Posts Tagged Americans
During the last 30 years, we have become a poorer country.
As Peter Edelman reports in the American Prospect, “we have two basic poverty problems in the United States. One is the prevalence of low-wage work. The other concerns those who have almost no work.
“Low-wage work encompasses people with incomes below twice the poverty line – not poor but struggling all the time to make ends meet. They now total 103 million, which means that fully one-third of the population has an income below what would be $36,000 for a family of three.
In the bottom tier (of this group) are 20.5 million people – 6.7 percent of the population – who are in deep poverty, with an income less than half the poverty line (below $9,000 for a family of three). Some six million have no income at all other than food stamps.”
The pay of Americans of working age in the middle of income distribution has grown less since the mid-1980s than in every other developed nation.
The statistics on child poverty are dismal – of the 35 most economically advanced countries, the United States ranks 34th – edging out only Romania.
Despite these realities, our leaders in Washington continue to tell us we are the greatest country in the world.
And, they add, as long as the playing field is level, we can out-produce and out-compete all the rest.
But, of course, the playing field isn’t level and hasn’t been level for a long time. It has become increasingly tilted against us because of the action they, our leaders, have taken.
Thirty years ago, as global trade began to grow, the United States presented the most lucrative market for consumer and industrial products in the world – every major country wanted to sell us its goods.
With this leverage, our leaders in Washington had the opportunity to set the ground rules, to establish a balanced-trade model for the world that could benefit American manufacturers and workers alike. Yes, you might sell into our markets, but in return you must allow us to sell into your markets in a roughly equivalent way.
Our leaders failed us. They sold out to the multinational companies in our country and other countries and allowed the free-trade, deficit-trade model that has destroyed our jobs and wrecked our economy to become the norm.
Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter refused to impose tariffs on shoe imports from Brazil and shoe industry workers dropped from 172,000 to 15,000.
In 1985, after thousands of textile industry jobs had been lost to imports, Congress passed legislation to impose higher tariffs on textile imports but Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill.
U.S. textile industry workers fell from 728,000 to 120,000.
One provision of the free-trade agreement recently signed by Barack Obama with South Korea allows up to 65 percent of the components of many products, including automobiles, to come from other countries (such as China and Mexico) rather than the U.S. and Korea. Even so, the resulting products can still be considered “American” or “Korean” and receive duty-free treatment.
If we are ever to become the richer country we once were, we must rise up and demand that our leaders in Washington switch their allegiance to us who elect them and away from the leaders of the multinational companies and the big banks who pay for their electoral campaigns. Democracy or Plutocracy? It’s up to us.
- Every sixth person in Estonia live in relative poverty (shaan.typepad.com)
- Estonia has the highest rate of single mothers living in poverty in Europe (shaan.typepad.com)
- 20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)
- We could have alleviated poverty in 2012. We didn’t. So we have to keep demanding we do so in 2013. (taxresearch.org.uk)
- Government Assistance … Humph (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Quit Being So Naïve, Government Subsidies Won’t Eradicate Poverty (triplepundit.com)
- Consultation on measuring child poverty (gmwrag.wordpress.com)
- 75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe (flyoverpress.wordpress.com)
- Government Assistance … Humph (youviewedblog.wordpress.com)
- Following the Money: Examining the Evidence on Pro-poor Budgeting (blog-pfm.imf.org)
Spineless & Reckless ~ A Dangerous Combination for America
SUFFERING & “SERVING” IN FRANCE
Susan Cardoza makes some important points in her article today about the presumptive republican nominee, Willard Mitt Romney. She writes today about how he is re-coloring the fact that he used his daddy’s money, political power and religion to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam war while simultaneously recklessly poking the stick in the eye of potential conflict for Americans.
Given that he now feigns regret over not being able to go to Vietnam because he was forced to hang in France and serve his faith instead. Imagine- enduring the hardships of the french mansion and peddling his legs off in his position as missionary for the Church of Latter Day Saints while young men like my uncle were returned home in a box that we were told contained pieces of what was left of his body. Or my cousin who suffered such unfathomable nightmares from what he did and saw in Vietnam that he used his gun one last time to take his own life stateside.
Like others in his war hawk clubhouse photo above, this ass has the unconscionable audacity to make light of his conscientious objector behaviour and insult those who gave their lives, limbs and mental health to a war that should never have been fought. A war that this jackass supported – for everyone else that is. He had more important things to do, a higher calling. After all, it is established over and over that Mitt really is just not like the rest of America.
So when you hear him spout off like some tough guy, remember that this spineless amoeba is in good company when it comes to republican war hawks who talk big – but cowered when it really counted. Pathetic. This all gets summed up for me in the added “Romney liked to dress up and play Trooper” story. I will admit, so did I – but my brother and I were 4 and 6 respectively when we did it and my mom was making our uniforms out of my father’s worn out ones because he was a real trooper – an Alaskan State Trooper.
