Friday, December 21, 2012

NRA Blames Music Videos For Gun Violence

The National Rifle Association has decided to issue a press release in response to last weeks horrific shootings but you might be surprised as to what the NRA places the blame on for these violent gun attacks - decades-old video games and movies.  

That's right.  The NRA points to 1992's Mortal Kombat, 1997's Grand Theft Auto, and 1988's Splatterhouse.  Sure these titles have been remade as recently as 2010 but the NRA fails to understand one simple fact - video games are not responsible for these acts of violence.  How would the NRA explain shootings that happened before the era of graphic video games?  Did Donkey Kong make those people do it?

And the NRA's solution?  More guns.

That's right.  The lobbying giant that represents gun owners wants to increase their membership, and subsequently their lobbying power so they are promoting greater gun usage to prevent gun crimes.  This line of reasoning is very reactionary.  Instead of preventing these crimes and finding the root cause, the NRA just wants to put guns into more hands and hopes that when someone starts killing people there is a armed civilian around to try and prevent that, and as we have witnessed over the years that is not the case.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mike Huckabee Uses Sandy Hook Shooting To Make Case For School Prayer

Since the horrific massacre of school children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, a discussion on a variety of topics from media coverage to gun control has gripped this nation but some public figures have seemed to use this tragedy to advance their religious and political agendas.  Conservatives, who are the self-proclaimed defender of the Second Amendment, have used this shooting to preemptively attacks any calls for gun control with some politicians either brushing off the tragedy altogether to even calling for more guns (and even more guns in the classroom).  While there can be some arguments made for and against gun control, the attacks from conservatives have seemed to overstep a boundary.

Take former governor, minister, and current Fox News personality Mike Huckabee.  After the shooting, Huckabee blamed the absence of God in schools for the reason why the shooting occurred.

"We ask why there's violence in our schools, but we've systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said. "Should we be so surprised that schools become a place of carnage, because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we're not just going to have to be accountable to the police if they catch, us, but one day we stand before a holy God and judgment. If we don't believe that, then we don't fear that."

Huckabee's comments seem to ignore the fact that crime occurs in places where God has been systemically present, such as recent shootings at churches in Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.  And don't forget the countless church sex abuse scandals, and if you would like to get personal, how about Reverend Huckabee's own son perpetrating acts of cruelty while a camp counselor in the nineties?  How would Huckabee explain that away?

Also, if you think about it, Baptist minister Huckabee seems to have the same stance as the crazy Westboro Baptist Church, who plan to picket the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, claiming the shooting occurred because of the failure to recognize God and follow his plans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hostess Stole Money From Workers, Rewarded Executives

When Twinkie-making bakery Hostess Brands, Inc. announced that it was shutting its doors due to union greed, the company was interjected into a larger debate about American labor practices and if organized workers should be treated the same as their corporate counterparts.  Conservatives quikcly latched onto this story as a means to push their anti-labor agenda.  After all, look at Michigan, which recently saw a lame duck congress ram right-to-work legislation straight to the governor's desk, or really any Republican-controlled legislature working to diminish the strength of unions while granting corporations unprecedented powers.  So what makes Hostess an interesting case for organized labor?  The fact that after years of mismanagement and concessions from the workers, corporate executives froze worker pay while granting themselves massive pay increases by stealing worker pension contributions, and then getting a judge to approve millions in bonuses for the top executives to help disassemble the company they helped ruin.

Let's look at the facts surrounding the labor contracts with Hostess.

During the 2004 bankruptcy of Hostess, the unions took significant wage and benefit concessions bringing Hostess' employee compensation below their national competitors saving the company around $110 million annually.  The first bankruptcy also saw a reduction in union represented employees by half, from nearly 10,000 to around 5,000 union employees.

Post-bankruptcy Hostess saw a supposedly streamlined company run by private equity firms and hedge funds promising an investment into newer equipment and technology.  Instead, they demanded more concessions from the workers (including things like elimination of the 8-hour work day!) and eventually filed for bankruptcy a second time in less than ten years, and in those proceedings Hostess demanded even more wage cuts and increase employee contributions to benefits packages.  Hostess also unilaterally stopped paying its pension obligations in violation of federal law.   Meanwhile the corporate executives quickly gave themselves pay increases and asked for a judge to grant bonuses to the executives.

Despite being mismanaged for years, labor unions, which have conceded to the corporation in the past, were continually being blamed, even while the executives were looting the company.  What makes the executives' actions even more egregious is the fact that they had been diverting money paid by the employees for their pension plan to pay for other things... like pay increases for the top executives.  That's right - the company, which wanted increased employee contributions for their benefit packages, was taking those employee contributions to pay for god knows what.  And do you know what the CEO's excuse was?

"Whatever the circumstances were, whatever those decisions were, I wasn't there," CEO Gregory Rayburn told The Wall Street Journal, evoking The Shaggy Defense.

Rayburn's comments are very interesting because the CEO of the company that asked a judge for bonuses for top executives and even more concessions from the workers while undoubtedly knowing that the company he is running stole millions from the workers in the past - money that the employees paid out of their own pocket for their retirement.  And this is in addition to their recent illegal cessation of payments for their pension obligations.

Now after that, do you think that the sale of Hostess' valuable brands would go to replenish the stolen funds from the workers or would it go to the mismanaging private equity and hedge fund executives who have already ripped-off the company to insure their payday? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mitt Romney's "Gifts" - He Offered Them Too!

Mitt Romney has been awfully silent since his crushing defeat on November 6th.  After his concession speech Romney slinked from the public eye but he resurfaced this week when a call Romney made to his millionaire donors became public in which Romney addressed his loss and as to why he was defeated by the president, and his statements are without controversy, especially when considering previous statements he made claiming 47 percent of the population where leaches on society, his subsequent doubling down of that statement, and then his later reversal on the matter.  It appears Romney's latest comments are yet another reversal.

