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October 31, 2012

VOTING Gangnam Style!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:11 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Real Estate Idea

How about everyone who understands what climate change is sell their coastal property to people who believe it is a hoax! You can still get good prices ...

... and maybe the oil companies will even subsidize their purchases!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:42 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 30, 2012

I Upgraded To Windows 8 And Love It

First, the excuses... We have Macs and PCs at home. I mostly use a PC laptop for legacy reasons. (Had to migrate from Mac to PC a long time ago for work, now everything is on the PC... Oh, and Macs cost 2-3 times as much for the same thing, and Apple just rips you off with no mercy. They overcharge for everything, even simple $2 connector cords can be $30. Apple is an aggressively predatory company.) (Oh, and there is no excuse for not making things in the USA, and no excuse for their aggressive tax avoidance schemes which deny the American public good schools, etc. Apple is an aggressively unpatriotic company.)

So anyway, I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and I love it. I "get" it. I feel like I have been freed from the PC in the ways that the Mac made me feel that I was free to just work instead of dealing with the computer and its setting all the time.

Before you upgrade, you need to understand some things. It is not what you expect, and it is too early for most of you to do it.

Windows 8 is not really an "upgrade" to the Windows you know and understand, it is an entirely different paradigm. It will feel like you need to learn everything from scratch. Maybe, maybe not but after you have learned how to use Windows 8 it is much better. It makes the computer easy to use and gets the system out of your way.

It is going to take a while for enough people to learn Windows 8, and for the ecosystem of apps (it heavily follows an app design, like a smartphone) and programs that integrate all of Windows 8's features. So most people should just wait. Also installation can have quirks that only computer-literate people can overcome at this point. So wait.

But it's great.

And by the way, I know a few things about computers and operating systems.

Update - here's what's missing in Windows 8: a clock. On most screens you don't see the time, the way you did on older versions of Windows. Maybe there's a setting or something but not having the time visible screws me up.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:14 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Is Hurricane Sandy God's Punishment For Ignoring Global Warming In Debates?

Conservatives and the Christian Right regularly blame hurricanes on abortion, liberals, government and "teh gay." But Hurricane Sandy actually is an "unprecedented." This "Frankenstorm," with a gale-force wind diameter of 1040 miles, is the largest hurricane in Atlantic history, with the lowest barometric pressure. So we really should ask the question: is Hurricane Sandy actually God's punishment for not bringing up climate change in the presidential debates?

RWNJs

Here are just a few samples of what a few of the many right-wing nut jobs (RWNJs) ("the base") have had to say about hurricanes:

Michelle Bachman said that Hurricane Irene was God's punishment for our having a government that provides services to our people, (seriously, she said it):

"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."

The Rev. Pat Robertson told us that Hurricane Katrina was God's retribution for legalized abortion.

The Pope made Gerhard Wagner a bishop after he blamed Hurricane Katrina on teh gay.

Another Unprecedented Storm

So here we have another "freak," "once in a hundred years," "unprecedented," "no one has seen this before" storms that we are experiencing all the time now.

The Washington Post the other day, Hurricane Sandy may be unprecedented in East Coast storm history,

With computer models locked in on the eventuality of a punishing blow for East Coast from Hurricane Sandy (with the latest model runs favoring the northern mid-Atlantic), analyses suggest this storm may be unlike anything the region has ever experienced.

Etc. Please read Climate Progress, CNN Bans Term ‘Frankenstorm’, But It’s A Good Metaphor For Warming-Driven Monster: ‘Largest Hurricane In Atlantic History’.

Why Attribute Hurricane Sandy To Global Warming?

The term "climate change" is used to refer to the fact that the ... uh ...climate is ... uh ... changing. This is a result of the warming of the atmosphere that results from putting massive amounts of CO2 into the air, primarily by burning coal and oil as an energy source. The CO2 acts like a layer of glass to trap heat in the atmosphere that would previously have bounced off the earth and into space. This trapping effect acts just like the way the glass in a greenhouse traps heat inside. This is why CO2 is called "greenhouse gas."

The trapped heat eventually changes the patterns of the weather, and melts ice that then causes the oceans levels to rise. This change in weather patterns is what we are beginning -- just beginning -- to experience. Flood, massive "freak storms, terrible heat waves that go on and on with higher temperatures, increased severity of hurricanes, droughts, huge regional fires, and all the rest of the "weird weather" people are talking about...

The scientifically predicted changes in the climate include:

Severity: The increased heat from global warming puts more energy into storms, so they are stronger.

Rain and snowfall: Storms, including hurricanes, will be loaded with extra moisture, so higher rainfall will make flooding more frequent and worse.

Rising seas: melting ice slowly increases sea levels, so storm surges, etc., will be worse.

The Campaign Mostly Silent On Climate Change

Climate change was not much of an issue in the Presidential debates, except in the extent to which the candidates promoted more drilling for oil and more mining of coal, hence increasing the problem. In the first debate Mitt Romney actually mocked people who are warning about climate change and sea-level rise, and criticized President Obama for investing $90 billion in wind and solar -- and just lied, saying that half of the investments had gone bankrupt.

However, in an interview on MTV President Obama was asked about climate change, and said (TPM),

"We're not moving as fast as we need to," Obama said. "This is an issue that future generations, MTV viewers, are going to have to be dealing with even more than the older generation is. So this is a critical issue -- and there's a huge contrast in this campaign between myself and Governor Romney. I'm surprised it didn't come up in the debates."

Obama said Romney "says he believes in climate change....but he says he's not sure that man-made causes are the reason" As for his own views, "I believe scientists who say we're putting too much carbon emissions into the atmosphere and it's heating the planet and its going to have a severe effect."

Possibly related: NY Times, Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign,

The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies, is the top energy spender this year with its “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Although the ads avoid explicitly endorsing any candidate, they clearly echo policy stands taken by Mr. Romney and the Republicans: opposing regulations that might slow down drilling and denouncing Mr. Obama’s proposal to eliminate oil industry subsidies.

The Terrifying Math Of Global Warming

Here is the climate problem in a nutshell. As Bill McKibben explained in Global Warming's Terrifying New Math:

1) We have to try to hold warming to 2 degrees Celsius, we're at .8 of that now with huge storms, drought, floods and all kinds of effects. It gets dramatically worse from here - heading towards crop failure, famine, running out of water, rising seas, mass extinctions ...

2) To hold at 2 degrees we can put no more than 565 gigatons CO2 into atmosphere.

3) Current proven coal, oil and gas reserves is 2,795 gigatons even if we discover no more. That is 5 times what we can burn and stay at 2 degrees. But that is worth $20 trillion in oil company assets, they will fight to the death to be able to burn that carbon.

God's Punishment

No matter what you consider "God" to mean, clearly this "unprecedented" hurricane, arriving just before the election is a signal to all of us that we must stop ignoring this problem. Things might be "unprecedented" now, but are projected to get much, much worse.

Here is Grist's David Roberts explaining that "Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed,"

Please click through to see the accompanying slide show.

Also, Democracy Now: Bill McKibben on Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change: "If There Was Ever a Wake-up Call, This Is It"

"The last time we saw anything like this was never."

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 28, 2012

A Fresh Idea

Up With Chris Hayes should have John McCain on as a guest.

And George Will.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:30 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 27, 2012

How Romney Will Do Business As President

Remember how the Bush administration made cronies rich? Here is how Romney will run things. Mitt Romney spends big on firms tied to aides,

Mitt Romney's campaign has directed $134.2 million to political firms with business ties to his senior staff, spotlighting the tightknit nature of his second presidential bid and the staggering sums being spent in this election.

Nine firms that are run by, or recently employed, top Romney aides have received almost a third of the $435.8 million that Romney's campaign and a related fundraising committee have spent on operating expenses through Oct. 17, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of federal election finance reports.

$134.2 million steered to cronies. Contrast this with Obama:

President Obama's reelection campaign and a joint fundraising committee have paid about $5.8 million in consulting fees to companies with business ties to senior strategists, according to the finance reports.

A Romney administration will be entirely a pay-to-play corruption racket run for insider profit. They will start where Bush left off.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

October 26, 2012

Just Lie and Lie

The last Romney on economy: Obama 'made the problem worse'

In the last month of the Bush Presidency the country lost 815,000 jobs. Do I really have to describe what else was going on in the economy when Obama took office?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:29 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Don't Forget bout The Hood - Jasiri X

Jasiri X

Directed by Emmai Alaquiva, "Don't Forget About The Hood" illustrates how the issues of the poor and urban communities have been all but forgotten in this current election season, and wonders what happened to all of the energy and organizing that took place in the wake of the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin.