My father saw many like Romney. Big talk and even bigger cowards. In later years my father wrote many regulations for the Department of Public Safety, including screening and hiring practices. Guys like Romney like to wear a badge and carry a gun on their hip, but wash out of the psych evaluations before ever being fitted for a uniform, thank god! What he did, pretending to be a Michigan State Trooper, was illegal. And not only illegal, but to actually go out and pull people over was illegal, dangerous and a complete demonstration of total disregard for the Rule of Law and the impact his behaviour had on others. It is this type of blowhard fake that can stand before us and invite war.
So, vote for this disrespectful coward you hypocrites! As you sit there clinging to your guns and your bibles drooling over the prospect of unseating our first African-America president remember that it is your children and grandchildren that this puke will be sending off to war – certainly not his own. It is your Medicare and Social Security that he will destroy – not his own. It is your descendants that will suffer a lack of access to quality healthcare and education – not his. It is your families that will see their paychecks reduced and benefits cut – not his. It is you who will pay higher grocery prices as federal welfare dries up to farmers across America so that the tax benefits will remain in place to those poor oil companies and the wealthy.
So…go ahead…vote for this fraud! After all, the ReBiblican machine has apparently convinced a huge bloc of you to vote with enthusiasm against your own self-interests and those of your fellow Americans – all so you can feel the satisfaction of getting your spineless white boy in the White House to do the bidding of people that will happily walk all over you and yours. VERY patriotic!
by Susan Cardoza
Recently on a stage with war heroes Mitt Romney praised the sacrifice of the great men and women of every generation who have served in our armed forces. One thing he ommitted is that not only did he not serve when his time came, he received several deferments despite the fact he marched in support of the war in Vietnam. As a matter of fact, the Mormon church as a whole supported the Vietnam war and I imagine there were many who served from the Church – just not the war hawk Willard.
The son of George Romney, then Michigan’s governor, was one of a limited number of Mormon youth chosen as missionaries — a status that protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969 as a “minister of religion or divinity student.” Essentially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints re-routed Romney from Vietnam to the south of France, where he served as a missionary. Mitt Romney spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as a “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants — a Spanish chef and a houseboy.
As a matter of fact he received three more deferments over the next few years and did not stop applying until he figured out his number was too high to be drafted to serve.
So what he claims to revere now is, in fact, a sacrifice the Republican presidential candidate did not himself make. This was a time where we did not have an all volunteer military like we have today. The draft left absolutely no way out – except for fleeing – of being shipped into the horrors of war for the majority of those who set foot on the ground then known as Vietnam.
Those that high-tailed it across the American border into Canada or to other unknown destinations were sentenced to serve time if caught for draft-dodging. Unless, of course, you were uniquely privilege like one Willard Mitt Romney and others like him. George W. Bush comes to mind. No, George didn’t go abroad as a Mormon missionary, but he was able to avoid the draft nonetheless. Massive wealth and political influence buys that type of protection.
President Barack Obama, Romney’s opponent in this year’s campaign, did not serve in the military either, but the Democrat, 50, was a child during the Vietnam conflict and as an adult did not enlist in the voluntary armed forces where the draft had been done away with.
But because Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny. Perhaps if he had been against the war his lack of service would be understandable however when you hawk for a war then refuse to serve yourself, people are going to question your ethics. Yes, they are going to question your ethics when you are so eager to send others off to die for their country, a sacrifice you refused to make in a war you supported. A look at Romney’s actions with regard to Vietnam offers a window into a 1960s world that allowed him to avoid combat as fighting peaked.
From the Political Carnival:
May 20, 1966, a 19-year old Romney, whose father was at the time Michigan’s governor, standing with pro-war University President Wallace Sterling. To the young Romney, anti-war activists hoping to end the draft — and the senseless deaths of nearly 60,000 young American men — should not sit-in, they should sit down and shut up in preparation for potential deployment.
In 1994, when he was running for Senate, Willard told The Boston Herald, “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.”
He makes reckless and irresponsible statements about his eagerness to confront Iran or “Russia”, our “geopolitical enemy” (in his words) and other potential conflicts. And while carelessly threatening to take this country into another war we can ill afford, in lives and dollars, think back to how he evaded the sacrifice when it was his turn to serve and step onto a battlefield. He is joined by a plethora of neo-con war mongers who are on his current staff who themselves have never seen war. According to Romney today, his own words make it impossible to discern whether or not he is now saying that he would or would not have gone to Vietnam. Isn’t that convenient now that it is history?
In 2007 he said this about serving in Vietnam:
that he had “longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam.”
Sure. Right. The reality of the situation is that he didn’t have the courage to go. He didn’t feel it was important enough to him to serve his country at a time of war… Vietnam was a war that the poor and the people who couldn’t afford to go to college served in while people like Mitt holed up in a mansion in France.
It seems that he also liked to impersonate Michigan State Troopers in his youth and, in fact, a few of his staffers in 2007 left the campaign after it was learned they, too, impersonated Massachusetts State Police.