Here is what Romney most recently said:

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift…Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008 … You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge … Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

So Romney blames these "gifts" - low interest rates on student loans, free contraceptives, retaining health insurance on your parents plan until the age of 26, and amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants - for his loss earlier this month but the funny thing about Romney's gripe is that he at one point or another in his campaign supported these "gifts."

During the campaign, Romney came out in support of the administration's loan forgiveness policy of maintaining low interest rates for student loans.

“I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans," Romney said.  "There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year, and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of – as a result of student loans, obviously – in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.”

In regards to contraception, Mitt Romney stated during the presidential debates that "every woman in America should have access to contraceptives."

“I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they can have contraceptive care or not,” he said.

This was in regards to the health care reform act originally requiring employers to provide in their insurance for employees contraception coverage.  Romney's debate response was just another reversal of a previous policy position he had held - when the administration reached a compromise exempting religious organizations (but not their affiliated institutions) from the requirement, Romney said he found it "extraordinary" that the administration can force a church to act contrary to their conscience and that it was "an assault on religious conviction."

For young adults staying on their parent's health insurance policy, Romney voiced support for that as well.

“I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform,” Romney said. “Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place.”

He also continued to “assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their—their family up to whatever age they might like.”

And as for the deportation of young immigrants, Romney supported that too.  During the campaign Romney stated that he would honor the decision of the administration to grant temporary deportation exemptions.

"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid,” Romney stated.

So essentially, these "gifts" Romney blamed for his loss were all things that he also promised.  The problem is that people didn't believe Mitt Romney when he said he would do these things if he were to get in office.  Maybe that had something to do with the fact that with all these positions Romney attempted to stand on both sides of the issue.  It would seem that any future candidate would take Mitt Romney's campaign and learn from its mistakes, much like Romney should have from the John Kerry campaign of 2004, in which Kerry made the much-lampooned statement that he was for something before he was against it.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paul Ryan Admits To Gerrymandering?

Paul Ryan lost his hometown of Janesville for the first time in a reelection bid by 10 points for his congressional ticket and by a whopping 25 points for the Romney/Ryan ticket.  What was Paul Ryan's excuse for losing?

"Well, as you know, Janesville is a very Democratic town, but I'm a Republican," Paul Ryan said, somewhat admitting to the fact that Republicans gerrymandered their districts. "But I've always done very well here, because more people saw me not as a Republican but just as a Janesville guy."

To explain away the reason that Obama was able to do so well, Ryan offered this analysis of his defeat:

"What the president and his campaign excelled at doing is mobilizing turnout in their critical base areas, and they expanded the turnout above the norms. They had record turnout in urban areas and all of our polling did not project that kind of turnout, and that's why we thought we had a very good chance at winning this race going into election day."

So now Janesville is an "urban" town?

Let's take a look at the demographics of Janesville.

Janesville has a population of 63,575.

91.7 percent of Janesville is white.

25.5 percent of Janesville are multi-unit structures (a.k.a. apartment complexes and condominiums).

57.7 percent of occupations are white collar jobs

These don't really seem to fit with Ryan's "urban" critique.

It would appear that Ryan's comments seems to touch upon a familiar subject regarding elections: gerrymandering.

Take into consideration Ryan's district, considered by some to be a swing district.  It hasn't elected a Democrat to the House since 1992.  Janesville is located in Rock County, which overwhelmingly voted for the president 61 percent to 38 percent.  Milwaukee County voted for Obama with an even greater margin of 67 percent to 32 percent, but Ryan's district only carves out a small portion of that area.  Republicans also outnumber democrats 52 percent to 48 percent, which is hardly a fair fight for any challenger of Ryan's.

 So the question is did Paul Ryan admit that his district is gerrymandered or that his excuse as to why he lost the election is bogus?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Prediction: Obama 303, Romney 235

Earlier in the night, The Midnight Review analyzed the polls and came up with the prediction that President Obama would win re-election with 303 electoral votes.  This is assuming that Obama carries swing states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, while also taking Wisconsin (the west coast is presumably solid Democratic territory and it was this blog's belief that Romney would sweep the bible belt and lose New Hampshire despite conservative predictions).

Fox News, Conservatives Already Start Disputing Election

Today is election day and it isn't looking good for Romney.  Statisticians place Obama as a favorite and polling suggests that while nationally it may be a dead heat, Obama is winning where it counts - in the Electoral College.  That is why conservatives are using every play in their voter suppression handbook to try and come out on top.  Earlier in the week, they pointed to super storm Sandy as ruining Mitt Romney's momentum, and then started trying to whittle away at what they believe to be Democratic voters.

First, Dan Froomkin reported for The Huffington Post that Republican poll watchers have been dispatched to primarily minority-dominant precincts to dispute votes cast by what they believe to be fraudsters.
Poll watchers from groups ostensibly targeting voter fraud are headed primarily to minority voting precincts on Election Day, lending support to the argument that their real goal is to suppress the African-American and Latino vote.

A partial list of precincts targeted by a Pittsburgh Tea Party group working on behalf of the Republican Party shows that nearly 80 percent of the voters in those precincts are African-American, compared to 13 percent countywide, according to civil rights and union groups who on Monday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

An Ohio political blog is reporting that forms submitted to election officials by Tea Party spin-off group True the Vote in Franklin County -- which includes Columbus -- show poll watchers heading to 28 precincts, where most voters are African-American. Overall, the county electorate is 20 percent African-American.

"We've been concerned from the beginning that the efforts of True the Vote and aligned groups were going to be targeted largely in communities of color," said Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "We've seen in the past where these kinds of tactics can lead to intimidation and harassment of voters."

A potentially even greater concern now is that the groups will use the voter challenge process "for the express purpose of creating lines and confusion," Marshall said.