"Don't Forget About the Hood" was produced in collaboration with http://hoodievote.org with Da Ricanstrukta providing the powerful soundtrack

LYRICS
See cause we broke they forget about the hood
So when you vote don't forget about the hood
I ain't telling folks don't get up out the hood
just when you living good don't forget about the hood

Let's say we did it for the hood
Put on your fitted and you hood

I'm talking to the those you know that's living in the hood
that ain't getting what they should
we won't forget the hood

We the lost and forgotten called rotten so we tossed to the bottom
Let em tell it we the source of the problem
They call us gangbangers and illegals
Cane slangers of da evil
Like we the main danger to the people
So our issues don't get the same anger or treated equal
if you not one of them change raisers they don't see you
So the hood every week is ignored
Before these politicians speak to the poor they reach for the door
now voter ID is the norm
Police brutality's not reformed poverty's even more
Tens of thousands of human beings they still deport
And they made it a felony if you come back and get caught
We need to stop cheering for sides like its a sport
Vote for your self and your own hood time is short
Cause doing nothing ain't a option
Do something get it poppin
Real action over talking
The whole world is watching

So when you vote don't forget about the hood
Get out and vote but don't forget about the hood
I ain't telling folks don't get up out the hood
just when you living good don't forget about the hood

Let's say we did it for the hood
Put on your fitted and you hood

I'm talking to the those you know that's living in the hood
that ain't getting what they should
we won't forget the hood

Do we remember Trayvon or is the pain gone
Do we remain strong or did we move way on
Remember when we all had pictures in our hoods
Did we forget about the hood
Zimmerman's still free I don't know about you but it kills me
This murderer could be found not guilty
Remember how we organized fortified for the ride
Polarized but mobilized I thought it was so divine
What happened to that energy we need it now more than ever
Many people kept working I will not ignore their effort
Give voice to the voiceless that's why I record this message If you really for the hood for who or for what you reppin
That the million dollar question
Millionaires is who we follow but they hollow in they lessons
What's the point of a weapon pointed in the wrong the direction
If your hood is what you reppin how strong is your connection

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:25 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Why Voters Need To Know About #Sensata

Right now a company named Sensata is moving equipment out of a factory in Freeport, Ill. and shipping it to a factory in China. Sensata will be laying off all of the American workers, but first they are making the workers train their Chinese replacements. The workers' last day is the day before our election. Here's the thing: this company is owned by Bain Capital, and Mitt Romney -- who says he is against shipping jobs to China -- will make a fortune from the move to China.

The Sensata employees have set up a camp outside the factory that they call Bainport and are trying to stop the Bain trucks that are moving the equipment out for shipment to China. These soon-to-be-jobless workers have asked Romney to come help them.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Mitt Romney. As the former head of Bain Capital and with all the visibility of a presidential campaign, he could step in and help these workers. It offers him the chance to demonstrate to voters that he means the things he says on the campaign trail, and is not just saying these things to get votes. But Romney has refused.

Mitt Romney says on the campaign trail that he will crack down on China and is against companies shipping jobs to China. These are very popular positions to take -- the public overwhelmingly wants to see things made in America again, and understands that China's trade cheating is costing us dearly. So a candidate for president would certainly say he is for doing this. But when it comes time to show that he will actually means it and will do something about it, it looks as though Romney is not doing it. These workers have asked for his help, but he won't do it. Voters should know about this, and make up their own minds about whether Mitt Romney means what he says, or just says what he needs to say to win.

Bain Capital And Sensata

Mitt Romney started the "private equity" firm Bain Capital. Bain's business model is to purchase companies using "leveraged buyouts" that borrow huge sums using the purchased company's own assets as collateral, uses the borrowed money to immediately pay itself, then cuts costs by doing things like sending jobs to China, cutting wages and manipulating tax rules to cut taxes owed, along with standard big-business practices like consolidating business units, taking advantage of economies of scale not available to smaller competitors, squeezing distribution channels for price cuts, and other practices that bring competitive advantages. (See So DID Mitt Romney Really "Create Jobs" At Staples? and Truthout: Romney & Company Shipped Every Single Delphi UAW Job to China.) After reorganizing the purchased companies and cutting costs -- namely: you -- Bain then "harvests" them for profit.

One company that Bain Capital purchased -- after Romney's time as CEO -- is Sensata, a sensor manufacturer that makes key components for our automobile supply chain. Sensata then announced it is closing the factory in Freeport, Ill., and sending all of the manufacturing and jobs to China. This is significant because China is engaged in an effort to capture the automobile manufacturing supply chain, and sensors are a key strategic chokepoint. China built a factory for Sensata, and offers other incentives to the company to move manufacturing there.

So Bain is currently moving all of the equipment out of the Freeport factory, preparing to shut it down and lay off all of the American workers. Bain/Sensata brought in Chinese workers and made the Freeport workers train them. Bain/Sensata is moving the equipment out of the Freeport factory and shipping it to China right now.

The Sensata employees heard Romney on the campaign trail, and somehow got the idea that he opposes sending our jobs to China just because he says that he opposes sending our jobs to China. So the Sensata workers asked him to come to Freeport/Bainport and help them. Read on to learn about Romney's response to the Sensata workers, and how Romney is actually making big money right now from shipping their jobs to China.

"The week before they came they took the American flag down outside the plant. The week after they left they put it back up."

Romney Making A Fortune From Sensata Sending Jobs To China

While Mitt Romney no longer manages Bain Capital, he still has millions of dollars in Bain funds and will personally make a fortune from this company moving to China - both from profits and from tax breaks. (What you and I consider a fortune, Romney might consider a drop in the bucket.)

A must-read news report by Sharon LaFraniere and Mike McIntire in The New York Times explains. As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties (emphasis added, for emphasis),

Mr. Romney also has millions invested in a series of Bain funds that have a controlling stake in Sensata Technologies, a manufacturer of sensors and controls for vehicles, aircraft and electric motors that employs 4,000 workers in China. Since Bain took over the operation in 2006, its investment has quadrupled in value. Bain continues to own $2.6 billion worth of Sensata’s shares.

Two years ago, Sensata bought an operation that made automobile sensors in Freeport, Ill. At the first meeting with the plant’s 170 workers, Sensata managers announced that by the end of 2012 all the equipment and jobs would be relocated, mostly to Jiangsu Province. Workers have staged demonstrations, pleading for Mr. Romney to intervene on their behalf.

Chinese engineers, flown to Freeport for training on the equipment, described their salaries as a pittance compared with Freeport wages. Tom Gaulrapp, who has operated machines at the factory for 33 years, said he fears he will go bankrupt after he loses his job on Nov. 5.

“This goes to show the unbelievable hypocrisy of this man,” he said of Mr. Romney. “He talks about how we need to get tough on China and stop China from taking our jobs, and then he is making money off shipping our jobs there.”

Please read the entire New York Times report, As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties. There is much more there about Romney, China, Bain and the huge gap between what Romney says on the campaign trail, and how Romney made his current $400,000/week income and how Bain Capital still makes its money.

Also see this Huffington Post report, Mitt Romney Gets Tax Break Off Firm Sending Jobs To China,

According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney. The gift is listed on page 323 of the pdf, on form 8283 (below).

Moving the stock to his nonprofit brings Romney twin benefits. First, he gets to deduct the full value of the stock. At a 35 percent tax rate, that's nearly a $250,000 benefit. At 15 percent, it's just over $100,000.

Second, Romney is able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the stock price increase. Romney's returns list no cost for the stock, and indicate he obtained them as part of a partnership interest in Bain. Avoiding capital gains taxes on the full increase would save an additional $100,000. In 2010, Romney gifted $170,000 worth of Sensata stock to his charity, saving $25,000 in capital gains taxes that year.

Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata worker facing an imminent layoff, said, "I could pay off my house with that [$25,000], and he doesn't need it anyway."

So there you have it. Mitt Romney says he opposes sending jobs to China, and says he will "crack down" on China. But he refuses to do things that he could do right now that would make an actual difference right now. And it turns out that right now he is making big money from Sensata and other companies that are sending people's jobs to China right now.

Laying off American workers – usually shipping the jobs to China – and pocketing their wages for themselves is the story of the rise of the wealth of the 1%, and the decline of the American middle class. It is the Romney/Bain/Sensata business model. And the remaining workers have to do the jobs of the laid-off workers, often for lower pay, and are threatened with losing their jobs, too, if they don't like it.