From the National Memo:
When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer – a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.
So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, “Come up, I want to show you something.” When they entered Romney’s room, “and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform.”
Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate’s political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.
Said Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”……..
This habit of lying or flip flopping or even some of the actions that he ruthlessly recalls as “practical jokes” and thought were funny – are all part of a very disturbing pathological pattern. Not only was he cruel in his pranks, he has never, to this day, given a heartfelt apology.
We all do silly things as young people but I would hope at some point in our lives we show sincere misgivings about such actions. Romney is clearly not capable of understanding that these actions even require an apology or re-thinking. We all have changes of heart, but how many times in a lifetime do you change your core values? Apparently the answer is – as many times as you want. For Romney, his ‘values’ appear to remold with each run for public office rather than ever experiencing a sincere epiphany.
So, as it is with most of Romney’s core beliefs, it is not surprising that he has told different stories regarding this time in his life. His recollection of those days and the decisions he made have evolved as well, all in relation to whatever office he is running for at any given time.
The Etch-a-Sketch does not work in real life. In fact, we all know etch-a-sketch is by design – not permanent. All you have to do is turn it over, shake it a bit and you have a clean slate. Yet Republicans are lining up in a row to vote for this man. Have they jumped the shark as well? It would seem so – especially when we are still recovering from the other Frat Boy they elected and gave carte blanche, simply because he claimed he was a born again Christian.
In the real world people who think their values can be changed like an etch-a-sketch have no business leading our country.
- It Is Infuriating That I Can’t Vote For A Fiscal Conservative Without Also Supporting Religious Aggressives (businessinsider.com)
- Cher: I’d ‘kill myself after 1 verse of America the Beautiful!’ (twitchy.com)
- Cher: Romney is ‘spineless racist,’ ‘cretin’; Must fight ‘T-Baggies’ Bachmann and Palin (twitchy.com)
- Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney the Race Baiter at the NAACP (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Romney the Race Baiter (thedailybeast.com)
- Modern conservatives: Spineless capitulators (twtface.com)
- Mitt’s No Racist (thedailybeast.com)
- The Making of America’s Vietnam (wnyc.org)
- Quote of the Day: Did Romney Want to be Booed by the NAACP? (themoderatevoice.com)
- Making a Pitch to the Tea Party in Indiana (nytimes.com)
Small Government Republicans Have Created a Bureaucratic Voter Suppression Nightmare
By: Adalia Woodbury August 19th, 2012
I spent the day reading about people’s personal experiences in adventures to register and acquire ID needed to vote. They include stories of American citizens who are eligible to vote, have voted for decades and who will be denied the vote under this morass of insanity established by the Republicans. It seems ironic that the advocates of “small government” have established a nightmarish and confusing bureaucratic process that will deny Americans the ID they need to exercise their franchise in the name of solving the non-existent problem of voter ID.
The story goes that voter ID protects the weight and value of eligible votes. This conveniently overlooks the fact that denying eligible Americans the right to vote is its own kind of election fraud.
There are stories that speak to a confusing and complicated web of bureaucratic madness created by the alleged advocates of “small government.”
One article, in particular, caught my attention. The author wrote of their own first-hand experience and some others that are reflective of the reality that Americans have been and will be denied the vote.
The author writes of their own difficulties, which I’ll get into in a moment. They also write about an elderly woman who had been a widow for decades but, like many others in a similar position, kept her married name. Her husband died fighting one of our wars. Her son served and died in yet another of our wars. She offered her marriage certificate that proved she was in fact married and that her husband’s death certificate to prove he had in fact died. This is the exchange between that woman and the clerk at the DMV as told by the author:
He was killed in the war….I’ve lived in the same house for over fifty years….you know me.” She was at the brink of tears.
“I understand”, the clerk explained. “Don’t blame me, blame all these bad illegals who are taking advantage of us all and have made it bad for everybody.”
“Well, don’t punish me…I am an American citizen….my husband and son both fought and died in wars for this country and I’m not going to be able to vote?”
The clerk handed her a tissue. “What you will have to do is change your name back to your own name.” She gave her the address and necessary information. “After you have officially changed your name, bring in the official papers and I will be able to issue you a state ID.
The lesson from the author’s story is this: according to a DMV clerk in Kansas, a woman’s married name expires upon the death of her spouse. Who knew.
The author’s own experience begins with a first trip to the Department of Motor vehicles in Kansas to register their new address, get a new Kansas driver’s license and register to vote.
Armed with a vast array of identification proving citizenship and ID many times over, photo ID, signature, proof of residence, this person thought they could accomplish the mission. The documents included their social security card and last statement, passport, birth certificate, credit cards, debit cards, and Military Photo ID.
As they tell it:
The items I used to verify my new address were not accepted because, as the clerk explained, “I have you listed at an address in Chicago and one in Maryland.”