Prohibitively long lines, particularly where Democrats are in the majority, are a net plus for Republicans; extraordinarily long lines for early voting in South Florida resulted from Republican Gov. Rick Scott's rollback of early voting days there.
Then conservative organizations have started filing complaints because of anonymous allegations that some unions are forcing illegal immigrants to vote.  Fox News had this story of course:
Just hours before voters go to the polls in the battleground state of Nevada, a national group has announced it plans to file a complaint regarding illegal immigrants purportedly being allowed to vote.

ALIPAC, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, based in Raleigh, N.C., sent the Nevada secretary of state an email outlining its intention.

"We want to stop the felonious thefts of American elections," says William Gheen, ALIPAC's president.

Gheen points to a commentary published in Sunday's Las Vegas Review Journal. In it, editorial writer Glenn Cook accuses the Culinary Union 226 of knowingly registering illegal immigrants and then pressured them to vote.

Cook quotes an unidentified illegal immigrant who is on the Clark County voter rolls. The person claims a union representative told them they were "in so much trouble" for refusing to vote.
Are these signals of desperation from a fledgling campaign?  Blatant forms of voter suppression?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fox News' Family Ties Hypocrisy

I see you a Romney and raise you a Biden.
Charlie Gasperino recently wrote an exclusive for Fox Business claiming a new subsidiary of Hill International, a construction management firm, had seen some relative success and that when the president of Hill International, David Richter, was asked in a private meeting with investors regarding the success of the subsidiary, HillStone International, he responded that it helped having "the brother of the vice president as a partner" (according to an unnamed source of course).

Gasperino then continues his piece by attacking the vice president's brother, James Biden.

James Biden’s bio on the Hill website touts his “40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally” that “enable him to understand the needs and perspectives of government, financial and development leaders to effectively negotiate and implement low-cost housing objectives both domestically and abroad.”

But the bio cites no specific business-related post that he has held in the past, though it says that at “the age of 22, (James) Biden was the finance chairman of his then 29-year-old brother's bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware and successfully enlisted the support of national unions, political leaders and financiers across the country.”

Also not disclosed is that he is a minority partner in HillStone, in line to earn significant sums of money if the project is completed, Richter conceded in an interview.

And James Biden might have his brother Joe to thank, at least according to Wall Street analysts who cover the company. In discussions with analysts, Hill International officials haven’t been bashful about pointing to their connections to the Obama Administration when explaining why they remain hopeful that even after months of delay they believe the Iraq project will begin, possibly as early as the end of the year.

“When asked about these topics, David Richter has said that the company has access to senior levels of government,” said one analyst.
So based off of the words of analysts and speculation, James Biden's only experience was being a finance chairman for his brother's senatorial race.

Why is this article interesting?

The New Republic recently issued an interesting piece regarding Tagg Romney and the success he achieved by using his familial connections for business gain, but with one major difference between that article and Gasperino's - four times as long, The New Republic piece goes farther then just the words of some anonymous analysts and some dredged up tidbits from some old stories mentioning James Biden, or any other Biden for that matter.

Gasperino talks a little about the business dealings of James Biden and HillStone International but he offers nothing more than speculation.

"For the HillStone partners -- including Biden -- it was potentially lucrative as well. Hill International was slated to receive 51% of the $1.5 billion in revenues," wrote Gasperino.  "That meant the partners, including Justice and James Biden, would be divvying up roughly $735 million, minus expenses."

Just how many other partners are there?  What are the expenses that would be subtracted from the rough $735 million?

While Gasperino's hard-hitting exclusive summarizes a bio page from a website, Noam Scheiber's article for The New Republic goes through Tagg's resume in great detail, from internet startup eGrad to his private equity firm Solamere Capital, which depends on the Romney name for its competitive edge.
Solamere’s business model is perfectly legitimate but only available to people who are exceptionally well-connected, even by Wall Street standards. Most private-equity firms raise money from investors so they can buy up companies or stakes in companies. But Solamere invests most of its money with other private-equity firms, acting as what’s known as a fund of funds. It takes a high-powered Rolodex to enter this business, for the simple reason that the most profitable private-equity funds are extremely choosy about the money they accept. “Tagg being who he is, it helps him get into funds others wouldn’t be able to get into,” says Davis.
That sounds about as damning as Gasperino's damning line against the vice president's brother:
“Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” Richter said of Biden. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
Why is the Tagg piece worth reading as opposed to the Fox News hit piece?

Because James Biden isn't flapping his gums to every major news outlet and he isn't stumping around the nation for his brother and his running mate.  Tagg Romney is and part of Tagg's sstump speech is the reinvention of his history.  Scheiber gives a little perspective into the revisionism Tagg spouts on the campaign trail while Gasperino just aims to throw some cold water on the Democratic candidate to give Mitt Romney a fighting chance in a couple weeks at the polls. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fox News Edits Crowley Fact Check Against Romney


The second presidential debate got pretty heated Tuesday night.  Obama was alert and passionate offering details as to how he would proceed with a second term.  Romney skipped on specifics and went for Obama's jugular, talking over the moderator declaring his own terms for the debate and at times directing his comments towards the president in an overly aggressive manner, talking over the president when he attempted to respond.  In one particular instance, when Romney insisted the president failed to call the attack on the American consulate in Libya an act of terrorism until two weeks after the September 11th raid on the complex, the president and the moderator called Romney out on his lie.
ROMNEY: I think (it's) interesting the president just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That's what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying? OBAMA: Please proceed governor.

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir.
Obama did indeed call the attack on the consulate an "act of terror."  On September 12th, Obama made the following statement in regards to the attack:  "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."

Apparently that is not good enough for Fox News.  According to their "fact check," "Crowley went on to side with Romney about the administration's confusing account."

