Wednesday, May 30, 2012

While Fox Demonizes The Poor, The Rich Skip Out On Income Taxes

by Simon Maloy/Media Matters

A great deal of Fox News' on-air resources are devoted to insulating the wealthy from the ignominy of criticism. Watch a few hours of Fox and you'll see reports on how the rich -- or "so-called rich," per thehilarious network parlance -- are an incorruptible force for good who suffer mightily under the onerous burden of the lowest tax rates since Reagan.
The real villains in Fox News' economic calculus are the poor. In the Murdoch network's view, the economically disadvantaged lack shame and "the richness of spirit." They're "ruining the economy" with their "entitlement mindset" and "laziness," and have no reason to complain given that they own microwaves. This morning the networked teased John Stossel's appearance on The O'Reilly Factortonight, during which the mustachioed glibertarian prop comic will explain how the American poor are "living the good life."

But more than anything else, Fox News complains that the poor just don't pay enough in taxes. "Forty-six percent of Americans pay no taxes at all," is a common, inaccurate refrain from Fox hosts. According to chief poor-bashing correspondent Stuart Varney, the impoverished can take advantage of the earned income tax credit just like drug dealers.
While Fox focuses on the poor, more and more of America's wealthiest are sloughing off what tax burden they have. A new report from the IRS found that in 2009, over 20,000 U.S. households earning over $200,000 annually paid no income taxes in the U.S., and over 10,000 households "showed no worldwide income tax liability." Those 20,000 households represent 0.53 percent of all top earners, anincrease from 0.51 percent in 2008, and "more than double the percentages of any other year in the study's history." That speaks to a dysfunctional tax system. Forget all the talk about "fair share" -- these people are paying nothing in income taxes.
This doesn't mesh with the Fox News motif of the mooching poor who duck out on taxes so they can buy hi-falutin' kitchen appliances, so we shouldn't expect too much coverage of the IRS's findings. One could easily envision Fox's talking heads praising top-earners for ducking out of their tax liability. After all, the harshest criticism Neil Cavuto could marshal against Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, whorenounced his citizenship to avoid taxation, was that he seemed "a little selfish."

Voter referendum halted over font size

Republican groups plan 1.8 billion dollars in donations to Romney

MDP Files Complaint Against Speaker Bolger, Rep. Schmidt, and Bolger COS Miller Allen for Violating State Law

From Michigan Democratic Party

Complaint Alleges State Employees Engaged in Illegal Election Activity and Used State Resources for Election Work

LANSING – Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer today filed an MCFA Section 57 complaint with the Michigan Department of State alleging House Speaker Jase Bolger, Rep. Roy Schmidt, and Bolger Chief of Staff Suzanne Miller Allen violated state law. The complaint alleges the Speaker’s office used state resources and state employees to engage in illegal campaign activity.

Bolger’s staffer, Michelle McQuiston, notarized Schmidt’s GOP affidavit as well as his Democratic candidate withdrawal form. The complaint also alleges that Bolger, Miller Allen, and Schmidt used state phones, offices, and emails to plan and execute Schmidt’s withdrawal as a Democrat and re-filing as a Republican.

“Not only did these three apparently conspire to commit election fraud, but they also did it on state time using state resources,” Brewer said. “Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to help execute election strategy and campaign activity. The Department of State needs to investigate this matter by combing through emails and phone records to see what illegal conduct may have taken place.”

“Republicans seem to think they’re above the law and don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else,” added Brewer. “This deception must be exposed immediately. We expect the Department of State to thoroughly investigate this complaint.”