The lesson from this? Owning property in more than one state can be a hazard to your voting rights – unless you’re the Former Governor of Massachusetts and presumed Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney.
According to the Guardian
Meanwhile, Romney appears to have escaped relatively unsinged from the apparently unrelated revelation that he may have committed voter fraud in January 2010, when – despite not owning a house in Massachusetts and having given every appearance of having moved to California – he registered and voted in the Massachusetts special election to replace the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy. Given the GOP’s ongoing use of the “voter fraud” fable to justify modern Jim Crow laws and its highly-publicized persecution of the voter registration group Acorn, an actual case of felony voter fraud committed by the Republican nominee could have been a big story – but Romney was able to tamp down the flames by claiming, not very credibly but also not disprovably, that he and Ann actually were living in their son Tagg’s Belmont, Massachusetts basement in 2010.
Unlike Romney, the author did own several properties, but was not claiming several residencies. The author, however, was unable to register their change of address, get a Kansas driver’s license or their voter registration.
The author returned to the DMV in a second attempt to register their address, get a new driver’s license and register to vote.
I rifled through my documents looking for something acceptable, when the clerk suddenly said, “Oh, I can accept this.” She picked up an unopened letter from my bank and though it was clearly postmarked, SHE OPENED IT! “I have to verify that there has been activity in the last three months.”
Alas, the author did get a new driver’s license and thought they were registered to vote. Of course, that would make things too easy.
After waiting a couple of months without receiving a voter registration card, the author examined the registration, which was printed out at the same time as their new driver’s license. The problem? The registration somehow printed out without printing their first name and middle initial.
The lesson from this is to check the final printed documents to make sure the information is actually printed on them and that information is correct. As the author pointed out, there are people who may not check and will be turned away at the polls. Don’t let that happen to you.
Upon discovering the problem, the author went to the County Clerk’s office where the clerk complained about having to fix errors made by the DMV.
To date, the author does not have a voter registration card.
I decided to check out Kansas’ on line information about voter ID. The site: gotvoterid.com states how “easy” the Kansas’ voter ID law is. All you need is a Kansas ID or a Passport.
Just for kicks, I checked out the Kansas Secretary of State’s website, which claims that you can register to vote on line or fill out this simple form to register in person.
According to the voter registration information on the site, the author SHOULD have been able to register to vote with the Social Security Number.
Enter your current Kansas driver’s license number or nondriver’s identification card number. If you do not have either one, enter the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Ironically, the author had sufficient ID to vote in Kansas, though apparently not to register. I’m not kidding.
Here is what gotvoterid.com says about Valid forms of ID in Kansas.
Valid Forms of Photographic Identification
Starting January 1, 2012, Kansas voters must show photographic identification when casting a vote in person. If the photo ID has an expiration date on it, the ID must not have expired at the time of voting. An acceptable photo ID does not have to have an expiration date on the document in order to be valid. Persons age 65 or older may use expired photo ID documents. Acceptable forms of photo ID are:
· A driver’s license or nondriver’s identification card issued by Kansas or by another state or district of the United States
· A concealed carry of handgun license issued by Kansas or a concealed carry of handgun or weapon license issued by another state or district of the United States
· A United States passport
· An employee badge or identification document issued by a municipal, county, state, or federal government office
· A military identification document issued by the United States
· A student identification card issued by an accredited postsecondary institution of education in the state of Kansas
· A public assistance identification card issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office
· An identification card issued by an Indian tribe
Getting the ID needed to vote is not only an endurance test in Kansas. According to foldingBicycleFollow‘s account in their Daily Kos diary, the process in Pennsylvania is confusing. Like the person in Kansas, this individual recently moved to Pennsylvania. Like the person in Kansas, they went to the DMV to get an instate drivers’ license, in order to have the ID needed for voting.
The person was unaware that they needed to pay for the license with a money order or a check. In fact, I checked the DMV website where one would think that all the necessary information about fees and accepted methods of payment are on the same page. But that too, would make things too easy.
In fact, the acceptable methods of payment are found at a different link. The fact that you need to look at the methods of payment page is not apparent on the fee’s page.
As an alternative the person sought, but was denied, a free voter ID because they had a valid out of state driver’s license. Of course, the out of state driver’s license isn’t valid ID for voting in Pennsylvania.
These are not the only examples of the problems that arise when seeking the Free ID.866ourvote.org shows countless stories to prove that getting free ID is anything but easy. Moreover, as the writer at Daily Kos found out, you might not be eligible for free ID. Getting the other forms of ID takes time and money, as shown by the writer in Kansas, both of which are at a premium for many Americans.
It takes more time and more money if you don’t have a birth certificate, or if you moved from one state to another. Even if you moved within your state, the rules are state specific.
If you have been convicted of a felony, the rules about your eligibility to vote vary from state to state.
Seemingly, simple and straightforward requirements, such as residency, can be confusing because the definition of “residency” varies from state to state.