Fox News glosses over what Crowley stated after she fact checked Romney on live television, instead going on to say Obama never really meant the Libyan attack when he uttered the phrase "acts of terror" and discussed the "four more Americans" who were killed in "this terrible act."

"But Obama also hadn't explicitly labeled the Benghazi strike as an 'act of terror' as early as he claimed, though his comments on Sept. 12 in the Rose Garden indeed included that phrase."

So because Obama did not mention the words "Libya" or "Benghazi" in a speech mourning the deaths of an American ambassador and consulate staff, Fox News comes to the conclusion that Obama must have been referring to other terrorist acts.  This conservative rebuttal seems to have traveled fast.  On an article on The Huffington Post, I engaged a commenter regarding their disbelief in the assertion by the president that he did in fact call the attacks an "act of terror."
OP:  Read the transcript, Obama did not call the attack on the embassy an attack.
He blamed it on a nonexistant riot caused by the YouTube video.
His lackies repeated this deception for 2 weeks.

TMR:  "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."

One day is not two weeks.

OP:  But he was talking about the 9/11/01 attack, not 9/11/12.
For 14 days he claimed he did not know it was not caused by terror but instead it was the YouTube video!
What did Fox News edit out of their report?
CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir. So let me -- let me call it an act of terror... 
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy? 
CROWLEY: He -- he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take -- it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that. 
ROMNEY: This -- the administration -- the a 
CROWLEY: It did. 
ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And to suggest -- am I incorrect in that regard, on Sunday, the -- your secretary --
While Crowley admitted that there was some time for the intelligence on the entire situation to come to light, she also clearly indicated that Romney, who was attempting to bulldoze the president with his lies, was in fact lying.  What makes this lie even more egregious is that right before Crowley's smack down, Romney admitted that the origins of the situation were uncertain.

"There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration, or actually whether it was a terrorist attack," said Romney, before criticizing other officials for citing demonstrations as the cause.  Apparently Romney is able to smell a terrorist act before anyone else not privileged to classified information can.  Romney then shifted his line of attack on the president's actions following this event.
ROMNEY: But I find more troubling than this, that on -- on the day following the assassination of the United States ambassador, the first time that's happened since 1979, when -- when we have four Americans killed there, when apparently we didn't know what happened, that the president, the day after that happened, flies to Las Vegas for a political fund-raiser, then the next day to Colorado for another event, other political event.

I think these -- these actions taken by a president and a leader have symbolic significance and perhaps even material significance in that you'd hope that during that time we could call in the people who were actually eyewitnesses. We've read their accounts now about what happened. It was very clear this was not a demonstration. This was an attack by terrorists.
So even though the president, like Romney, is running a presidential campaign, he is not allowed to campaign because of an overseas tragedy?  Remind me what Romney was doing the week following the September 11th attacks?

On September 12th, Mitt Romney attended a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida.

On September 13th, Mitt Romney hosted a rally in Fairfax, Virginia, and an event in Ronkonkoma, New York.

On September 14th, Mitt Romney attended a fundraiser in New York City and then hosted a rally in Painesville, Ohio.

On September 16th, Mitt Romney hosted a rally in Pueblo, Colorado.

And on September 17th, Mitt Romney spoke in "brown face" to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

How is it that a man seeking the highest elected office in the nation doesn't believe he should be held to the same standards he sets for the person currently in that position?  Romney felt it was appropriate for himself to gallivant around the nation fundraising and hosting rallies in the wake of a tragedy but for his opponent to do the same is just not fair, and to be clear, Romney actually held more events then the president did in that week following the terrorist attack in Benghazi, but who's counting (except for Romney).

This was basically Romney's line of attack throughout the entire debate - deflect and criticize.  When called out by the moderator, Romney just fine tuned his attack on the president by begrudgingly stating that Obama never declared a particular terrorist group responsible for the attack.  Romney probably would have not even been satisfied had Obama gave the names of the individual people responsible.  Basically, Romney was doing exactly what Obama criticized him for doing on September 11th: "You don't turn national security into a political issue."

And for that Fox News felt it was their responsibility to "fact check" Candy Crowley and give their boy a pass.

Update! - As can be expected, conservatives were quick to jump on a post-debate interview with moderator Candy Crowley, in which she explains her fact check to CNN's Anderson Cooper.  Conservatives seem to latch onto her agreement with Romney in regards to the mixed messages coming from the administration post-September 11th.

"So I knew that the president had had said you know 'these acts of terror will not stand' or whatever the whole quote was," said Crowley.  "And I think actually - because I did turn around right after that and say 'but you are totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape and that there was a you know this riot outside the Benghazi consulate which there wasn't."

So because after she fact checked Romney she agreed with something he said, she nullified her fact check altogether and now the conservative blogosphere has something to cling to until the next debate - more media bias against their candidate.  Even Reince Priebus seized on this non-moment to call Obama the liar!

Media Matters also caught onto the conservative whining.

It seems that Republicans are aware that Romney lost the debate and will probably lose his momentum he gained from the first presidential debate - the momentum that had stalled after Biden defeated Ryan in last weeks debate.  It only makes sense for them to cry foul - the only way they could lose, in their eyes, is if someone cheated.  Check the chat rooms and message boards - the moderator was in the bag for Obama and the audience was cherry-picked by the Democrats, hence the applause when Romney was called out on his bullshit, or so they say.


Update #2! - It seems the right is working overtime to save Romney from his debate debacle.  They are trying really hard to discredit Crowley's "fact check," now moving on to the applauding audience and the girl who asked the question.  It appears the girl who asked the question has a similar name with a woman associated with the liberal organization Code Pink.  Katherine Fenton, spelled with a "K," was a young girl appearing to be in her early twenties asked the question at the debate.  Catherine Fenton, with a "C," is in her late thirties and is obviously not the young girl we saw on television today but that wont stop those adamant to prove Obama was a liar and Romney was a saint last night.  On Reddit, a commenter posted the following link as proof the girl was a Code Pink plant placed their by Gallup despite the fact that the link they posted included an update stating that it appeared the girl was different then the one from the conspiracy theories.