Holder: Minority rights under threat from voter ID laws

By Chris McGreal, The Guardian via Raw Story
The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has warned that gains of the civil rights struggle hang in the balance in the face of a determined effort by many states to roll back laws ensuring the right to vote.
Holder told a Washington conference on Wednesday that there is a “growing need to protect the voting rights of every eligible citizen” amid a flurry of legislation and executive orders in US states ostensibly to prevent election fraud with measures such as requiring proof of identity in order to vote.
The meeting was told the laws are intended to prevent African Americans in particular from voting because because nearly one in four black people lack photo identification.
A Congressman from North Carolina, GK Butterfield, said that if new requirements for voter identification and proof of citizenship in many states, and restrictions on groups mobilising people to vote, had been in place four years ago they would have been likely to cost Barack Obama the presidency.
Holder said that in the past two years the justice department has challenged “two dozen state laws and executive orders from more than a dozen states that could make it significantly harder for many eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012″.
“Despite our nation’s long history of extending voting rights to non-property owners and to women, to people of colour, to Native Americans, and to younger Americans, today a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions and problems that nearly five decades ago so many fought to address,” Holder told a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and black church leaders.
“In my travels across this country I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens who for the first time in their lives now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals and some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang, again, in the balance.”
Nicole Austin-Hillery, legal counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, said that up to 5 million voters could be affected by laws already in place or on hold in the face of legal challenges.
“The efforts underway to change [voting] laws are fast and furious,” she said. “This is not just about voter ID, there are a panoply of changes that have taken place.”
The supreme court has upheld voter ID legislatation and seven states have introduced strict requirements. But 16 southern states require justice department approval for changes to election laws under the 1965 Voting Rights Act because of a history of discrimination. The justice department has used that power to block voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina as likely to discriminate against racial minorities as well as other people.
Holder also pointed up the example of redistricting in Texas for elections to the state legislature and US Congress. He said that electoral maps “were manipulated to give the appearance of minority while minimising minority electoral strength”.
“In December, we objected to South Carolina’s voter ID law after finding, based on the state’s own data, that the proposed change would place an unfair burden on non-white voters. In March we objected to a photo ID requirement in Texas because it would have a disproportionate impact on Hispanic voters,” he said.
Twenty-three other states now require some form of proof of identity in order to be able to vote.
Austin-Hillery said other measures are also likely to have an impact on voting including proof of citizenship in some states and the curbing of early or Sunday voting which many poorer people rely on because they cannot afford to take hours off work on election day.
She said these measures have a disproportionate impact on minorities, old people and students. One in four African Americans and one in five people over 65 lack photo identification. “A lot of Americans say: who doesn’t have ID? But 11% of us don’t have it,” she said.
Republicans in some states claim that the new measures are necessary because voter fraud is so widespread that it is costing the party elections. But a federal investigation and academic studies have not backed up the claim.
Critics, such as Butterfield, say that the real intent is to reduce the black and Hispanic vote which mostly goes to the Democratic party. He compared the new voting requirements to laws passed at the turn of the 20th century that effectively stripped African Americans of the right to vote in southern states and saw black representatives from the south driven from Congress.
“All of this progress that we have made is under assault. There is a right wing conspiracy that is alive and well in this country that is trying to take us back to 1900 and even before,” he said. “What they want to do is not take away the right to vote but if black voter participation can be diminished, even by 10%, it will make that critical difference all across the country.
“President Obama won my state in the last election by 14,000 votes. Had we had a voter ID law in North Carolina he would not have won the state of North Carolina and probably could not have won the presidency.”
Holder said that some of these laws fall foul of two key parts of the Voting Rights Act – section two, which forbids racially discriminatory practices that deny or dilute the vote, and section five, which requires the justice department to approve changes to voting regulations in the 16 states with a history of institutionalised racial discrimination.
Section five was reauthorised by Congress in 2006 by an overwhelming vote. Since then it has come under concerted attack. Between the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and 2010 there were just eight legal challenges to section five. In the past two years there have been nine, of which four are still being fought out in the courts.
Holder sald: “Each of these challenges to section five claims that we attained a new era of electoral equality. That America in 2012 has moved beyond the challenges of 1965 and that section five is no longer necessary. I wish this were the case but the reality is that in jurisdictions across the country both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history.”