All of this was designed to create confusion and frustration, with the hope that out of lack of resources or sheer frustration; voters will just give up and forgo their vote.
There is nothing about this that jives with the claim voter ID is needed to protect American voters, as the DMV clerk in Kansas put it:
from “all these bad illegals who are taking advantage of us all and have made it bad for everybody.”
I prefer to put the blame where it truly belongs: with a Republican Party that is using the myth of voter fraud to establish poll taxes. Republicans working to reinstate Jim Crow as an election strategy are responsible for this morass. I blame Republicans who suppress the vote in the name of delivering “their” state to the Romney campaign.
- Small Government Republicans Have Created a Bureaucratic Voter Suppression Nightmare (politicususa.com)
- Why Do Voters Back ID? Common Sense (commentarymagazine.com)
- Why Voter ID Laws Are Such a Big Deal (elections.firedoglake.com)
- Stewart Rips Voter ID Laws As ‘The Price You Pay For Something That Doesn’t Happen’ (mediaite.com)
- MSNBC Broadcasts 19 Segments On Voter I.D. This Week, Ignores Poll Showing 74% Support For I.D. Laws (mediaite.com)
- Court clears Pennsylvania voter-suppression scheme (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Rev. Al Sharpton: PA Voter ID Ruling a Slap in the Face to Democracy (huffingtonpost.com)
- Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Designed to Shave Off Votes at the Margins (news.firedoglake.com)
- Bill Maher Says What the Media Won’t: Voter ID Laws Are Racist (politicususa.com)
- Blame youth joblessness, not Voter ID laws, for “suppressing” the youth vote (redalertpolitics.com)
Congress Faces Pressure to Stop Taking Government Handouts
July 9, 2012
A growing number of Americans have come forward to demand that members of Congress stop accepting government handouts.
“Congressmen sit there doing nothing, week after week, just waiting for their government checks to come in,” said Lance Martin, the head of an organization that has recently begun protesting against what he calls ‘Congressional Welfare Kings’.
“If members of Congress were actually passing laws and working to make things better for Americans, I might say that that they were earning their government assistance—or, at least some of it,” Martin continued. “But the way things currently stand, we feel strongly that our lazy, shiftless lawmakers need to start pulling their weight and actually working for a living.”
Nearly all members of Congress depend on some form of government assistance, including skyrocketing wages, comprehensive health benefits, paid holidays and vacations, massive retirement packages, and various other perks which the government provides virtually free of charge—whether or not representatives are actively working or even seeking to work.
Protestors argue that many of these same representatives are only too happy to accept government handouts throughout their entire careers in office, only to turn around and advocate for deep cuts to Federal programs such as those which provide food stamps to families with children, veterans, and the disabled.
“Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has been on the dole since he was first elected in 1997,” said activist Shelley Fettler. “And yet he is against providing food stamps to needy families during a recession on the grounds that it is a ‘moral issue’ which ‘increases dependence’? What, because impoverished children are too dependent on food?” Fettler shook her head. “Who’s really dependent here, Jeff? Let’s get real.”
The protestors are being taken seriously by Congress, with many lawmakers arguing vehemently that they are in fact working hard for their government aid.
“How can you say I’m not earning my keep?” said Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, interviewed by a reporter while vacationing at his summer home in Scottsdale. “Last week I attended a fundraiser dinner that was three hours long. Tomorrow I’m getting a haircut, and if all goes well, this week I’ll actually be in Washington for a largely symbolic vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”
Further comment from House members was difficult to obtain, since much of Congress was admittedly on vacation.
“July is a really slow month around here,” said one Congressional page, found wandering around the largely empty House of Representatives. “Most members of Congress prefer to spend the summer months on their boats or at their vacation homes and ranches. They’d rather not be cooped up in a stuffy building when it’s so nice out.” He added, “I totally understand, though. I mean, why work if you don’t have to, right?”
- Exposing Obama would Reveal the Depth of US Government Corruption (chasvoice.blogspot.com)
- Obama”S”care will destroy The USA! (amateurvscompetent.wordpress.com)
- Democratic deficit in Latin America (miamiherald.com)
- Happy Cost of Government Day All You Serfs Out There… (independentsentinel.com)
- Face It: Social Security Is a Handout (lewrockwell.com)
- Members of Congress Urge Freedom in China (theepochtimes.com)
- Members of U.S. Congress, NGO’s call for persecution of Falun Gong to stop (theepochtimes.com)
- Peter Thomas Senese’s ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ and ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ Raises Awareness on International Child Abduction (prweb.com)
- After Success Reaching Congress, GradeGov.com Plans to Flood Statehouses with Letter Grades from ‘We the People’ (prweb.com)
- Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts – Culture – GOOD (elmsprogressivemedia.wordpress.com)
Mitt Romney’s off-the-cuff comments are starting to seem like Barack Obama’s bowling: Not good. Kind of spectacularly bad. Kitsch on a kind day.