So it seems despite even more facts the right is eager to ignore reality once again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walmart Hedges Bets, Counts On Obama Win

Facing numerous labor strikes, especially on major shopping holidays like Black Friday, Walmart released an internal memo on October 8th - and obtained by The Huffington Post - issuing instructions to salaried employees on how to respond to such a strike.
The memo makes clear that Walmart, the world's largest private employer, views the labor protests as a serious attack, a message that runs contrary to the company's public comments that the strikes are mere "publicity stunts," as Walmart's vice president of communications David Tovar told The Huffington Post Tuesday.

"As you know,” the memo opens, “activists or union organizers have been trying for years to stop our Company’s growth and to damage our relationship with our customers and members. One of the activists’ or union organizers’ tactics is to try to disrupt the business by urging our associates to participate in a walkout or other form of work stoppage.”

The majority of the memo is aimed at instructing managers not to violate workers' legal right to engage in concerted activity, or non-union labor organizing. Managers are directed not to “discipline” employees who engage in walkouts, sit-ins or sick-outs.

Legal experts said the confidential memo shows an unprecedented level of caution from a company that has taken harsh stances towards employee attempts to organize in the past.

“Walmart probably has in mind that the Obama NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] often sides with unions over management,” said Lance Compa, a labor law professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Relations in Ithaca, N.Y. “So they’re being extremely cautious.”
What makes this memo interesting is that Walmart is that despite the Walton heirs lining up behind Mitt Romney, such as Sam Walton children Jim and Alice, both giving hundreds of thousands to Romney-backed super PACs and the maximum allowable direct contribution to the Romney campaign.  If the Waltons were so confident that Mitt Romney would win the election, why would they be bracing themselves for a run-in with the Obama NLRB?

Obama got into hot water with Republicans earlier this year over blocked NLRB appointments.  During a controversial recess in January, Obama made three appointments - two Democrats and one Republican - to the board allowing the board to reach quorum and resume functioning.  This was the first time the NLRB was able to perform its duty since 2010.  If these strikes were to occur and Walmart would face action from the NLRB, it would most likely be in 2013, and by then the new president would be sworn in.  If Mitt Romney were to win, as preferred by the Walton family and Walmart, Romney would certainly allow Obama's recess appointments to expire returning the NLRB to gridlock, meanwhile pushing his own, most likely pro-management candidates for the open positions.

Walmart is hedging its bets.  Right now Obama is still ahead by a decent margin, especially in swing states, which Romney needs to reach 270 electoral votes.  Right now Romney is nowhere achieving victory and the billionaire heirs of Walmart know this so despite their thousands in contributions to help elect Romney, they are preparing for four more years of an Obama administration.  That is why this memo is interesting.

Monday, October 15, 2012

CEOs Threaten Workers Over Presidential Vote

"If you vote for Obama I may have to sell my gold chair." 
Last week David Siegel, the CEO of Westgate Resorts, emailed all of his employees telling them that if Obama were to win the presidential election, their jobs will be threatened.  Siegel based his letter off a similar chain letter that circulated before but changed the letter to fit his circumstances.  Here is a breakdown of his letter (you can read the entire letter here):
As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job.
Siegel makes some contradicting statements in his opening paragraph.  He claims the economy has gotten worse over the four years that Obama has been president but that his company has been able to succeed and that the present state of the economy, which he declared as "has changed for the worse," does not pose a threat to his employee's job security.
What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
This is where Siegel threatens his employees.  A vote for the president would "threaten your job," but Siegel then tries to reassure his employees that he isn't trying to tell them who to vote for and that he encourages them to "vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best."  Siegel just told them their interests -  an Obama win means their jobs will be threatened.  He then tries to explain to his employees what is in their best interest.
However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.The current administration and members of the press have perpetuated an environment that casts employers against employees. They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
The real facts are that executive pay has outpaced workers' wages for sometime now.  Sarah Anderson and Chris Hartman of The Progressive explain it quite simply: "Here's one way to put the increase in CEO pay in perspective: If the minimum wage, which stood at $3.80 an hour in 1990, had grown at the same rate as CEO pay over the decade, it would now be $25.50 an hour, rather than the current $5.15 an hour. If the average annual pay for production workers had grown at the same rate since 1990 as it has for CEOs, these workers would have earned $120,491 instead of $24,668 in 2000."
They label us the “1%” and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I’m building. I’m sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don’t see or hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved.
You can however watch the documentary about Siegel and his family, titled "The Queen of Versaille," which details his quest to build the largest home in America despite being downgraded from a billionaire to a hundred-millionaire.
I started this company over 42 years ago. At that time, I lived in a very modest home. I converted my garage into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. We didn’t eat in fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations because every dollar I made went back into this company.

I drove an old used car, and often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, many of my friends got regular jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a nice income, and they spent every dime they earned.

They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into this business —-with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford to buy whatever I wanted.
Edward Ericson Jr. wrote the following for Baltimore's City Paper explaining just how Siegel's fortune started:
Siegel tells his story of suc­cess, found­ing the com­pany 42 years ago and dri­ving an old car, work­ing hard from his garage while his neigh­bors worked 40 hours and “spent every dime they earned.” It’s an inspir­ing story. It con­trasts, how­ever, with the story he told me and Jeff Bill­man in his office in the sum­mer of 1999 as he tried (erro­neously, it turned out) to evict the ten­ant in his $22,000-per-month house. That was quite an inter­view, and the link is still live.