Economic Traitor?

This is an advertisement titled "Economic Traitor," that is being aired by superPACs Workers' Voice and Patriot Majority, based on Sensata:


Click here to see all of CAF's coverage of Sensata.

Bain Of Our Existence - The Go-To place for stories and info about Bain Capital.

For more information, photos and stories from the Sensata workers, please visit bainport.com.


For Fun

From UnitedNY, if Bain Capital was your psychologist:

PATIENT (LYING DOWN on couch): I think he’s depressed. I mean, he is a good kid but he just keeps to himself. I can’t get him to talk or spend time with the family and barely does any chores.
BAIN: Have you consider outsourcing? (hold shot of PATIENT)
PATIENT (confusion) You want me to outsource my son? (TURNS HEAD towards BAIN in surprise)
CUT to Bain face
BAIN: Yes, you can find some very obedient children in China or Bangladesh, even the Philippines.

(P.S. The reason I use #Sensata in the titles is because on Twitter the "hashtag" helps get the word out.)

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:00 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 25, 2012

What Do Republicans Say About Romney?

See for yourself:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:01 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Retirement Age And Unemployment

I understand that approx. 3,650,000 reach age 65 each year. So doesn't raising the retirement age by one year add 3,650,000 people to unemployment roles, because the jobs don't open up?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 23, 2012

Obama Responsible For Bush Job Loss? FactCheck.org Says Yes

When Obama took office we were losing more than 800,000 jobs a MONTH -- and according to FactCheck.org that is Obama's doing, not Bush's.

From Obama’s Inflated Jobs Claim,

In a new TV ad, President Obama makes an inflated claim to have added 5.2 million new jobs. The total added during his time in office is actually about 325,000.

In the ad, the president says “over 5 million new jobs” while the figure “5.2 million” appears on screen. But that’s a doubly misleading figure.
* Viewers would need to pay close attention to the on-screen graphic to know that the ad refers only to employment gains starting in March 2010, omitting the 4.3 million jobs that were lost in the first year of Obama’s term.
* And there’s no way a viewer would know that the total counts only private-sector jobs, omitting continuing losses in government employment.

Here is the reality:

Job_Chart_Sept.jpg

The red lines on the left are the Bush months. The blue lines are Obama months. The DOWNward-heading lines on the left side of that huge V shows what was happening before the stimulus turned things around. The right side of that V, where things start getting better, is what happened after the stimulus kicked in.

ALL the job losses that Romney -- with FactCheck.org's backing -- claims occurred because of Obama were in that V. Yes, even after the stimulus turned things around we were still losing jobs, but losing fewer each month, and then breaking into positive territory and staying there.

As for public/private -sector jobs, yes Obama did try to save public-sector jobs and did a good job of that with the stimulus, but Republicans blocked further efforts, and in the state were able to lay off many, many teachers, police, etc.

And according to FactCheck.org, that's Obama's fault, too.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

Change.org Turns Right

Here is a pretty big story: Change.org Changing: Site To Work With Corporate, Anti-Abortion, GOP Campaigns, Say Internal Documents. Yep, another "progressive" org is selling out to the corporates for money.

And please sign SignOn.org petition: Change.org: Reinstate the person you fired for letting your users know that you're going to work with corporations and the far-right

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:36 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Mitt Romney's Pitch For President

"I swear this was only driven by a little old lady who took it to the store and back once a week."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:14 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 22, 2012

Debate - Obama Won

Obama clearly won. Clearly.

Romney got of several lies that were not refuted, but several that did get refuted. After a while Romney was left just repeating his memorized script -- 4 times? Am I right that it was 4 times?

I wonder, is that ALL Romney has - just lying?

I saw Van Jones on CNN holding up an Etch-a-Sketch.

FYI - Obama never said that unemployment would be 5.4% by now. Romney repeated that lie ... how many time?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:44 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Talking China on Fairness Radio

Here is my Fairness Radio show today, talking about China trade as a foreign policy issue.

I don't start until 34:29, you have to scroll the slider to get there by clicking where the text is scrolling by:

Listen to internet radio with The Fairness Doctrine on Blog Talk Radio

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:39 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

test

Listen to internet radio with The Fairness Doctrine on Blog Talk Radio

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:33 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

I'm On Fairness Radio In A Few Min

At half past the hour. Listen live here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-fairness-doctrine/2012/10/22/the-fairness-doctrine

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 21, 2012

Oh Now What?

Just go watch it. Video of Mormon temple using a hidden camera going viral. Over 75,000 views in the last 14 hours. Welcome to the age of information Mitt Romney.

Seriosly, after you see the video go read the comments for a while, go down a ways, where many ex-Mormons start to weigh in.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Why You Should Worry That Romney Associates Bought Company That Controls Ohio's Election Voting

I just have to say again that it just blows my mind learning that Romney associates bought the company that makes the voting machines that will be used to vote and count the votes in Ohio, Colorado and other states. This is very serious, and a lot of non-tech people just don't get it. (I had one person say to me that it doesn't matter because computers don't make mistakes.)

Take this seriously, people -- the timing and the people involved tell us this is fishy. This isn't radical conspiracy stuff, talk to computer professionals, many of them really worry about electronic voting machines and the reporting systems in use these days.

Here are some links to stories about this. And please, please click through for links, and expanded details:

Brad Friedman, who has been on the voting machines issue all along, posted About that Voting Machine Company Tied to Mitt Romney and Bain Capital...

Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.

... Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.

... Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

PLEASE go read the rest.

Rick Ungar at Forbes: Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern,

And while I am not suggesting conspiracies or that anyone would get involved in any foul play here, most particularly the GOP candidate for President, how is it possible that so many people could exercise so much bad judgment?

The sanctity of voting in America is supposed to be one of our most important virtues. So concerned are we with a ‘clean’ process that James O’Keefe has made a career entrapping, video taping and destroying those sympathetic to Democratic Party candidates and causes who cross the line when it comes to the voting process. And that’s just fine. If Mr. O’Keefe can legitimately expose someone engaging in voter fraud, he most certainly should call them out.

So, why would these individuals who serve on the board of directors of Hart Intercivic go out of their way to make a contribution to any political candidate given the critical importance of their company remaining above reproach when it comes to the political process? And why would those who run the company that owns Hart Intercivic be giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to a political candidate? And why would a political candidate and his family have a financial relationship with a company that owns a chunk of the voting machine company that will be counting the actual votes given to that political candidate or his opponent?

This is one story that Friedman refers to traces Romney connections to the company buying the voting machines company, Romney, Bain Tied To Voting Machine Company To Be Used in Swing States,

Hart InterCivic is a national provider of election voting systems that are used in swing-states Ohio and Colorado, as well as in states we don’t really care about so much because we already know how they’ll turn out (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii). Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC bought out a “significant” portion of Hart in July of 2011, and now the majority of Hart’s board directors are employees of H.I.G. (It’s not entirely clear how much of the voting machine company H.I.G. owns, but the financial advisors responsible for the transaction state that “Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital.”)

H.I.G., in turn, has ties to Bain & Co. and Mitt Romney directly:

  • H.I.G. was founded by Tony Tamer, a former Bain employee and bundler for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

  • Of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors, 21 donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. ...

  • Of these 22 American directors, seven of them (nearly one-third) are former Bain employees. ...

  • Four of H.I.G.’s directors, Tony Tamer, John Bolduc, Douglas Berman, and Brian D. Schwartz, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

  • Two of H.I.G.’s managing directors, Douglas F. Berman and Brian D. Schwartz, were present at the $50,000 per plate fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his notorious ”47%” comments.

  • H.I.G. employees currently make up the majority of the Hart InterCivic’s five-member board of directors. Two of these three directors of the voting machine company, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have donated directly to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

  • H.I.G. is the 11th largest donor to Mitt Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. employees have given $338,000 to the Romney campaign, outpacing even Bain Capital itself, which gave $268,000.
    (Sidenote: Are we the only ones to notice that every single one of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors is white and male? Not related to the Mitt Romney issue, but sheesh.)

  • PLEASE click through. (Note there is a difference between Bain Capital and Bain&Co. The former is a spin-off from the latter. I also don't like the term "has ties to," that's very Glenn-Beckian, but these are strong and real ties. Also they give the appearance of a problem whether they are actually a problem or not -- major supporters of a candidate buying the voting and counting machines that will decide if that candidate wins... and this hurts the public's -- to use Romney's economy word -- confidence.)