Romney keeps on rolling gutter balls in front of the cameras: “The trees are the right height.” “I like being able to fire people.” “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” “I’m Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that’s also my first name.”
Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News
Normally the adage “a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth” applies. On the Jay Leno show, Obama famously compared his bowling skills to those in the Special Olympics. Many, including myself, were offended by the remark (mainly because the Special Olympics athletes are far better bowlers than Mr. Obama). The President apologized profusely for the statement.
But Romney’s greatest gaffes are less accidental nuggets of candor (like, “I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”) and more what you’d call disquieting sound bites of misfired pandering. Moments that can be summed up by the phrase “cheesy grits.”
Yes, he told a crowd in Mississippi during the primary, he had “cheesy grits” (as opposed to cheese grits) for breakfast and he was learning how to say, “ya’ll.” He would have been better off saying sweet tea (a diabetic coma-inducing regional syrup served over ice) is best with Splenda and he was learning how to talk … real … slow.
(Rick Santorum won Mississippi, by the way.)
Yes, when Romney attempts to show how in touch he is with Americans, he ends up displaying exactly how in touch he is with Americans. Meaning: Not at all.
This week, minutes after marveling at the 10-year-old touch screen technology at a Wawa in Quakertown, Romney was still stuck on regional sandwiches when he got to Cornwall, Pennsylvania. “By the way, where do you get your hoagies here?” he asked the crowd of supporters. “Do you get them at Wawas? Is that where you get them? No? Do you get them at Sheetz? Where do you get them?” According to reports the crowd booed until Governor Tom Corbett offered that the locals got their sandwiches at “delis.”
Here’s the thing: For a man whose book is titled “No Apology,” Mitt’s awkward Rand McNally riffing looks like he’s apologizing for not being from there. And in the case of Michigan (where he actually is from) not being enough like those who are from there. “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.” He’s telling us who he is by making it clear what he’s not: A man of the people … unless those “people” are corporations, my friends.
According to Moody’s Analytics, the unemployment rate would actually be a percentage point lower if the government employed as many people as we did in 2009. It’s a time when government IS shrinking—teachers and cops are being laid off and Mitt’s hoagie haven Pennsylvania lost 5,400 government jobs just this year. Mitt also does his best to seem obtuse. “[Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Who could have guessed a rich man running for a government job would have the chutzpah (pronounced choots-paw if your last name is Bachmann) to stand up against more firefighters and teachers?
One minute Romney is touting his business experience and wealth as a qualification to be president—the next minute he’s trying to appear like he’s not (as Jon Stewart observed) the guy who just fired your dad.
President Obama should not bowl. Ever. And Romney, well, he should stop trying to relate to blue-collar living and just be the stuffy, privileged, Ivy League, over-educated, French-speaking, affluent Republican he is.
Mitt, if that is your real name (it isn’t), just be yourself.
- Relax Mitt, Just Be Yourself (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- Relax, ‘Mitt,’ Just Be Yourself (crooksandliars.com)
- NBC Busted for Doctoring Romney Tape (rushlimbaugh.com)
- Offers non-apology apology… (politico.com)
- MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Doesn’t Apologize For Romney Wawa Editing (mediaite.com)
- Inconvenient Untruth: Mitt Romney’s ‘Wawas’ Story Was A Big Fat Lie (mediaite.com)
- MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Calls Wawa’s Gaffe Mitt Romney’s ‘Grocery Scanner Moment’ (mediaite.com)
- MSNBC Misrepresents Romney Speech, Invents Wawa ‘Gaffe’ (nymag.com)
- Mitt Romney’s Wawa Gaffe: Is He Out Of Touch? [VIDEO] (ibtimes.com)
- Mitt Romney Visits WaWa (themadjewess.com)
Free Wood Post – Paul Ryan Tells Americans To Quit Their Jobs And Stop Buying Food In Order To Pay Their Bills
Paul Ryan Tells Americans To Quit Their Jobs And Stop Buying Food In Order To Pay Their Bills
March 22, 2012
By Sarah Wood
According to a statement made by Paul Ryan (R-WI) after he released his latest budget proposal, he told struggling Americans that in order to get back on their feet they should quit their jobs and stop buying food to focus on paying down their bills.
It’s really this simple. In order for someone to pay their bills they need to make some cuts in their everyday life. One of the biggest expenses that a person needs to pay for is food for themselves and for their family. Imagine if they just cut that expense out. There would be so much money left over to pay down their other debts. And what better way to really buckle down and focus on reducing spending and paying current debts than by quitting a job. So much time is wasted by finding ways to bring in money. That time could be better spent looking at ways to save money, cut spending on day-to-day items, and look towards a brighter future.
Well with this “common sense” thinking in Congress it’s no wonder we’re in the pickle we’re in. Here I was thinking that if we cut spending on unnecessary luxury items, and found ways bring in extra revenue, debts would be lowered, and no one would have to go without food.