Siegel, 1999, recall­ing the rent-to-own store he opened in the early ‘60s in Miami:

“Soon Siegel had a store in Lib­erty City and a fleet of Volk­swagon vans. His sales­men offered the refur­bished sets to the area’s African-American res­i­dents for $10 down and $5 a week, he says, adding, ‘I only had about $10 in each one.’

Those $5 pay­ments soon financed three stores, a gas sta­tion, a house with a pool and a Buick con­vert­ible. ‘My goal was to make $125 a week,’ Siegel says. ‘I usu­ally exceeded that.’”

To be fair, he didn’t say whether the Buick con­vert­ible was new.

Shock­ingly, Siegel’s store got burned down in the riots and he ended up in Cen­tral Florida sell­ing swamp land to gullible “investors.” He quickly went on his own and in a few years (if his 1999 rec­ol­lec­tion is to be believed) made mil­lions on those unde­vel­opable acres, mostly by tout­ing their prox­im­ity to Dis­ney World–but also by draw­ing up bogus devel­op­ment plans and occa­sion­ally clear­ing a dirt road. He sold to peo­ple in New Jer­sey, Mex­ico, and as far away as Bel­gium. State reg­u­la­tors and the fed­eral Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment came after him, but he lawyered-up and stared them down. Most of the buy­ers of his prop­er­ties (includ­ing the young man who would go on to become musi­cal direc­tor of Glo­ria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine) had lit­tle or noth­ing to show 20 years later.
 So Siegel started his business by duping people with bum land.  He did well for himself but for Siegel not well enough.

Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.
What?  He had to put his lavish 90,000 sq. ft. home building on hold and pull his kids from private school so he could keep running his business?  What a swell guy making so many sacrifices to keep his employees employed.
Just think about this – most of you arrive at work in the morning and leave that afternoon and the rest of your time is yours to do as you please. But not me- there is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself.
I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat, live, and breathe this company every minute of the day, every day of the week. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour.

I know many of you work hard and do a great job, but I’m the one who has to sign every check, pay every expense, and make sure that this company continues to succeed. Unfortunately, what most people see is the nice house and the lavish lifestyle. What the press certainly does not want you to see, is the true story of the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made.
But I thought he didn't have a lavish lifestyle.  I thought he spent all his time at the office.
Now, the economy is falling apart and people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.
Talk about hypocrisy.  The guy is building the largest home in America but had to stop because the economy went south.  Now he is resuming building his home and he doesn't want to stop again? Scott Maxwell wrote the following for The Orlando Sentinel:
Only here's the thing: Siegel's company started tanking before Barack Obama was ever elected.

The Sentinel carried its first headline — "Westgate Resorts to lay off hundreds" — in September 2008.

Back then, Siegel was quick to assign blame — not to himself, of course, but to Wall Street and Washington, where George W. Bush was presiding.

Those cuts were followed by stories about Westgate closing a call center in Missouri and Houston. Then 600 more jobs. Soon, an additional 1,000.

By December, Westgate had announced 4,000 layoffs — and the company was such a mess Siegel was urging employees to ignore rumors of bankruptcy.
So now his economic woes are caused by Obama?
Unfortunately, the costs of running a business have gotten out of control, and let me tell you why: We are being taxed to death and the government thinks we don’t pay enough. We pay state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes and unemployment taxes.

I even have to hire an entire department to manage all these taxes. The question I have is this: Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?
He had to hire people to manage his business?
Obviously, our present government believes that taking my money is the right economic stimulus for this country. The fact is, if I deducted 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, that’s what happens to me.

Here is what most people don’t understand and the press and our Government has chosen to ignore – to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Instead of raising my taxes and depositing that money into the Washington black-hole, let me spend it on growing the company, hire more employees, and generate substantial economic growth.
So Siegel wants more money to be kept in his pocket and why?  To build his massive house?  To take out more loans to build more resorts?
My employees will enjoy the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But that is not what our current Government wants you to believe. They want you to believe that it somehow makes sense to take more from those who create wealth and give it to those who do not, and somehow our economy will improve.
In the last four years, in the period that Siegel himself described as continued success, did Westgate employees experience increased wages and promotions?

If anyone can remember, a couple years ago Westgate Resorts got into some trouble for apparently not paying their associates appropriate wages at all (maybe Siegel should hire another department to manage that).  The U.S. Department of Labor said that an investigation had determined that 1,065 company employees were not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all of the hours they worked. The agency also said that the workers' premium pay did not include commissions, overtime was incorrectly computed, and Westgate failed to keep accurate time-card records.  How about the sexual harassment lawsuit against Siegel, in which he was found guilty after a former employee claimed Seigel offered millions to have sex with her.  Is this Siegel's idea of trickle down economics?
They don’t want you to know that the “1%”, as they like to label us, pay more than 31% of all the taxes in this country. Thomas Jefferson, the author of our great Constitution, once said, “democracy” will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
This falls into the same area as Mitt Romney's "47 percent"' comments and Paul Ryan's "makers and takers" comments, where he insists those who earn less are simply not as motivated as the job creators like Siegel.
Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate business, not kill it. However, the power brokers in Washington believe redistributing wealth is the essential driver of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change they want.
How will businesses succeed if nobody can afford to purchase their products?
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.

So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job.

While the media wants to tell you to believe the “1 percenters” are bad, I’m telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the “1%”; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.

You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
Did Siegel just call his employees, those who have helped him amass his fortune, "unproductive?"  Is Siegel saying that if Obama is elected he will no longer feel the desire to make money and finish his mansion and become a billionaire again?