    Here is Lee Fang on The David Pakman Show:

    My Thoughts:

    We have to insist that there is sufficient random checking of the paper records in the machines against what the machines report, and of precinct results against what gets reported, esp in Ohio. (Of course it is better if every precinct is checked against reporting, but that is a big job that will be hard to get.) And seriously, if a single precinct result is different from what is reported, we have a potential tampering problem and should demand that all precincts are checked against what is reported.

    Also, if more than a few voters in a precinct are reporting that they see something different on the paper from what they thought they voted, that also indicates a potential tampering problem.

    Anyway it is possible to have secure systems. We certainly knew how to do that -- and knew the REASONS we had to do that -- back when we all used paper ballots and ballot boxes. "Ballot stuffing" happened all the time, so they came up with checks and balances.

    Now there is much more at stake, but we no longer seem to worry about these things. But obviously if you think about it, there will be even more reason to "stuff ballots" because there is so much money involved!

    History tells us election tampering WILL be a problem! So we should be demanding that the right checks and balances are in place to make it harder to tamper with elections, and I don't see it happening.

    Once again, back when we had paper ballots and ballot boxes people came up with all kinds of schemes to tamper with elections, and we developed more and more checks and balances to make it hard to do that. It happened all the time. History says people will always be trying to tamper with our elections. Now that we use computers we seem to have less security, fewer checks and balances at the same time as the stakes are SO much higher!

    And of course, there is also the cost in people's faith in our elections. Never mind if there actually is any tampering, etc, when people hear that Tag Romney and a bunch of Bain partners are involved in buying a voting machine company before an election in which Bain Capital's Mitt Romney is running for chief plutocrat -- and in which one strategy of his party is keeping people from voting ... well just for the reason of giving people faith in the choices the voters make, we should demand that every single precinct is carefully double-checked!

    Barriers

    There are barriers to fixing this problem. One is that this privatization of elections is a corporate effort, and they have salespeople and lobbyists wining and dining local election officials around the country, offering to "solve" their resource problems through automation. They have put serious money into selling this. There's money in selling this hardware and maintenance contracts.

    The technology is not complex, but securing the results and making them transparent is resource-intensive. Actually checking those paper rolls in those machines that at least have them means people sitting there and checking and comparing from each machine. And then checking the reported precinct results against the actual precinct counts is also a major effort. The whole idea of the machines was to save money. And double-checking to be sure thecomputers did it right and were not tampered with costs money.

    But here is the biggest barrier: if you try to say anything about this, this is what happens -- typical elite hatred of the citizens and their concerns:

    https://twitter.com/chucktodd/status/260027262877974528

    votingmchnes.jpg

    Update - and of course the great Brad Friedman is on this, too: NBC News Election Expert Chuck Todd: Voting Machine Concerns are 'Conspiracy Garbage'.

    Update - I should have included this one: The Free Press, Will H.I.G.-owned e-voting machines give Romney the White House?

    Ohio's very Republican Secretary of State is John Husted, currently suing in the US Supreme Court to prevent the public from voting on the weekend prior to election day. As did Blackwell and Governor Robert Taft in 2004, Husted and Kasich will control Ohio's electronic vote count on election night free of meaningful public checks or balances

    Hart Intercivic, on whose machines the key votes will be cast in Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, was taken over last year by H.I.G. Capital. Prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital, both connected to Mitt Romney. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney's campaign. H.I.G. Directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers, as is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:18 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

    October 20, 2012

    Dependent

    Corporate conservatives say government makes people dependent.

    Government is We, the People, protecting and enabling each other. To any extent that we are dependent on government, that means we are depending on each other and taking care of each other.

    Something to think about: what is the alternative? If we don't have each other watching out for each other, we are on our own - at the mercy of predatory corporations -- depending on them for handouts of enough pay to even eat, and then only if we work to the bone for them, making the billionaires even richer.

    So we are either depending on each other, or depending on the billionaires.

    If We, the People, through our government, have minimum wage laws and unemployment benefits, it means that we don't have to take some terrible low-paying job that might at best pay enough to feed ourselves, never mind a family. (And we can just live in a cardboard box.)

    THAT is why they say government makes us dependent -- it's the old "if you feed them they will breed" way of looking at people, as pests, in the way, useful if you need work done... toss away when not needed.

    We can depend on government -- each other -- or we can depend on the billionaires. That's the choice we have. Don't let the propaganda turn you against government -- each other.

    If you watched Up With Chris Hayes today, you saw this quote from Ed Conard, a Bain Capital partner, describing why they outsource jobs:

    “Let’s not kid ourselves about just how cheap offshore labor really is. We not only pay substantially less per hour, we also avoid the costs we would incur if these workers immigrated here. We don’t pay for their medical expenses when they show up in the emergency room without insurance. We don’t pay for their pension costs if they don’t save for retirement. We don’t pay for their children’s public education. Nor do we pay for their out-of-wedlock children, their unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation, their slip and fall torts, their wear and tear on our public infrastructure, and the cost of their drunk driving, drug use and other crimes. We outsource pollution, its adverse effects on our health, and its clean-up costs. Neither the employees nor their employers are here to vote and seek political handouts.”

    That is what We, the People are to them: costs. In China people have no say, no We, the People, so they can pay the Chinese worker less, don't have to deal with their medical needs, pensions costs, unemployment, workers' comp ... "Slip and fall torts" means that the don't have to cover anything if the person is harmed by things they do... They don't have to pay for any public infrastructure, they can freely pollute and have no responsibility for the consequences...

    And he makes it very clear that they don't have to worry about them voting.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    What Does "Less Government" Mean?

    In America, government is We, the People making the decisions.

    When they say they want "less government" or "get government out of the way" they are saying they want less decision-making by We, the People. So who do you think they want making the decisions instead?

    When they they want less government, they are saying they want less decision-making by We, the People. So who do you think they want making the decisions instead?

    Anyway, here is a video from OMBWatch, The Invisible Helping Hand of Government:

    Public investments are essential to the success of our society, the strength of our economy, and our quality of life. From highways to communications systems, from guaranteeing student loans and mortgages to reducing unfair credit card fees, from keeping our food safe to keeping our water supply clean, we all rely on government-funded systems in our daily lives. We take these things for granted so much that they have become "invisible" to most of us. But they are a critical guarantee for our quality of life in America. http://www.investinamerica.org

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:22 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Here Is A Short Segment On #Sensata

    from my Virtually Speaking hour with Jay Ackroyd last week. Only 6 min, go ahead and listen to it:

    Listen to internet radio with Jay Ackroyd on Blog Talk Radio

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:00 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 19, 2012

    Here Is "The Young Turks" Segment On Sensata Today - With Me

    Bain-owned factory workers plead with Romney to stop plan that will send their jobs to China - The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur // Current TV

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:33 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    I'll Be Talking About #Sensata On The Young Turks Tonite

    The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur // Current TV

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:06 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    TheMiddleClass.org's Voter Guide and Ad Campaign

    This is from Campaign for America's Future:


    In the last Congress:

    · Who thought seniors would be better off with a coupon than Medicare? (H.R. 112)?

    · Who voted to give millionaires a $160,000 tax cut? (H.R. 8)

    · Who tried to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the back door? (H.R. 1315)

    Do your legislators stand with the middle class – or do they stand with the special interests? Are they on your side or on your neck?

    That's why we created the TheMiddleClass.org Voter Guide. Elected officials need to know that voting against the middle class is a danger to their political health.

    In less than a week over 300,000 people heard about this tool through Google Adwords. Our click-through rate was many times industry average. In an election year, this is an exceptional result.

    Twelve "Middle Class Zeros" are in “tossup” races according to the Cook Political Report. TheMiddleClass.org Voter Guide provides crucial information for voters before they go to the polls.

    In the last days before the election, undecided voters are starting to tune in. When they look for information, we can help them. Can you help us reach them with this important message?


    · For $20 we can reach 6,000 people with search engine ads.

    · For $50 we can reach up to 20,000 with banner ads.

    · For $200 we can place large visual ads on major online news sites.*

    Click here to donate now.