Ryan’s budget proposal reflects his statement to Americans. He feels we should cut crucial programs for the poor, women, elderly, etc. all the while keeping tax breaks for the wealthy, extending oil subsidies, and increasing military spending. It seems his plan would actually increase the deficit. My question to Ryan is, “who is going to cover the expenses if we are bringing in less money, but spending more on the wealthy and the interests of the wealthy?”
Bringing in less money and cutting essential needs doesn’t seem to be the best way to reduce the deficit, especially considering the extra burden that will place on the middle and working class, but who knows? Maybe Paul Ryan knows something we don’t. Maybe ending a revenue stream is the best way to pay down a debt. Who am I to say?
- Can We Please Stop Making Excuses for Paul Ryan? (motherjones.com)
- Paul Ryan Claims Romney Budget, Which Adds $10 Trillion To Debt, Will ‘Prevent A Debt Crisis’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Paul Ryan is mad at President Obama for telling the truth about Republicans (dailykos.com)
- Paul Ryan: “Are these programs working? Are people getting out of poverty?” (erickbrockway.com)
- Paul Ryan Defends Cutting Food Stamps For The Poor: ‘You Have To Get Savings In Some Of These Areas’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Paul Ryan: We Must Pass My Austerity Budget to Avoid Austerity (crooksandliars.com)
- Attacking Paul Ryan, But Not the National Debt (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Paul Ryan and Scott Walker’s Radical Vision (socyberty.com)
- Rep. Ryan says his budget plan would ‘prevent’ need for austerity measures (thehill.com)
- Paul Krugman: Big Fiscal Phonies (economistsview.typepad.com)
Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years
By Peter Whoriskey, Tuesday, May 29, 8:08 PM
The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.
By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.
Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.
While the unemployment rate may be the most closely watched gauge of the economy in the presidential campaign, this measure of prime-age workers captures more of the ongoing turbulence in the job market. It reflects “missing workers” who have stopped looking for work and aren’t included in the unemployment rate.
During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals, huge numbers are on the sidelines.
“What it shows is that we are still near the bottom of a very big hole that opened in the recession,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
The falloff has been sharpest for men, for whom the proportion had been on a slow decline before the recession. The percentage of prime-age men who are working is smaller now than it has been in any time before the recession, going all the way back to 1948, according to federal statistics. The proportion of prime-age women is at a low not seen since 1988.
The nation’s unemployment rate has shown signs of improvement, ticking down from 10 percent to 8.1 percent. But if it tallied people who have given up looking for jobs, it would certainly be higher.
The ratio of employment to population, which economists refer to as “epop,” “is a much better measure for what people are experiencing in the job market,” Shierholz said. “The unemployment rate is screwy right now because the labor market is so weak that people have stopped trying.”
For example, last month, the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Ordinarily, a drop in unemployment would be interpreted as a sign of improving economic health. But it dropped largely because so many people stopped looking for jobs.
Shierholz estimates that about 4 million workers have simply stopped looking, and so do not show up in the tally used for the unemployment rate.
As the presidential race heads into the summer, the health of the economy — and how voters view it — becomes critical, and for many people, the job market is their most significant contact with the economy.
According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, the issue of paramount interest to voters is the economy and jobs, with more than half describing it as the “single most important issue.”
By comparison, the next most important issue, health care, trailed far behind at 7 percent, and moral and family values followed at 5 percent.
The polls also show that, while the official statistics show improvement, voters offer gloomy economic diagnoses
About 83 percent of those in the poll, conducted in mid-May, rated the state of the economy as “poor” or “not so good,” a much higher portion of negative views than at any other time in the 10 years preceding the recession.
The job market “feels like a game of musical chairs — if you didn’t have a job when the market crashed, well, that chair is gone,” said Karen Akers, 50, of Vienna, who lost two jobs to budget cuts during the recession.
She just reentered the workforce in March, although at a lower salary in client relations at a sprinkler company.
“I don’t know that people trust any of these economic numbers these days, anyway, because they were all good before the crash,” she said. “Whatever economists are telling us, I don’t know that we can believe it any more than what we see in the job market — and what you find there is not good.”
Indeed, in interviews outside the unemployment office in Alexandria on Friday morning, people looking for work said that finding a job today, three years after the recession’s official end, seems just as hard as it did during the recession.
“In 2008, it was much easier — I got a job right away,” said 41-year-old Rob from Arlington, who last worked in sales for a defense contractor. Like other workers interviewed at the unemployment office, he declined to give his last name to protect his privacy.
“It’s definitely more negative, which really caught me off guard,” he said. “Employers have gotten used to doing pretty much what they want to do in this market.”
“I’m actually considering a position in retail,” said a 53-year-old Northern Virginia woman who had held a senior position in international sales and recently earned a master’s degree in management. She has been looking for a job for three years. “I can’t tell you how many women I know, one of whom was a bank vice president, who have already taken these kinds of jobs — they’re working at Joann’s Fabrics, Sur la Table and Crate & Barrel.”
