the 9 million Medicare recipients who are dependent on Medicaid.

2) Cost shift to future retirees. The average beneficiary will receive a premium support credit of $7,500 in 2023 to purchase coverage in traditional Medicare or private insurance. But that amount will only grow at a rate of GDP plus 1.5 percentage points and will not keep up with health care costs. So while the federal government will spend less on the program, seniors will pay more in premiums.

3) Private insurers will charge more. Private plans lack the market clout and efficiencies of traditional Medicare, experience higher profits and administrative costs, and will charge more for the same coverage seniors currently enjoy in the traditional program.

4) Private insurers will cherry pick the healthiest beneficiaries. The existing private plans in Medicare — insurers that participate in Medicare Advantage — have long attracted the healthiest, lowest-cost enrollees from the Medicare population. Without robust regulations, private insurers will have an incentive to ramp up benefits that attract healthier seniors (i.e. preventive services), while playing down care that sicker beneficiaries rely on (i.e. chemotherapy or services to manage expensive chronic conditions). If healthier applicants leave the program, premiums for traditional Medicare will increase.

5) Medicare will yield fewer savings. As some seniors opt out of traditional Medicare and enter into private coverage, “Medicare’s market share will fall and neither Medicare nor any single private insurer would have sufficient market share to negotiate provider prices as low as Medicare can achieve.”

Read the full report here or check out this infographic:

* romenymedicarechart2.png (35.26 KB, 336x433 - viewed 188 times.)

* romneymedicarechart1.png (38.82 KB, 346x455 - viewed 194 times.)

* romneymedicarchart.png (511.97 KB, 536x1024 - viewed 206 times.)
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« Reply #134 on: Aug 25, 2012, 06:54 AM »

Romney: ‘No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 24, 2012 13:28 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came the closest yet on Friday to personally embracing the so-called birther movement’s theory that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born,” the former Massachusetts governor told a group of supporters in Michigan. “Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital.”

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” he added. “They know that this the place that we were born and raised.”

Late last year, Romney’s son, Matt, also promoted the theory that the president was not born in the United States.

Stumping for his dad in Concord, New Hampshire, Matt Romney told a group of senior citizens that the multimillionaire candidate might not release his tax returns until Obama releases his birth certificate, a document that was made public long ago.

“He has not said that he will not do it,” the younger Romney said of the tax returns, sounding like the son of a politician. “He has also not said that he will. I think it’s just a matter of time until that issue comes up. So, I don’t know the answer to that. I’m not sure he knows the answer to that.”

“I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things then maybe he’d do it,” he joked.

Matt Romney later told KITV that he was “satisfied” the president was born in Hawaii.


Romney birth certificate joke blasted as ‘racism’ and ‘gutterball politics’

By Muriel Kane
Friday, August 24, 2012 20:22 EDT

Mitt Romney can’t seem to stop telling people in Michigan how much he feels at home there, but perhaps he should have stuck to praising the height of the trees. A comment he made on Friday morning — that in Michigan “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised” — is now drawing fire from all sides.

Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a scathing criticism, telling MSNBC, “This is the kind of gutterball [sic] politics that will and should turn the American people off. This is a pattern. Mitt Romney has questioned repeatedly over the last several months whether the president understands America, whether he understands freedom — he’s wrapped his arms around Donald Trump, one of the originators of the birther movement, so we’ve seen a pattern here.”

Rachel Maddow made a similar observation, pointing out on Twitter, “Today’s remarks follow 5 straight Romney ads about Obama being the president of lazy welfare recipients taking your $. Not subtle.”

However, the harshest words may have come from Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times editorial page.

“Politicians sometimes think they can get away with saying something profoundly offensive or just plain stupid by acting like it was a joke,” Rosenthal wrote. “It never works, just like it didn’t work today when Mr. Romney shamelessly played the birther card in what seems like an increasingly desperate campaign against President Obama.”

“Today’s crack was way over the line,” he continued. “His audience laughed and applauded, probably not because they thought Mr. Romney was doing hilarious stand-up comedy, but because they knew exactly what he was up to. … It’s racism, pure and simple.”

Later in the day, Romney attempted to do damage control, telling CBS News that his remarks were “not a swipe” at president Obama. “This was fun about us, and coming home,” he insisted. “And humor, you know — we’ve got to have a little humor in a campaign.”

The harm had been done, however, and Romney’s attempted explanation seemed to ring hollow. Even Cher got into the act, tweeting enthusiastically, “lip bitting over! Mitt Romney ‘NO ONES EVER ASKED 2 SEE MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE’ Ya No Why FOOL? U make ‘WONDER BREAD LOOK DARK & MYSTERIOUS.’”