This is just ridiculous, but not to everyone.  Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions felt inspired by Siegel to write an email to all of his employees threatening them with termination unless they vote for Mitt Romney.  
Many of you have been with ASG for over 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years. As you know, together, we have been able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues and customers. But I can tell you, if the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none. I am already heavily involved in considering options that make our independence go away, and with that all of our lives would change forever. I believe that a new President and administration would give US citizens and the world the renewed confidence and optimism we all need to get the global economies started again, and give ASG a chance to stay independent. If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come. Remember, in the world of business, companies are consolidators or they get consolidated; so far ASG has been a consolidator, completing over 60 acquisitions in our 26 year history. When we buy a company, we eliminate about 60 percent of the salaries of the employees of that company. If we lose our independence and get consolidated, the same thing would happen to ASG’s employees.
I thought Allen's email particularly interesting for a couple reasons.  He claims they have been a successful independent company but then claims that if Obama wins, other companies will buy them out and cut employees.  As a point of reference, Allen talks about how he is responsible for eliminating employees of companies he acquires.  Basically, he praises his company for creating jobs while at the same time explaining that his company kills jobs.

In some ways, he does more to discredit himself than the delusional Siegel.  He admits that he is not really responsible for job growth.  He basically doesn't want to become someone else's employee and face the same threats that he is placing on his workers.

Maybe this is Mitt Romney's newest method of getting votes.  Romney has hit the millionaire fundraising circuit to a point that he is running out of millionaires so now those millionaires are resorting to threatening their employees to vote.  I bet next step is forcing them to vote for Romney like a coal worker being forced to attend a Mitt Romney event without pay.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Conservative Media Attack Biden, Avoid Issues

It seems Joe Biden won the debate.

How can you tell?

Fox News is attacking the body language of the vice president and not the actual message he delivered.

Joe Biden attacks with "a barrage of grins, guffaws, snickers and interruptions?"

Biden's "demeanor during debate called disrespectful" and his "smiling and laughing inappropriate?"

Fox News even included this headline on their website: "Biden's Mom and Dad Taught Him Many Things, But Not Manners."  Remember when Harry Reid referenced George Romney saying Romney's "poor father must be so embarrassed about his son?"  Conservatives had a a bitch fit.

Anyway, all these criticisms against Joe Biden seem peculiar when considering what they said, or rather did not say when Romney interrupted his way through last weeks debate.  Fox News bent over for the Romney campaign, publishing everything from attacks on other media for not publishing more positive stories for their candidate to articles attacking what they call "lies" against Romney.  Those "lies" were actually all the numerously debunked talking points Romney steamrolled during the debate.

And then there is this:

The Fox News poll identifies Ryan as the winner of the debate with an overwhelming 82-point lead.  Not really a surprise though.  It is probably safe to say the respondents to this poll cannot articulate a single position Romney holds, but then neither can Romney.

Even on the issues Fox News seems to leave out some important facts.  Take Libya for example.  Fox News claims Biden placed the blame of the terrorist attacks solely on the intelligence community and that the administration denied security requests but is completely absent of the fact that Paul Ryan voted against budget increases for security at foreign embassies, and in another article, Fox News attacks the Obama response to the Romney response on September 11th.

It is interesting when comparing this response to the response made by Democrats and liberals when Obama seemingly lost the debate - they focused on the facts and attacked the numerous points.  Sure they criticized Romney's demeanor and the weak moderation, but almost everyone said the same thing, that is except for people like Fox.

Here are some of the other conservative media headlines:

DEBATE: Paul Ryan Admits Romney Win Would Lead To War

"I promise to be the most radical (in the 80s sense of the word) vice president ever... right after I finish these reps and meet up with Zack, Slater, and Screech at The Max."
Paul Ryan participated in his first and only debate with Vice President Joe Biden Thursday night and there were many stand out moments. It was clear that Biden was the victor of this debate, with each establishing a clear difference between the candidate they support. While there were many statements made on either side that I would love to dissect and analyze, there were a couple particular related statements made by Ryan that I felt required immediate attention - Ryan's criticism of the administration's Iranian policies and his later explanation of when American military force would be used.

Ryan responded to Vice President Biden by expressing his opinion that Iran poses a security threat to America and that their quest to acquire nuclear capability needs to be thwarted, preferably by a President Romney:
We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability. Now, let's take a look at where we've gone -- come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material -- nuclear material to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They're racing toward a nuclear weapon. They're four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.
Ryan then discussed the administration's sanctions against Iran claiming that Romney proposed sanctions against Iran five years ago and that Ryan himself had been personally fighting for sanctions since 2009, despite objections from the administration.
Mitt Romney proposed these sanctions in 2007. In Congress, I've been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. The administration was blocking us every step of the way. Only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration.

Imagine what would have happened if we had these sanctions in place earlier. You think Iran's not brazen? Look at what they're doing. They're stepping up their terrorist attacks. They tried a terrorist attack in the United States last year when they tried to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a restaurant in Washington, D.C....
Then, Ryan insisted that because of the feet-dragging of the administration, the delayed sanctions have diminished the credibility of the administration's tough stance with Iran and that the threat of military action is no longer viewed as serious by the ayatollahs.
And so, in order to solve this peacefully -- which is everybody's goal -- you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. Look at where they are. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. It's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. It's because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us for putting the tough sanctions in place.

Now we have them in place because of Congress. They say the military option's on the table, but it's not being viewed as credible. And the key is to do this peacefully, is to make sure that we have credibility. Under a Romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue.
Fast forward to the end of the debate when moderator Martha Raddatz revisits the matter of Iran and national security, asking Ryan "What's your criteria for intervention?"

Paul Ryan responded with the following:  "What is in the national interests of the American people."

When pressed about intervention for humanitarian interests Ryan elaborated, where he seemingly implied that if Mitt Romney were to be elected president, America would go to war with Iran.
Each situation will -- will come up with its own set of circumstances, but putting American troops on the ground? That's got to be within the national security interests of the American people.