    The “Middle Class Zeros” in contested races need to know that someone is watching. With your help, we can all hold them accountable.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Isaiah J. Poole
    Director of Online Communications
    Campaign for America's Future

    P.S.: Those twelve "Middle Class Zeros" are:

    Judy Biggert
    Brian Bilbray
    Daniel Lungren
    Mike Coffman
    Jeff Denham
    Allen West
    Dan Benishek
    Chip Cravaack
    Joe Heck
    Frank Guinta
    Nan Hayworth
    Francisco Canseco

    * This is the ad we ran in Politico!

    politico-ad.png

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    I Just Don't Get The Right's Libya Obscession

    If there was a terror attack in the Bush years the administration would have been hysterically whipping it up, promoting it, terrifying people and using it to get votes.

    The Obama people are not doing this -- so the right wingers are upset?

    I just don't get it.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:57 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 18, 2012

    Don't Forget The Other Part Of Romney's Libya Lie

    Let's not forget the other part of Romney's Libya lie.

    In the debate Romney had just said Obama ignored his duties and flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser, and a minute later we find out Obama was giving an address out the tragedy in Libya from the Rose Garden - NOT Las Vegas - in which he called it an act of terror.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    WHY Did Romney Associates Buy A Big Voting Machine Company?

    OK I have to ask this. WHY would a bunch of Romney associates buy up a voting machine company?

    The story has been circulating in the background for a couple of weeks.

    Last year Hart Intercivic was bought by H.I.G. Capital. From The Free Press, Will H.I.G.-owned e-voting machines give Romney the White House? by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, (and please read the whole thing, about all the voter suppression going on, the importance of Ohio, and what happened in Ohio in 2008.)


    Prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital, both connected to Mitt Romney. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney's campaign. H.I.G. Directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers, as is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

    Why could this matter?

    US courts have consistently ruled that the software in electronic voting machines is proprietary to the manufacturer, even though individual election boards may own the actual machines. Thus there will be no vote count transparency on election night in Ohio. The tally will be conducted by Hart Intercivic and controlled by Husted and Kasich, with no public recourse or accountability. As federal testimony from the deceased Michael Connell made clear in 2008, electronically flipping an election is relatively cheap and easy to do, especially if you or your compatriots programmed the machines.

    Brad Friedman writes in, About That Voting Machine Company Tied To Mitt Romney And Bain Capital…, (this quote is full of links, so go to the original.)

    Once again, we’re reminded of the dangers of the privatization of our once-public electoral system. The company’s ties to Romney aren’t the only disturbing ones we’ve seen with similar companies over the years. The fact is, that nobody other than the public should have any sort of control of our elections. The proprietary voting systems now in use in all 50 states, whether owned by Romney associates, a George W. Bush associate (as with Diebold in 2004) or even a company tied to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (as with Sequoia Voting Systems, which blatantly lied about that tie to public officials, and the Canadian firm Dominion which purchased Sequoia and also immediately lied about the fact that Intellectual Property of their voting systems used all across the U.S. is still owned by the Venezuelan firm), continue to be a grave threat to American democracy and confidence in U.S. elections.

    This is likely to be a close election. We are going to see \states reporting for one or the other candidate after possibly hundreds of thousands of people being denied the right to vote. And some counties will pull machines out of key precincts, in an attempt to cause long line -- like Ohio did last time -- to keep people from voting.

    That is a prescription of serious problems with people accepting the election results as legitimate.

    So along with those problems now we have a bunch of Wall Street types -- people directly tied to Romney -- controlling the voting and counting in many areas!

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:37 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 17, 2012

    Must-Read To Understand Why Austerity So Wrong

    The wrecking society: Economics today

    As the evidence keeps telling us, the basic story is about as simple as it gets. The housing bubbles were driving demand prior to the collapse both directly through building booms and indirectly from the consumption generated by bubble generated housing equity. When the bubbles burst the construction booms went bust. And when the bubble generated housing equity vanished so did the consumption for which it provided a basis.

    "The economists are instead steering the world toward more years of stagnation and rising unemployment and poverty."

    The basic economic problem in this context was finding a way to replace the lost demand. The right-wing politicians and their allied economists can repeat all the nonsense the like about promoting business confidence and tax breaks for job creators, but there is no remotely plausible story in which it would be possible to generate enough demand from investment to make up for the demand lost from the collapse of the bubbles.

    This means that in the short-term the only way to make up the demand is from the government budget deficits. This is not even economic theory, it is simply accounting.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:58 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 16, 2012

    Romney, Tobacco and Kids

    Somehow no surprise: Mitt Romney's Bain Helped Philip Morris Get U.S. High Schoolers Hooked On Cigarettes,

    When Mitt Romney served as CEO of Bain & Co., his consulting firm helped tobacco giant Philip Morris develop a groundbreaking sales strategy that researchers say has been linked to an unprecedented spike in youth smoking.

    ... Philip Morris stunned Wall Street and tobacco experts by the slashing price on its flagship Marlboro brand by 40 cents a pack, to $1.80. It was a landmark day for the tobacco industry, one that became known as "Marlboro Friday" to public health experts.

    ... A year later, Philip Morris stock had fully recovered, and continued to make steady gains over the coming four years. Marlboro Friday ultimately proved to be the tobacco industry's most successful effort to increase domestic profit in the face of heavier regulations.

    The profit was the result of soaring sales that coincided with an unprecedented jump in smoking among high school- aged youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, found that the portion of young people who had smoked at least one cigarette in the previous month rose nearly 20 percent from 1993 to 1997. Youth smoking increased in all categories from that occasional user to the regular user.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:08 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Wonderful, Funny

    Go see: For all the details on Mitt Romney's 5 trillion dollar tax plan visit ROMNEYTAXPLAN.COM

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:38 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 15, 2012

    Here Is Why Google Doesn't Work Anymore

    Impersonal Google Search Results Are Few And Far Between, DuckDuckGo Says | TPM Idea Lab

    You are what you search. That’s definitely the case on Google, where any search query turns up a personalized set of results based upon your prior Google search history data, even if you’re completely logged out of your Google account.

    They had the best product and they just had to fuck with it. Too clever by half.

    For one thing, now when I search for something I have to sort through a hundred news stories about exactly the same thing...

    They have figured out how to better sell ads. Like Facebook, YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. The advertiser is the customer.

    Update - I have switched to DuckDuckGo and am getting good results so far...

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:10 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Here Is What Is Happening With #Sensata

    If you are hearing about a company names Sensata, here is the story. Right now this company is moving equipment out of a factory in Freeport, Il. and shipping it to China. They are making the workers there train their Chinese replacements. And the end of the year they are laying off the American workers. The workers have set up a camp across from the factory and have named it Bainport. (please click!) Supporters are trying to block the trucks, and some have been arrested. This is all happening right now, even as Mitt Romney says he wants to "get tough on China." So the workers have asked Romney to come to Freeport and help them.

    "The week before they came they took the American flag down outside the plant. The week after they left they put it back up."

    See Wendi Kent's moving photos of the Bainport camp, where workers are asking Romney to hep them:

    Bainport, Illinois Pt.1

    Bainport, Illinois Pt.2- Profits Over People

    What's Going On?

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney started the "private equity" firm Bain Capital. Bain Capital makes its money by purchasing companies using "leveraged buyouts" that borrow huge sums using the purchased company's own assets as collateral. They often use part of the borrowed money to immediately pay itself. Bain then cuts costs by doing things like sending jobs to China, cutting wages and manipulating tax rules to cut taxes owed, along with standard big-business practices like consolidating business units, taking advantage of economies of scale not available to smaller competitors, squeezing distribution channels for price cuts, and other practices that bring competitive advantages. (Please see So DID Mitt Romney Really "Create Jobs" At Staples? for a look at how this works.) Then, after reorganizing the purchased companies Bain "harvests" them for profit. ("Harvest" is Romney's word, watch the linked video.)

    Bain Capital purchased a sensor manufacturer that makes key components for our automobile supply chain, and named it Sensata. They immediately announced they closing a factory in Freeport, Ill., and sending the manufacturing and jobs to China to save money. (This is significant because China is engaged in efforts to dominate American auto supplies. See China Cheating Costs 400K Auto Parts Jobs and Why The Latest Trade Complaint Against China Matters. )

    Bain/Sensata brought in Chinese workers and made the Freeport workers train them. Bain/Sensata is moving the equipment out of the Freeport factory and shipping it to China right now. The Freeport employees have set up a camp outside the factory that they call Bainport and are trying to stop the Bain trucks that are moving the equipment out for shipment to China. Supporters were arrested this week, trying to stop those trucks.

    The Sensata employees have asked Romney to come to Freeport/Bainport and help them. Read on to learn about Romney's response to the Sensata workers, and how Romney is actually making big money right now from shipping their jobs to China.