Axelrod: Handful of plutocrats trying to buy this government

By Eric W. Dolan/Raw Story
Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Wednesday that billionaires were trying to buy the United States government in the November elections.
“There was a report this morning that the Republican Super PACs, apart from Romney and apart from his own super PAC, intend to spend a billion dollars in this campaign setting up shadow state organizations—district-wide organizations—as well as running media,” he told Current TV host Jennifer Granholm.
“So a handful of plutocrats of billionaires with a special interest agenda are going to try and buy this government in this election, and the stakes of that are pretty profound.”
Politico reported that Republican groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS and Americans For Prosperity plan to spend approximately $1 billion on November’s elections. The Romney campaign and Republican National Committee plan to raise an additional $800 million.
“I’m obviously concerned about the implications for our race, but we’ve braced ourselves and we’ve been talking about this for some time,” Axelrod added. “It’s a concern. It’s one of my big concerns. But for congressional candidates, its gotta be a nightmare. We saw in the last election, in the last 3 weeks of those campaigns, Super PACs swooped in and spent huge amounts of money in the final 3 weeks to influence those congressional races and turned a lot of races with their money. I think you can anticipate that in spades this year.”
Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Fox & Friends Produces 4 Minute Anti-Obama Attack Ad, Then Removes It From Its Website

By Adam Peck/Think Progress
Critics of the Fox News morning program Fox & Friends have often charged the show’s three hosts with essentially providing free airtime to GOP candidates, lawmakers and surrogates with little to no representation from their Democratic counterparts. But Wednesday morning’s foray marks a new low in the network’s willingness to do the Republican Party’s heavy lifting for it.
Fox News produced its own 4 minute attack video disguised as a retrospective of President Obama’s first term in office and aired it as a “Fox & Friends Presents” special. The ad opens with images of cheering voters during the 2008 election, before devolving into a wildly misleading juxtaposition of then-candidate Barack Obama promising change with rising unemployment rates and national debt. Watch it:
At the conclusion of the video, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy thanked one of the show’s producers for editing together the segment “for weeks.” But it only took hours for network brass to perhaps recognize the implications of Fox News producing and airing its own attack ads, because they quickly pulled from the Fox News website with no explanation. Even conservative sites balked at the idea of Fox News producing its own political attack ads.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has long defended his network from charges of bias, explaining–incorrectly–that only the network’s primetime hosts are explicitly partisan. But as this ad clearly demonstrates, the network’s collusion with the Republican party runs much deeper than the 5pm to 10 pm time slots.
Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald notes that Fox Nation “has now posted and tweeted the video, declaring it a: ‘MUST-SEE VIDEO.’”
“The package that aired on ‘Fox & Friends’ was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network,” Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming at Fox News, told Yahoo News. “This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”

GOP Candidate Who Flirted With Birtherism Claims Comments Had ‘Nothing To Do With Obama’

By Igor Volsky/Think Progress
Michigan Senate candidate Peter Hoekstra (R) defended his flirtation with birtherism during an appearance on CNN this afternoon and claimed that his proposal to establish a government panel to ensure that future presidential candidates are born in the United States is unrelated to the false allegations that President Obama was born in Kenya. “This has nothing to do about Barack Obama, this has nothing to do about the past, this is all looking forward,” he said. Moments later, however, he failed to affirm that Obama’s birth certificate is real and merely insisted that nobody has “discredited” its authenticity. Asked why he was proposing to further expand the role of the federal government, Hoekstra explained, “I’m all about solutions.” Watch it:
“I’m not participating in [the birther] debate,” Hoekstra added. “I think that this issue has been settled.” He also said that he saw “no connection at all” between this proposal and his racist ad depicting a Chinese worker mockingly thanking Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Romney Economic Adviser Says Romney Plans To Undermine Consumer Protections In Wall Street Reform Law