The impact of these difficulties reaches far beyond those looking for work.
For those working, real wages have been stagnant since 2008, Shierholz said.
Moreover, the number of people quitting jobs — a figure that tends to rise when jobs seem plentiful and fall when they seem scarce — remains lower than it was at any time in the years leading up to the recession, according to government statistics.
Some of the workers have sensed a slight strengthening in their outlook, however: a few more calls, a few more openings, a few more interviews than they’d previously seen. Indeed, the “epop” figure for prime-age workers has risen since October.
Mark, 50, a heating and AC technician from Alexandria, was out of work in 2009 but found a job right away. He was laid off again about six months ago and, standing outside the Alexandria unemployment office, said it seems harder this time around.
“The economy is just really messed up right now,” he said.
- Opinion: Congratulations, grad, you’re unemployed – Karin Agness – POLITICO.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Extended Federal Unemployment Benefits Begin to Wind Down – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Chart of the day: Jobless recovery vs recoveryless jobs (newstatesman.com)
- And The Average Salary Is… (huffingtonpost.com)
- “What Workers Lose by Staying Put,” Enrico Moretti in the Wall Street Journal (practicalstockinvesting.com)
- Who Is the Most Unemployed? (jobmarketmonitor.com)
- Consumer confidence in the economy plunged in May (kansascity.com)
- Nevada wins high praise for economic recovery (lincolnedu.com)
- Consumer confidence plunges in May (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Consumer confidence in the economy plunged in May (heraldonline.com)
Congratulations, grad, you’re unemployed
The author writes that too many graduates face an uncertain future. | AP Photo
By KARIN AGNESS | 5/16/12 10:00 PM EDT
Just when it looked like the job market was going to rebound, recent unemployment numbers revealed a disappointing reality. The April unemployment rate decreased to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent; however, the percentage of working-age Americans in the labor force dropped to its lowest rate (63.6 percent) since 1981. Roughly 342,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market. That’s more than double the number of jobs created between March and April.
But as bad as this employment outlook is, it is particularly harsh for recent college graduates. Though May is supposed to be a time of excitement for college seniors as they celebrate earning their degrees and prepare to enter the workforce, too many graduates face a bleak job market and an uncertain future.
Government data last year found that 53.6 percent of people under age 25 with a bachelor’s degree — about 1.5 million people — were unemployed or underemployed. It is the highest percentage in more than a decade, reflecting just how far the economy is from recovery.
This means that the under-25 population is probably paying more attention to Washington politics than ever. In 2008, 49 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 voted, which represented an increase of 2 percentage points from 2004. This is still the lowest voting rate by age segment, meaning there is room for young voters to play a bigger role in the 2012 election.
But in many ways, focusing on politics is a diversion from what young, unemployed Americans should be concerned with. The policies that elected officials in Washington are passing (or not passing) directly affect this young cohort’s job prospects. Yet this often comes as a surprise to students — who are usually more interested in a particular policy’s intention, rather than its result.
Furthermore, this isn’t really a partisan issue. Members of both parties promise to fix problems with legislation that too often ends up creating more problems for job seekers. We see this happen with calls to raise the minimum wage, to exercise greater government control over health care and to create a “green economy” with “green jobs.”
The left has dominated academia for so long that students too often see only one side of the policy debate and don’t learn about some policies that would actually help their job prospects. This means that if you’re under 25 — and one of the 1.5 million unemployed or underemployed graduates — you probably have a few questions. Strongly worded questions, I imagine. Questions like, why is it worse for me than it was for my parents? Why can’t I find a job commensurate with my education? Why am I living with my parents?
You are right to ask these questions. But it would be better if you actually sought the answers yourself. Parents, too, who aren’t sure what to do about their recent graduate living in the basement should help by providing the right materials so their child can get the education in economics he or she didn’t get in college.
So here’s some advice: Learn how government manipulation of market forces stunts job growth. Read about the differences between an economy based on free-market principles and one in which government picks the winners and losers.
Then, when you are in the voting booth, you can make an informed decision to elect politicians who support policies that will improve our economy. Your peers and the class of 2013 will thank you.
- Jobs: The number of baby boomers retiring is holding down the unemployment rate (upi.com)
- Jobs for 2012 graduates: Reports offer conflicting predictions – latimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- The Long-Term Unemployed: Who’s Been Hurt More? (aarp.org)
- Make It A Truly Happy Graduation Day (readersupportednews.org)
- Educated but Unemployed (sott.net)
- Nearly 30 Percent Of Unemployed Americans Have Been Out Of Work For A Year Or More (thinkprogress.org)
- 34 Depressing Facts About The Job Market For College Grads (businessinsider.com)
- What’s a College Degree Worth These Days? (newamericamedia.org)
- Unemployment in the U.S. | What Can Policy Do? (jobmarketmonitor.com)
- There Are 100 Million Working Age Americans That Do Not Have Jobs (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)