    Romney's Opportunity

    Mitt Romney is not running Bain Capital anymore. While he still makes millions from the company, and gets checks from the profits made when they ship jobs to China), this is a tremendous opportunity for him. Can you imagine a better spokesman for the Bainport employees than the former head of Bain Capital, who now says he opposes the kinds of things that Bain Capital is doing here?

    This is an opportunity for Romney to show the public that he actually means it when he says he wants to do something about companies sending jobs to China! Here is his former company, people who know him, sending jobs to China right now and there is no one in a better position to put pressure on them to stop this than the former head of the company, and on top of that a presidential candidate!

    What an opportunity for Romney to show that he means what he says!

    Will Romney Help?

    Mitt Romney wants to be President, and polls show that the public overwhelmingly wants something done about jobs and factories moving to China and the resulting was pressure that puts on the rest of us and on our economy. So Romney says he will do something about it.

    But Romney's current actions are opposite his current words. He complains about China currency manipulation, but refuses to ask the Republican House leadership to bring the China currency bill up for a vote, and refuses to ask more than 60 Republican co-sponsors of that bill to sign a "discharge petition" that would force a vote.

    And Romney refuses to even meet with Sensata workers. When asked if Romney would help these workers the Romney campaign says Romney will not do it:

    "Governor Romney has not worked at Bain Capital for over a decade, but for four years President Obama has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas. Despite the President being invested in Sensata through his personal pension fund, and the government owning a major Sensata customer in GM, President Obama has not used his powers to help this situation in any way."— Curt Cashour, Romney Campaign Spokesman.

    PS - SNL

    Here is SNL addressing the disparity between how Chinese workers are treated (because they don't have a say) and American expectations:

    For More On Sensata

    Is This Why Romney Won't Talk To Sensata Workers Whose Jobs Are Being Shipped To China?

    You Should Know About Sensata - It's What The Election Is About

    Election Or Not, What Happens To Sensata-Style Workers?

    Blocking Bain Trucks To Save Jobs In Freeport – This Is An IMPORTANT Story

    Breaking – Arrests At Sensata "Bainport" Camp

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

    Also, see:

    Bain Of Our Existence - Go To place for stories and info about Bain Capital.

    Laura Clawson at Daily Kos: Mitt Romney profits as Bain sends American jobs to China PLUS a Daily Kos campaign:
    Send a message of support to the Sensata workers as they fight to keep their jobs and shine a light on what a Romney economy would look like.

    Unraveling The Romney/Bain Tax Story,

    Romney, Jobs And China – Let's Connect Dots

    Rights Report Describes Romney-Owned "Brutal Chinese Sweatshop"

    Romney, Republicans Again Side With China Over US Companies

    Ohio And China – One Side Promises While The Other Delivers

    China Is Very "Business-Friendly"

    Will Conservatives Support American Companies ... Or Chinese?

    Ohio And China -- One Side Promises While The Other Delivers

    Here is a Democracy Now! report:

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:42 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 14, 2012

    Talking Sensata on Virtually Speaking Tonite

    Virtually Speaking Sundays Dave Johnson & Jay Ackroyd LIVE 6p pdt p/9p edt @dcjohnson @JayAckroyd bit.ly/PvnE5a #Sensata #Union

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    What The Public Hears

    In my local paper today

    Above-fold front-page headline, story about how public employees are draining the state. They are not tasking vacations, and then getting all their vacation and sick pay when they retire... Getting their vacation pay is draining the state. "No vacations for taxpayers." "They're cashing in by retiring with whopping final paychecks worth, in some cases, more than $500,000 in unused time off."

    Page 2, The Kochs' quest - a story about how the Koch brothers are fighting to save America from bankruptcy.

    "The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed. Fink told them bluntly that Obama's administration represented the worst of what Charles and David fear most: a bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession. That day, Fink advised two of the richest men in the nation that it would be the fight of their lives to stop the government spending spree and to change the course of the country, starting with the 2012 election."

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:01 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 13, 2012

    Fool The Rubes With A Smile, A Story And A Scapegoat

    Go read this and tell me how MANY politicians / business leaders / pundits etc. this describes today. Balloon Juice - Time to Find a New Set of Suckers

    In fact, fooling the rubes with a smile and a scapebgoat is how things work now.

    It's The Music Man again and again.

    (h/t Atrios)

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:28 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 12, 2012

    New Video - CEOs or Kids?

    From Americans for Tax Fairness

    A new web video unveiled today by the National Education Association and Americans for Tax Fairness vividly shows how extending the Bush tax cuts for CEOs and the richest 2 percent of Americans would be paid for by cutting education funding for kids.
    Click through to take action.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 10, 2012

    The "freedom to obey"

    I have decided that this is the greatest rock and roll song. (For now.)

    "Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell"

    Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

    "Armstrong has described the album as a "snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority""


    Born into Nixon I was raised in hell
    A welfare child where the teamsters dwelled
    The last one born, and the first one to run
    My town was blind from refinery sun

    My generation is zero
    I never made it as a working class hero

    21st century breakdown
    I once was lost but never was found
    I think I am losing what's left of my mind
    To the 20th century deadline

    I was made of poison and blood
    Condemnation is what I understood
    Video games to the tower's fall
    Homeland security could kill us all

    My generation is zero
    I never made it as a working class hero

    21st century breakdown
    I once was lost but never was found
    I think I am losing what's left of my mind
    To the 20th century deadline

    We are the class of, the class of 13
    Born in the era of humility
    We are the desperate in the decline
    Raised by the bastards of 1969

    My name is no one
    The long lost son
    Born on the 4th of July

    Raised in the era of heroes and cons
    That left me for dead or alive

    I am a nation
    A worker of pride
    My debt to the status quo

    The scars on my hands
    And the means to an end
    Is all that I have to show

    I swallowed my pride
    And I choked on my faith
    I've given my heart and my soul
    I've broken my fingers
    And lied through my teeth
    The pillar of damage control

    I've been to the edge
    And I've thrown the bouquet
    Of flowers left over from the grave
    I sat in the waiting room
    Wasting my time
    And waiting for Judgment Day

    I praise liberty
    The "freedom to obey"
    Is the song that strangles me
    Well don't cross the line

    Oh dream, America, dream
    I can't even sleep
    From the light's early dawn

    Oh scream, America, scream
    Believe what you see
    From heroes and cons

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:11 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Is This Why Romney Won't Talk To Sensata Workers Whose Jobs Are Being Shipped To China?

    On the campaign trail Romney says we shouldn't ship jobs to China and should "crack down" on China trade problems. But he refuses to help or even meet with the Sensata workers whose jobs are being shipped to China right now.

    Why the refusal to line up his actions with his promises? A must-read, must-read, must-read news report explains how part of Romney's $400,000/week income comes from ... get this ... shipping jobs to China!

    First, the background...

    Sensata - Happening Today

    Mitt Romney started the "private equity" firm Bain Capital. Bain purchases companies using "leveraged buyouts" that borrow huge sums using the purchased company's own assets as collateral, uses the borrowed money to immediately pay itself, then cuts costs by doing things like sending jobs to China, cutting wages and manipulating tax rules to cut taxes owed, along with standard big-business practices like consolidating business units, taking advantage of economies of scale not available to smaller competitors, squeezing distribution channels for price cuts, and other practices that bring competitive advantages. (See So DID Mitt Romney Really "Create Jobs" At Staples?) After reorganizing the purchased companies Bain then "harvests" them for profit.

    One company Bain Capital purchased is Sensata, a sensor manufacturer that makes key components for our automobile supply chain. Sensata then announced it is closing a factory in Freeport, Ill., and sending the manufacturing and jobs to China. (China is engaged in efforts to dominate American auto supplies. See China Cheating Costs 400K Auto Parts Jobs and Why The Latest Trade Complaint Against China Matters.)

    Bain/Sensata brought in Chinese workers and made the Freeport workers train them. Bain/Sensata is moving the equipment out of the Freeport factory and shipping it to China right now. The Freeport employees have set up a camp outside the factory that they call Bainport and are trying to stop the Bain trucks that are moving the equipment out for shipment to China. Supporters were arrested this week, trying to stop those trucks.

    The Sensata employees heard Romney on the campaign trail, and somehow got the idea that he opposes sending our jobs to China. So they asked him to come to Freeport/Bainport and help them. Read on to learn about Romney's response to the Sensata workers, and how Romney is actually making big money right now from shipping their jobs to China.