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress
Mitt Romney, who last night secured the Republican presidential nomination with his win in Texas’ primary, has already made clear his desire to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in response to the financial crisis of 2008. But according to Glenn Hubbard, one of Romney’s economic advisers, even if Romney can’t get rid of the law wholesale, he’d still like to dismantle important aspects of it:
For example, he said Mr. Romney would propose:
– replacing the new system for dismantling failing financial companies that was created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law with a new system, which he declined to specify.
– a new system of consumer financial regulation that either moves the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outside of the Federal Reserve or breaks up the new agency and places the powers within existing financial regulators.
That Romney would break up and disperse the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s duties amongst existing financial regulators shows just how little he cares to address the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
After all, it was the fact that consumer protection responsibilities were dispersed throughout the regulatory system — and were no regulator’s primary responsibility — that allowed banks to get away with so much pernicious behavior. The creation of the CFPB was meant to address this problem, giving consumers at least one regulator explicitly tasked with looking out for their interests.
Romney, of course, has been raking in money from Wall Street interests who fought the creation of the Bureau tooth and nail. Back in January, Romney called the Bureau the “mostpowerful and unaccountable bureaucracy in the history of our nation” and falsely claimed that it is “headed by a powerful and unaccountable bureaucrat with unprecedented authority over the economy.”


By Ian Millhiser/Think Progress
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a freshman senator with less experience in government than former half-term governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, is widely viewed as a possible running mate to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In an interview with CNN’s John King, however, one of President Bush’s top lieutenants threw cold water on this idea, saying Rubio is not qualified for the nation’s number two job. According to Gonzales, “Wisdom comes from experience. It comes from living. It comes from success. It comes from failure, and I just think that the country needs to have people in positions of leadership who have that level of experience that’s important to serve effectively as president and as vice-president.” Watch it:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Live Action's New Planned Parenthood Attack Manufactures "Widespread" Sex-Selective Abortion Problem

by Justin Berrier/Media Matters
Discredited anti-choice activist Lila Rose launched her latest video hoax, claiming that a highly edited video proves that Planned Parenthood is facilitating rampant "gendercide" in America. But statistics show that sex-selection simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
Rose on Tuesday released undercover footage purporting to show a clinic worker in Austin, Texas, discussing health care options with a woman who claimed to want to terminate her pregnancy if she was carrying a girl. Live Action's accompanying petition suggests that Planned Parenthood is complicit in "Widespread sex-selection by means of abortion." This video hoax is part of a campaign aimed at "exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb."
But the first video demonstrates that Rose can show no such effort to facilitate rampant sex-selection abortion. 
In a companion post to the video, Live Action pointed to global statistics showing sex-selection in countries such as China and suggested a similar problem occurs in the United States, warning:
U.S. census data and national vital statistics show that indeed, sex-selection is a growing problem in America. Americans are employing sex-selection techniques in their reproductive decisions. 
But actual evidence shows that sex-selection in America is neither widespread nor growing. According to the CIA's World Factbook, the gender ratio at birth in the United States is 1.05 males to females, a rate that the Guttmacher Institute calls "squarely within biologically normal parameters." The United States simply does not have a gender imbalance that would indicate that sex-selection occurs with any regularity.
Further, most abortions are performed before gender is identifiable. The Centers for Disease Controlreported that in 2008, 91.4% of abortions were performed before the 13th week of pregnancy. Robert Shmerling of Harvard Health Publications noted that gender identification by means of ultrasound, by far the most popular method, is usually only available by the 16th to 20th week. Although there are methods to detect gender earlier on in a pregnancy, "these procedures are usually performed to detect potential health problems such as Down's syndrome, spina bifida, or cystic fibrosis, not to find out a baby's gender."
As Planned Parenthood's Leslie Kantor and Carolyn Westhoff recently noted, Planned Parenthood "finds the concept of sex selection deeply unsettling" and the organization "does not offer sex determination services; our ultrasound services are limited to medical purposes." Kantor and Westhoff further noted:
Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other.
Planned Parenthood's mission mandates that it provides information to patients on all of their legal options in an environment free of judgment, and one that respects the privacy, rights, and choices of the individual. Explaining legal options to women who ask about them is a fulfillment of the organization's goal "to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual."
Attempting to tie Planned Parenthood to a problem that does not occur with any regularity in the United States is further indication that Live Action, and its founder, Lila Rose, are willing to engage indishonest and misleading campaigns to smear an organization with a history of dedication toimproving women's health.
UPDATE: In a statement to The Huffington Post, Planned Parenthood responded to Live Action's latest attack:
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Tuesday the staffer in the video "did not follow our protocol" for dealing with "a highly unusual patient scenario."
"Planned Parenthood insists on the highest quality patient care, and if we ever become aware of a staff member not meeting these high standards we take swift action," she said in a written statement. "Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member's employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter."
This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide "high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into" its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