That means like embargoes and sanctions and overflights, those are things that don't put American troops on the ground. But if you're talking about putting American troops on the ground, only in our national security interests.
Now if you watched the entire debate, you might remember that in the beginning of the debate Ryan stated that Iran was a national security interest.  When asked which was worse, "another war in the Middle East, or a nuclear-armed Iran," Ryan responded with the following:
A nuclear-armed Iran which triggers a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This is the world's largest sponsor of -- of terrorism. They've dedicated themselves to wiping an entire country off the map. They call us the Great Satan. And if they get nuclear weapons, other people in the neighborhood will pursue their nuclear weapons, as well.
So by Ryan's own definition, would a President Romney commit American soldiers to another Middle Eastern war because it is in the interest of our national security, or would he continue the route of using sanctions and embargoes, which is what the current administration has been doing?

Considering every answer Ryan gave the moderator was some elusive response, as opposed to the direct statements Vice President Biden made to the American people, I think it is safe to say that a Romney/Ryan ticket would lead to World War III.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Paul Ryan: We Need To Civilize Inner Cities

"The path to prosperity is to civilize these savage inner cities... but ignore everything  Romney and I had said prior to the debate."
Adam Goldberg wrote the following for The Huffington Post:
Paul Ryan sat down for an interview on Monday with ABC 12 in Flint, Michigan, and things didn't go quite as planned.

In the clip, which was removed from ABC 12's website but captured and posted by BuzzFeed, the station's reporter asks Ryan, "Does this country have a gun problem?'

The GOP vice presidential candidate responds that "this country has a crime problem." When the reporter asks for clarification, Ryan explains that "good, strong gun laws" are currently on the books, "but we have to make sure we enforce our laws."

He goes on to clarify:
"We have lots of laws that aren't being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That's what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another."
ABC 12's reporter then offers a somewhat odd retort, asking, "And you can do all that by cutting taxes? By...with a big tax cut?"

"Those are your words, not mine," answers Ryan. A voice off-screen then implies that the interview is over, telling the reporter, "thank you very much, Sir."

Ryan then abruptly stands up and removes his microphone, immediately ending the interview and telling the reporter, "That was kind of strange. You're trying to stuff words in people's mouths?"
Essentially, in response to a question regarding firearms and crime, Paul Ryan shifts to poverty in the inner cities, with a solution of civilizing these people by teaching them "good discipline" and "'good character."

Logically, the reporter related Ryan's comments to the policies advocated by himself and his running mate - tax cuts.  The reporter didn't specify tax cuts on who but just tax cuts in general, but Ryan wasn't having it - his handlers off screen put the kibosh on the interview and Paul Ryan left calling the question "strange."

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck later told BuzzFeed: "The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts. Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself."

The Ryan response is interesting.  He blames the reporter for linking gun violence to tax cuts despite Ryan being the one to say that the "best thing to help prevent violent crime" is to "help people get out of poverty in the inner cities."  He then attacks the reporter personally and insists his interview was well over the time limit.

So if Ryan intended this to be a strictly guns answer, was he proposing increasing the amount of guns in the inner cities to lift these people up out of poverty?

Ryan's initial response is more in line with Romney's "47 percent" comments secretly recorded earlier this year and Ryan's own "welfare state" comments.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said at a fundraiser in May. "All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

"Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state," Ryan said. "Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers."

Sounds to me like Ryan's response to the ABC reporter was one not about guns but about taxes and what Republicans classify as "personal responsibility," where the "takers," as Ryan would put it, have no "discipline," "character," or "value."  Ryan's handler probably realized that the real Ryan was coming out in the interview and was not inline with moderate Debate Romney so he pulled the plug.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

GOP Tries To Buy Votes With Promise To Stop Annoying Robo-calls

Updated October 9th, 2012! 

 I have uploaded a video recording of one of these nuisance robo-calls Mitt Romney has been using to raise money and badger people into voting for him. Check out the video below!

It appears the Orange County Republican Party of Florida have decided to take a different approach in convincing Central Floridians to vote Republican this election cycle - bribe voters with the promise of ending robo-calls.

That is correct.

The Central Florida GOP are sending out massive "voter guide" mailings to voters telling them that they can "stop the robo-calls by voting absentee" and then instructing voters to order their absentee ballots by contacting the supervisor of elections and if they have any more questions to contact the local Republican party.

This new scheme seems to be in violation of Florida electoral statutes:
104.012 Consideration for registration; interference with registration; soliciting registrations for compensation; alteration of registration application.

(1) Any person who gives anything of value that is redeemable in cash to any person in consideration for his or her becoming a registered voter commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. This section shall not be interpreted, however, to exclude such services as transportation to the place of registration or baby-sitting in connection with the absence of an elector from home for registering.

(2) A person who by bribery, menace, threat, or other corruption, directly or indirectly, influences, deceives, or deters or attempts to influence, deceive, or deter any person in the free exercise of that person's right to register to vote at any time, upon the first conviction, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and, upon any subsequent conviction, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.   
The Republican Party is seeking to indirectly influence the election by giving voters a "guide" filled with Republican candidates and then telling them they can prevent nuisance phone calls if they just vote as soon as possible.  The GOP goes as far as to even promote candidates for non-partisan positions such as property appraiser, sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, school board, judicial candidates, and soil and water management.

These newest tactics are interesting when also considering other efforts undertaken by Florida Republicans, such as the recent voter purge, which disproportionately targets Democratic voters, hiring absentee ballot brokers, and the hiring of a firm engaging in fraudulent voter registration activities.

And does anyone find it peculiar that Republicans opened up an office directly across the street of the polling location in affluent Dr. Phillips, Orlando (down the street from prominent neighborhoods like Bay Hill)?

The same polling place was also where the following  photocopied drawing was distributed back in 2008?

What do you think?

Update! - Check out this video of one such robo-call!