    "The week before they came they took the American flag down outside the plant. The week after they left they put it back up."

    The China Problem – The Public Gets It

    During the George W. Bush administration we lost more than 50,000 factories and at least 6 million manufacturing jobs directly to China. (Never mind the effect on the supply chains, the grocery and clothing stores where those people shopped, etc... The foreclosures, the bankruptcies, the misery...) Thanks, George!

    This chart from Think Progress shows what happened to our manufacturing base immediately after Bush took office. Seriously, look at this chart and see if you can just guess why we have such a terrible economy today:

    The public gets it – the problem is China. Polls show that the public overwhelmingly – by percentages in the 80s and 90s for Democrats and Republicans alike – understands that a huge part of our economic troubles come from the was we have been shipping jobs, factories and industries to China.

    ABC News, from July: ‘Made In America’ Policies Hugely Popular, Survey Shows

    Nearly 9 out of 10 Republicans and Independents and 91 percent of Democrats said they support “Buy America” preferences, according to the survey, which was conducted by the Democratic-leaning Mellman Group.

    Another poll,

    When it comes to trade with China, the poll found that voters emphatically support tough action on Beijing’s cheating on currency and other trade obligations.

    Another, from a key state: New Zogby Poll: Ohio Voters Favor Boycott of China Over Unfair Trade.

    Romney Can Read Polls

    One thing the Romney campaign can do is read polls. So Mitt Romney sees the polls and says he wants to do something about China.

    The Hill: Romney, campaigning in Ohio, vows to stop China's 'cheating' trade practices

    Bloomberg: Romney Ad Says He Will `Stand Up to China': Video

    The Hill: New Romney ad says Obama won’t ‘stand up to China’ on trade, jobs

    So, on the campaign trail Romney says he will stand up to China's cheating, and opposes companies that send jobs and factories to China.

    Romney Refuses To Help – Even Talk With – Sensata Workers

    Romney wants to be President, and polls show that the public overwhelmingly wants something done about the problem of jobs and factories moving to China, and the resulting was pressure that puts on the rest of us and on our economy. So Romney says he will do something about it.

    But Romney's current actions are opposite his current words. He complains about China currency manipulation, but refuses to ask the Republican House leadership to bring the China currency bill up for a vote, and refuses to ask more than 60 Republican co-sponsors of that bill to sign a "discharge petition" that would force a vote.

    And Romney refuses to even meet with Sensata workers. When asked if Romney would help these workers the Romney campaign says Romney will not do it:

    "Governor Romney has not worked at Bain Capital for over a decade, but for four years President Obama has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas. Despite the President being invested in Sensata through his personal pension fund, and the government owning a major Sensata customer in GM, President Obama has not used his powers to help this situation in any way."— Curt Cashour, Romney Campaign Spokesman.

    Why is Romney saying he wants to do something about the trade problem with China, but refusing to actually do anything about the trade problem with China? Here is one possible reason why.

    Romney Making Big Money From Bain Sending Sensata Jobs To China

    A must-read news report today by Sharon LaFraniere and Mike McIntire in The New York Times explains. As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties (emphasis added, for emphasis),

    Mr. Romney also has millions invested in a series of Bain funds that have a controlling stake in Sensata Technologies, a manufacturer of sensors and controls for vehicles, aircraft and electric motors that employs 4,000 workers in China. Since Bain took over the operation in 2006, its investment has quadrupled in value. Bain continues to own $2.6 billion worth of Sensata’s shares.

    Two years ago, Sensata bought an operation that made automobile sensors in Freeport, Ill. At the first meeting with the plant’s 170 workers, Sensata managers announced that by the end of 2012 all the equipment and jobs would be relocated, mostly to Jiangsu Province. Workers have staged demonstrations, pleading for Mr. Romney to intervene on their behalf.

    Chinese engineers, flown to Freeport for training on the equipment, described their salaries as a pittance compared with Freeport wages. Tom Gaulrapp, who has operated machines at the factory for 33 years, said he fears he will go bankrupt after he loses his job on Nov. 5.

    “This goes to show the unbelievable hypocrisy of this man,” he said of Mr. Romney. “He talks about how we need to get tough on China and stop China from taking our jobs, and then he is making money off shipping our jobs there.”

    So there you have it. Mitt Romney says he opposes sending jobs to China, and says he will "crack down" on China. But he refuses to do things that he could do right now that would make an actual difference right now. And it turns out that right now he is making big money from Sensata and other companies that are sending people's jobs to China right now.

    Laying off American workers – usually shipping the jobs to China – and pocketing their wages for themselves is the story of the rise of the wealth of the 1%, and the decline of the American middle class. It is the Romney/Bain/Sensata business model. And the remaining workers have to do the jobs of the laid-off workers, often for lower pay, and are threatened with losing their jobs, too, if they don't like it.


    Please read the entire New York Times report, As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties. There is much more there about Romney, China, Bain and the huge gap between what Romney says on the campaign trail, and how Romney made his current $400,000/week income and how Bain Capital still makes its money.

    Visit the Bainport blog for pictures and details about the Sensata workers who are trying to stop the Bain trucks from shipping the equipment from the factory to China.

    More on Sensata:

    You Should Know About Sensata - It's What The Election Is About

    Election Or Not, What Happens To Sensata-Style Workers?

    Blocking Bain Trucks To Save Jobs In Freeport – This Is An IMPORTANT Story

    Breaking – Arrests At Sensata "Bainport" Camp

    Also, see:

    Unraveling The Romney/Bain Tax Story,

    Romney, Jobs And China – Let's Connect Dots

    Rights Report Describes Romney-Owned "Brutal Chinese Sweatshop"

    Romney, Republicans Again Side With China Over US Companies

    Ohio And China – One Side Promises While The Other Delivers

    Update: Here is a Democracy Now! report:

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:51 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Mst Watch! FDR: Let Me Warn You

    Wow does this sound familiar! FDR:

    >div align="center">

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 8, 2012

    Talking Sensata Arrests

    I'll be talking about arrests at Sensata at half past I talked about Arrests at Bainport (see post below) on fairnessradio.com. Listen to podcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-fairness-doctrine/2012/10/08/the-fairness-doctrine

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Breaking -- Arrests At Sensata "Bainport" Camp

    Sensata is a Bain-owned company that is closing a factory in in Freeport, Il to move the jobs to China. The workers have set up a camp they call "Bainport" and workers and supporters are trying to block the Bain trucks that are moving equipment out to ship to China right now. In breaking news there were arrests made today.

    Last week in the post Blocking Bain Trucks To Save Jobs In Freeport -- This Is An IMPORTANT Story I wrote about the Sensata workers in Freeport who have set up a camp they call Bainport, and are asking Mitt Romney to show that he means what he is saying about cracking down on China by coming to Freeport and asking his former company not to send these jobs to China.

    The Sensata workers camping at Bainport as asking Mitt Romney to come help them keep their jobs. Romney insists that he has nothing to do with Bain Capital anymore (his tax returns showed that he gets more than $400,000 a week from Bain investments).

    Helping the Sensata workers would show that he means it when he says he has nothing to do with the things Bain does now, and that he will do something about the jobs being sent to China. What better opportunity to prove both than to show up and confront Bain for sending these jobs to China!

    Romney, Bain And The Outsourcing Strategy

    Mitt Romney and Bain "pioneered" outsourcing strategies. They invested in companies set up to help other companies send jobs to China, and they especially used offshoring in their strategies to avoid paying the taxes that enable We, the People to have good schools, roads, courts etc. The NY Times story, Offshore Tactics Helped Increase Romneys’ Wealth explained,

    Some of the offshore entities enabled Bain-owned companies to sidestep certain taxes, increasing returns for Mr. Romney and other investors. Others helped Bain attract foreign investors and nonprofit institutions by insulating them from taxes, again augmenting Mr. Romney’s bottom line, since he shared in management fees based on the size of each Bain fund.

    In Unraveling The Romney/Bain Tax Story I explained how it works,

    The complicated story of how the 1%ers and their corporations evade democracy's taxes is the story of our crumbling schools and infrastructure and the flow of all the gains of our economy to a very few at the top. This tax evasion is also part of the story of our deficits and debt. The tax evasion is "legal" -- because the tax evaders pay the people who write the tax laws. And even as their tax evasion adds to our budget deficits and debt, the 1%ers are insisting we close the deficit by cutting Social Security, Medicare and "safety-net" programs!