Stimulus facts get in the way of a good story

Poll: Michigan's chance of being battleground state slim as Obama holds wide lead over Romney

By Dawson Bell/Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s chance of becoming a battleground state in this year’s presidential election appears to be fading as President Obama currently holds a wide lead here over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll released today.

The poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firmed based in North Carolina, found Obama leading Romney 53% to 39%.

That was little changed from the last time PPP conducted a Michigan poll in February, when Obama led 54%-38%.

PPP’s Tom Jenson said Michigan native Romney appears not to be benefitting from his longstanding ties to the state. He is viewed favorably by only 35% of voters, compared to 57% who have a negative view.

Obama, by contrast, is viewed favorably by 53%, compared to 41% unfavorable.

Jensen said Romney would not improve his standing here by putting Gov. Rick Snyder on the ticket either. Snyder’s own favorability has declined since February, according to the poll, from 40% favorable and 47% unfavorable to 37% favorable and 52% unfavorable.

PPP surveyed 500 Michigan voters between May 24-27 using automated telephone calls. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Congressman McCotter the Latest Republican to Engage in Election Fraud?

From Michigan Democratic Party:

Michigan SOS Investigating McCotter Signatures for Possible Fraud

LANSING – It’s become a growing theme in the Michigan Republican Party – deceive the voters and commit crimes just to win an election. Congressman Thad McCotter may be the latest Republican to commit election fraud after the Michigan Secretary of State announced it was investigating his campaign for possible fraud and forgery.

McCotter’s campaign turned in 2,000 signatures to get him on the ballot, but the Secretary of State determined more than half of those were invalid. Did McCotter or his campaign staff forge signatures to get him on the ballot?

“Republicans seem to think they don’t have to play by the same rules or follow the law,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said. “First, it was Roy Schmidt and Speaker Jase Bolger conspiring to put a fake Democrat on the ballot in House District 76, which has led to a Michigan State Police investigation for perjury and election fraud. Now, McCotter’s campaign may be guilty of forging signatures just to ensure McCotter got on the ballot. This is no longer an isolated incident. This is a pattern of fraud and illegal activity in the Michigan Republican Party.”

“Why do Republicans think they’re above the law?” asked Brewer. “These are serious charges and must be investigated thoroughly. Republicans are showing they are not fit to lead. They know voters will hold them accountable for their disastrous policies over the past two years. The voters deserve to know immediately whether Schmidt, Bolger, and McCotter are guilty of any crimes. It’s time for them all to come clean and tell what they know.”

Romney campaign quietly scrubs all mentions of anti-labor adviser Peter Schaumber