Romney claims Mormon faith dictates tax return secrecy

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, August 24, 2012 12:16 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a new reason for keeping his financial details secret from the American people: his Mormon faith.

Speaking to Parade Magazine, Ann Romney said their tithing to the Mormon Church is so meaningful and personal, she cries every time they sign over a check. “So do I,” Mitt added, “but for a different reason.”

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” he’s quoted saying. “This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.”

The statement opens a fresh front in the rhetorical war on Romney’s campaign over the candidate’s refusal to detail more than two years of his financial history, and represents yet another significant reversal for Romney, who bragged to Parade Magazine and Fox News just earlier this year that he’s given millions to the church and regularly tithes 10 percent of his pre-tax income.

But even that claim was problematic for Romney, who was dinged by conservatives after the two years of tax returns he released showed he only donated 7 percent to the church in 2010. The same year, Romney gave an additional 7 percent of his income to charitable groups like the Friends of the George W. Bush Library, Harvard Business School and the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.

Every presidential nominee over more than 40 years has released at least 12 years of tax returns — including Romney’s also-Mormon father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney — although it is not required by law.

Because Romney is one of the most wealthy individuals to ever seek the presidency, the Obama campaign has constantly hammered him over the refusal to release his returns. Team Obama even promised last week to drop their attacks on Romney’s tax return secrecy if the former Massachusetts governor releases just three more years of returns, but the Romney campaign turned down their offer.

Update: Watch Romney boast to Fox News about paying tithes

In the January 22, 2012 episode of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Romney whether he believed his support for the Mormon Church would pose a problem for his outreach to Christians.

“The Bible speaks about providing tithes and offerings,” he replied. “I made a commitment to my church a long, long time ago that I would give 10 percent of my income to the church, and I followed through on that commitment.”

Romney’s comments on tithing begin at 9:53 in the video below.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com


Romney snooping on Americans’ private data to sniff out potential donors

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, August 24, 2012 17:19 EDT

In hopes of identifying untapped Republican donors, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has secretly employed a data-mining firm based in Fort Worth, Texas to crunch thousands of minute, many times private details about Americans living in more than 120 million households, The Associated Press revealed on Friday.

The AP noted that Romney’s campaign hasn’t yet reported paying the firm any money, and neither has the Republican National Committee. However, a source within Romney’s campaign told AP reporter Jack Gillum that the candidate has hired Fort Worth-based Buxton Co. to provide what amounts to sales leads for the campaign’s fundraising staff. CEO Tom Buxton confirmed the claim, but the Romney campaign had no comment.

Buxton brags that it has “one of the largest databases of consumer information anywhere,” tracking more than 75,000 different characteristics about each person, including “brand loyalties, lifestyle choices, hobbies, purchasing behavior and media preferences.”

Data collected by Buxton and other private intelligence shops in the data-mining business is often gathered quietly, behind the scenes by companies that buy and sell massive quantities of personal information. That information includes things like credit card purchases, health carde and Internet search histories, churchgoing habits, Facebook posts, music tastes, favorite activities and much, much more, all of which can be combed to reveal startling personal insights — like knowing whether a woman is pregnant before she’s even told anyone, as big box retailer Target did earlier this year in a case that set off alarms about how deep big data actually reaches.

The entrance of Buxton in the presidential race could give Romney an advantage of President Barack Obama’s big data efforts, which so far have focused on the comparatively limited world of social media networks like Facebook to help target and influence voters and drum up donations. It’s also the first major move the Romney campaign has made into the realm of big data, and if Buxton is as successful as they’ve been helping Fortune 500 companies maximize profits, it could help him continue to widen his financial lead on the president.

However, it could also prove alarming to Romney’s core constituency among elderly, white, wealthy conservatives, 83 percent of whom told the Lares Institute last month that they are very concerned about how their private information is being used. Privacy management firm TRUSTe also said in February that 90 percent of adults worry about companies snooping on their private information, warning that too much snooping and customer personalized marketing can undermine trust.


Ryan on abortion exceptions: Rape is just another ‘method of conception’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 24, 2012 13:02 EDT

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says that he personally believes that rape is just another “method of conception” and not an excuse to allow abortions.

During an interview with WJHL this week, Ryan was asked his view about Rep. Todd Akin, who recently asserted that women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

“Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” WJHL reporter Josh Smith wondered.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted that responses like this were probably the reason that Romney is refusing to take any questions about Akin or abortion.

“In this case, when Ryan says ‘the method of conception’ is irrelevant, he’s talking about rape,” Benen wrote. “In other words, the Republicans’ vice presidential nominee clearly believes the government should force women to take their pregnancy to term if they are impregnated by a rapist.”

“Republicans can only distance themselves so much from Todd Akin before we realize they share his views.”

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