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story
The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has scrubbed its website of all mentions of its former top labor adviser, Peter Schaumber, following the resignation of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Terence Flynn, who is accused of leaking internal government documents to Schaumber in violation of federal law.
Specifically, the Romney campaign appears to have spirited away a column published last Sept. by Schaumber that blames working people for America’s sagging economy and suggests that labor unions may no longer even be necessary. Schaumber was named Romney’s top labor policy adviser less than a week after writing that column, but he resigned in April following allegations involving improper leaks from Flynn.
Republican attorney Terence Flynn, who secured his spot on the NLRB thanks to a recess appointment by President Barack Obama in January, resigned his post on Sunday. Two successive NLRB Inspector General (IG) reports, one of them published last Friday, allege that Flynn gave internal documents to two former NLRB board members, including Schaumber. The IG began investigating the leak as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities while on duty.
The first IG report on Flynn’s activities, published in March, triggered Schaumber’s exit from the Romney campaign less than a month later. Schaumber, the former chairman of the NLRB, was appointed by President George W. Bush and served during Flynn’s time as an NLRB attorney. The IG concluded that Flynn improperly leaked internal documents in 2010 and 2011 to Schaumber and Peter Kirsanow, an attorney for the National Association of Manufacturers and former NLRB board member.
A second IG report (PDF), published Friday by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back. It claims that an examination of Flynn’s government hard drive revealed numerous communications between he and Schaumber detailing internal NLRB deliberations and efforts to coordinate Schaumber’s messaging in the media.
“Given Mr. Flynn’s position as a Chief Counsel and his years of service, he knew, or should have known, that he had a duty to maintain the confidence of the information that he received in the performance of his official duties,” the report concludes. “We also find that the improper disclosure of information to former Members Kirsanow and Schaumber amounted to a conversion of the information for the private benefit of former Member Kirsanow and his client, the National Association of Manufacturers, and former Member Schaumber’s labor relations consulting and/or legal practice.”
Flynn’s attorney insists his client’s actions were not illegal. The Romney campaign, however, seems to be hedging its bets.
On Sept. 6, 2011, less than a week after he published an editorial in The National Reviewthat quoted an NLRB board member’s dissenting opinion contained in privileged documents leaked by Flynn, Schaumber published a column on MittRomney.comthat placed blame for America’s economic malaise squarely upon organized labor. Romney announced just six days later that he’d picked Schaumber to co-chair his labor policy advisory group.
That Sept. 6 column, along with every other mention of Schaumber, has since been scrubbed from Romney’s website. Despite the campaign’s attempt to send its former adviser down the memory hole, Schaumber’s anti-labor essay was preserved on Google Cache and archived by Raw Story.
In the column, Schaumber suggests that organized labor will simply have to relinquish bargaining power to management or “be satisfied with a smaller footprint in the private sector.” Schaumber goes on to claim that the Obama administration’s NLRB has too often favored the rights of working people, which he believes has impeded economic growth. He also adds that, in his view, laws protecting workers’ rights — on the books todaybecause of union activism — have now made unionization of private sector employees “no longer necessary.”
Schaumber additionally suggests that if President Obama is elected to another term, it will “virtually guarantee [an NLRB] controlled by union partisans whose goal will be to continue to augment union power at the expense of workers’ rights and legitimate management interests,” saying, “Mitt Romney offers a different future.”
“He understands the harm to the economy caused by activist bureaucrats who make the law unstable and unpredictable to increase union power,” Schaumber opines. “In his extensive private sector experience, he has seen firsthand the importance of flexibility in the workplace and a cooperative, rather than combative, relationship between labor and management.”
President Obama has in recent weeks taken to criticizing Romney’s treatment of workersduring his time as CEO of the private equity firm Bain Capital. Though most companies under Bain’s management did in fact stay in business, many faced significant cuts to workers’ pay, benefits and pensions, and President Obama has singled out a slew of firms that Bain essentially destroyed.
One particular case highlighted by the president’s reelection campaign details how Bain purchased majority stake in a Kansas City steel mill, Worldwide Grinding Systems, then changed changed its name to GST Steel and proceeded to slash employees’ monthly pension payouts, renege on a promise of health insurance and stack the company with massive debts.
When GST Steel finally went bankrupt less than a decade later, over 750 employees lost their jobs and Bain threw out their severance pay and pensions. The federal government was ultimately forced to pay $44 million to bail out the GST Steel’s pension fund, but Romney’s firm walked away with more than $16 million in profits.
Romney’s website explains that the candidate believes strengthening organized labor is “probably the last thing” America needs, and that as president he will encourage states to curb or eliminate union rights to collectively bargain for better worker pay and benefits.
The Romney campaign did not respond to Raw Story’s request for comment. It is not clear specifically when the Romney campaign removed Schaumber from its website.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer tells Trump: ‘You’re beginning to sound a little ridiculous’

By Eric W. Dolan/Raw Story
During an argumentative interview on Tuesday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer told real estate mogul Donald Trump that he was being “ridiculous” by continually questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
“Obama does not like the issue of where he was born,” Trump said. “His own publisher, as you know, using his words, said he was born in Kenya and he lived in Indonesia.”
“And I will tell you, it’s not an issue that he likes talking about,” he added. “So what he does is uses reverse psychology on people like you, so that you report like, oh, gee, he’s thrilled with it. He does not like that issue because it’s hitting very close to home. You know it and he knows it.”
After arguing about the long-form birth certificate last year, Blitzer told Donald he was “beginning to sound a little ridiculous.”
“No, I think you are, Wolf,” Trump shot back. “Let me tell you something. I think you sound ridiculous.”
Trump complained that he wanted to talk about China and OPEC, but Blitzer continued to press Trump on why he believed Obama was not a natural born citizen.
“You can read many, many articles on the authenticity of the certificate,” Trump said, defending the so-called birther conspiracy. “You can read many articles from just recently as to what the publisher printed in a brochure as to what Obama told him, as to where his place of birth is.”
Obama has been dogged by conspiracy theories about his eligibility to serve as President of the United States since 2008. Earlier this month it was revealed that a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Obama’s former literary agents claimed he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” The agency said it was merely a fact checking error.
Watch video, courtesy of CNN, below:

Romney Silent On Trump, Demanded Perry ‘Repudiate’ Pastor Who Called Mormonism A Cult

By Igor Volsky/Think Progress

Mitt Romney refused to directly repudiate Donald Trump’s claims that President Obama was born in Kenya just hours before he is scheduled to appear with the reality T.V. star for a fund raiser in Las Vegas, NV. “A candidate can’t be responsible for everything that their supporters say,” Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN on Friday, before insisting that the former Massachusetts governor “accepts the fact that [Obama] was born in Hawaii.”
But Romney has previously demanded that his political opponents publicly rebuke supporters who make false accusations about Mormonism. In October, Romney aggressively confronted evangelical pastor and Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress, who claimed that Romney is not Christian and is part of a Mormon cult. Romney called on Perry to denounce Jeffress:
“Gov. Perry selected an individual to introduce him who then used religion as a basis for which he said he would endorse Gov. Perry and a reason to not support me. Gov. Perry then said that introduction just hit it out of the park,” Romney said.
“I just don’t believe that that kind of divisiveness based upon religion has a place in this country. I believe in the spirit of the founders, when they suggested in crafting this country that we would be a nation that tolerated other people, different faiths — that we’d be a place of religious diversity,” Romney continued.
He concluded, “I would call upon Gov. Perry to repudiate the sentiment and the remarks made by that pastor.”
Ironically, Perry spokesman Mark Miner responded to Romney’s outrage with the same sentiment that Romney is now expressing towards those who have called on him to directly repudiate Trump. “The governor does not agree with every single issue of people that endorsed him or people that he meets,” Miner said. “This political rhetoric from Gov. Romney isn’t going to create one new job or help the economy. He’s playing a game of deflection and the people of this country know this.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) — a Romney surrogate and potential Vice Presidential nominee — also condemned Perry, saying, that any candidate that would associate with such comments “is beneath the office of president of the United States.”

Dirty Tricks In Wisconsin: Secret Group Shuts Down Phones Of Scott Walker’s Democratic Challenger With Spam Texts

By Scott Keyes/Think Progress
One week before Wisconsinites vote on whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a conservative group is engaged in dirty tricks that have shut down the Democratic challenger’s campaign phones.
According to multiple reports, independently verified by ThinkProgress, the following spam text message is being blasted out to many Wisconsin cell phones:
SUBJ:Union Puppet
MSG:Tom Barrett is a Union Puppet who will give Union Thugs everything they want. Call & ask why 414-271-8050
The phone number is that of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign headquarters. The influx of calls following this spam text message has shut down phones at Barrett’s campaign, just seven days before Election Day and right as get-out-the-vote efforts are ramping up.
If you live in Wisconsin and have received this message or have any tips about its origin, leave a comment below.

Virtual Blackout From National Media On Voter Suppression In Florida

By Adam Peck/Think Progress

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has directed his administration to purge the state’s voting rolls of thousands of registered voters prior to the November election. But his list, which purports to include only “non-citizens,” targets mostly Democrats and Hispanics and, as ThinkProgress hasdocumented, may disenfranchise hundreds of citizens who are eligible to vote.
The story of a sitting governor of a state with a history of presidential election shenanigansknowingly purging his own, eligible constituents from the voter rolls is the definition of major news, and yet remarkably, in the first five months of the year, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today have published a total of zero articles about Scott’s actions. The New York Times did slightly better, printing one story on page 16 of the Friday, May 18th edition. The article ran under the credulous headline: “Florida Steps Up Effort Against Illegal Voters.”
Florida’s local newspapers, led by The Miami Herald, have been far more diligent in reporting the governor’s effort to disenfranchise eligible voters. While it may be easy to dismiss this as local fare, the implications of Scott’s purge could potentially swing the presidential election come November. Remember, months before anyone had ever heard of hanging chads, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (R) conducted a similar cleansing of the voter rolls in 2000, which resulted in thousands of eligible voters being knocked off the rolls in time for the infamous Gore v. Bush election.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Friday: The Amazing Spider-Man trailer 3

Ailes' Whopper: Fox News Employs 1 Conservative, 24 Liberals

by Eric Boehlert/Media Matters
Didn't see that one coming did you?
According to the Fox News chairman, that's how the payroll math adds up inside Fox News: The channel has just "one" conservative opinion host on the air, but employs 24 liberal contributors.
Ailes made the head-scratching pronouncement during two recent campus lectures. The first came at the University of North Carolina [emphasis added]:
Well, first, I separate out news from programming. If you're talking about programming, we noticed that all the talk shows on the other networks basically had progressive or liberal talk show hosts. We have one conservative on FOX News, Sean Hannity. Quite open about it, that's what he is, that's what he does, that's his framework, that's where he comes from. Others tend to be libertarians or populists or you can't really tell.
Last week, according to reports from Ailes' lecture at Ohio University, the Fox chairman boasted about the array of progressives he employs:  
Ailes defended his network, saying he was not politically biased compared with competitors MSNBC and CNN. Ailes said he employs 24 "liberals," which distinguishes him from those networks who feature fewer dissenting opinions.
You see the point Ailes is pushing? It's that contrary to Fox's carping critics, the cable channel actually is a bastion of liberal opinion makers and viewers have to look hard to find the one conservative host. 
For the record then, according to Ailes none of these Fox News opinioin hosts are "conservative":
Eric Bolling (compares Obama to drug dealer)
Steve Doocy  (calls Rick Santorum "Mr. Spectacular")
Brian Kilmeade (asks why Obama is "so determined to bring us down")
Gretchen Carlson (announces voters "love love love" Herman Cain's tax plan)
Andrea Tantaros (former Republican aide; says "thank God" Tea Party members in Congress are "driving a lot of the policy in Washington")
Neil Cavuto (says Robert Reich is a "sanctimonious twit" for suggesting the rich should pay more in taxes)
Dana Perino (former Bush White House press secretary; claims Obama administration doesn't "really want any success" on the economy)
Bill O'Reilly (calls Senator Al Franken "a despicable gutter snipe")