    [. . .] The American-based entities can buy American companies without incurring "foreign-based" obligations. Then the foreign-based entities can avoid the taxes that the American-based buyers of companies would have to pay. And the foreign-based investors can be in the foreign-based parts of the company, avoiding US tax obligations. Also American entities like pension funds can avoid US taxes they would otherwise have to pay.

    To put it another way, the same company can pretend it is US-based when that is what it needs to be, and foreign-based when that is what it needs to be.

    Mitt Romney is wealthy because he engaged in strategies to lay people off, sending their jobs to China and pocketing the wage differential for himself. Then his companies would force people to take wage cuts or risk losing their jobs, too, and pocking the wage difference for himself. The profits from these "enterprises" were manipulated in ways that enabled him to pay very little in taxes, so the rest of us end up not only with layoffs and lower wages, but bad schools, crumbling infrastructure and government debt.

    Then later, Mitt Romney can claim that We the People are the cause of the resulting government debt and that we need "austerity" -- less for We, the People in order to keep taxes low.

    Arrests

    Today community members supporting the Sensata workers were arrested for trying to block Bain trucks from sending the factory's equipment to China.

    Visit the Bainport blog for pictures and details.

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 7, 2012

    RoboRomney Agrees With You

    Boing Boing found a RoboRomney site where you can ask for liberal, moderate or conservative Romney positions on any issue, and the site will print out Romney quotes, where he took that position.

    Mitt Romney agrees with you - Boing Boing

    Oh, it will also give you a video with Romney taking those positions!

    I guess if Romney wins I have to start a new category on this blog, "Liar"

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:48 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Gas Price Rise Not Due To Election

    We are assured by very serious people that the incredible rise in gas prices just before an election in which the oil companies hate one candidate, whose prospects are diminished by high gas prices, and love the other candidate,, whose prospects are improved by high gas prices, has absolutely nothing to do with the election. Nothing at all. Hey look over there.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:43 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 6, 2012

    Is Voter Suppression A Criminal Conspiracy?

    This is worth a look: Tea Party Voter Suppression Group Under Investigation for Possible ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ | NationofChange

    The Tea Party organization launching a multi-pronged voter suppression effort this election is under investigation by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for a possible “criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”

    Cummings sent a letter to True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht warning her that the Ohio branch of the group, in suing to throw thousands of students, trailer park residents, homeless people and African Americans off the voting rolls, may be violating the law:

    Go read.

    In my opinion, all they need is one email in which they say they are trying to promote one political party, not look for illegal voters, and that would show that it IS a criminal conspiracy. If they actually mean it that they are only trying to stop people from voting illegally, and nothing else, that's one thing. If that really is only a cover story, we are seeing an actual criminal conspiracy, and people who help to develop the cover story are co-conspirators.

    Blocking citizens from their right to vote is serious shit, people, and we should take it seriously. It is ILLEGAL, and people should go to jail for it.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 5, 2012

    It's A Winner!

    #1 Seeing the Forest: Election Prediction,

    Here is my election prediction.

    In November we are all going to be in shock that the Republicans would do that, go that far, do such things, let it get to that point. We simply aren't going to believe that that could have happened in this country, this world, this day and age. All of us.

    #1 And another,

    Gasoline prices are about to start climbing, and will continue to climb through the summer, and well into the fall. No one will be able to pin down exactly why.

    Heh.

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:34 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Three Important Videos On Romney Debate Lies - Now Four

    Here are short videos showing just 3 of the times Romney lied in the debates.

    Where he said he wants more teachers hired:

    On his tax plan:

    On his health plan:

    Here is another, from Daily Kos:


    Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:39 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    So DO Tax Cuts Create Jobs?

    In Wednesday's debate Mitt Romney repeated his claim that cutting individual and corporate income taxes creates jobs. But when you look at what actually happened, the periods when we had the highest tax rates were the periods we had the greatest job and economic growth. And the periods with lower taxes had lower job and economic growth. (And we all know what happened in the Bush years...)

    Here is Romney at Wednesday's debate,

    "54 percent of America's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate. And if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. For me, this is about jobs. This is about getting jobs for the American people."

    and,

    "The problem with raising taxes is that it slows down the rate of growth. And you could never quite get the job done. I want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time."

    So DO tax cuts for rich people and already-profitable businesses create jobs? DO businesses hire people when they have extra money? When few customers are coming through the door will tax cuts cause businesses to hire people to sit around reading newspapers or checking Twitter?

    I think that people with jobs have money to spend and then the businesses that get their business will hire people, and will make money and be happy they have profits to pay taxes on. And I think that the numbers -- and charts that help us visualize those numbers -- back me up. Here are some of those numbers.

    Michael Linden at Center for American Progress took a look at tax rates and job creation, in Rich People’s Taxes Have Little to Do with Job Creation, Conservative Arguments that Higher Income Taxes for the Wealthy Hurt Employment Don’t Hold Up to Scrutiny,

    ... in years when the top marginal rate was more than 90 percent, the average annual growth in total payroll employment was 2 percent. In years when the top marginal rate was 35 percent or less—which it is now—employment grew by an average of just 0.4 percent.

    And there’s no cherry-picking here. Pick any threshold. When the marginal tax rate was 50 percent or above, annual employment growth averaged 2.3 percent, and when the rate was under 50, growth was half that.

    In fact, if you ranked each year since 1950 by overall job growth, the top five years would all boast marginal tax rates at 70 percent or higher. The top 10 years would share marginal tax rates at 50 percent or higher. The two worst years, on the other hand, were 2008 and 2009, when the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent. In the 13 years that the top marginal tax rate has been at its current level or lower, only one year even cracks the top 20 in overall job creation.

    OK, got that? The periods of highest job growth correspond to the periods of highest tax rates on the wealthy. 70% top tax rates. 90% top tax rates. Maybe this is because that money gets used to build roads and bridges and buildings and ports and dams and the things that make our economy more efficient and competitive. And maybe because the years of low tax rates are the years of government cutbacks because there isn't enough revenue coming in -- infrastructure not maintained, education budgets cut, etc.

    What do tax rates do to economic growth? Romney says raising taxes hurts the economy. Is that what happens?

    Michael Linden looked at what happens with taxes and GDP growth, in The Myth of the Lower Marginal Tax Rates, Conservatives’ Go-To Growth Solution Doesn’t Hold Up (I'll spare you the blow-up photo of Speaker Boehner's face),

    The top marginal income tax rate has ranged all the way from 92 percent down to 28 percent over the last 60 years. With such a large range, it should be easy to see the enormous impact of lower rates on overall economic growth, as conservatives routinely claim. Years with lower marginal rates should boast higher growth, right?

    That’s definitely not what happened. In fact, growth was actually fastest in years with relatively high top marginal tax rates. Back in the 1950s, when the top marginal tax rate was more than 90 percent, real annual growth averaged more than 4 percent. During the last eight years, when the top marginal rate was just 35 percent, real growth was less than half that.

    Altogether, in years when the top marginal rate was lower than 39.6 percent—the top rate during the 1990s—annual real growth averaged 2.1 percent. In years when the rate was 39.6 percent or higher, real growth averaged 3.8 percent. The pattern is the same regardless of threshold. Take 50 percent, for example. Growth in years when the tax rate was less than 50 percent averaged 2.7 percent. In years with tax rates at or more than 50 percent, growth was 3.7 percent.

    These numbers do not mean that higher rates necessarily lead to higher growth. But the central tenet of modern conservative economics is that a lower top marginal tax rate will result in more growth, and these numbers do show conclusively that history has not been kind to that theory.

    Zaid Jilani at CAP's Think Progress also takes a look, in Top Reagan Economic Advisor: Return To Clinton-Era Tax Rates Would Not Hurt Economic Growth,

    Historically, the United States has actually had some of its strongest periods of economic growth while taxes were high. As this graph from Slate shows, some of our strongest periods of growth in gross domestic product actually occured while taxes were very high:

    In the 1950s, which had one of the sharpest periods of economic growth in all of American economic history, the top marginal tax rates for the richest Americans stretched above 90 percent. Likewise, economic growth in the relatively higher-taxed 1990s was much stronger than in the 2000s. This isn’t to say that higher taxes necessarily cause greater economic growth, but it does seem to show that higher taxes do not appear necessarily to be impeding job growth, nor are lower taxes especially helpful.

    OK, did you see those charts? Not only do high taxes on the rich not impede growth, but growth looks to be higher when taxes are higher. Maybe this is because higher taxes on the rich means that the government -- We, the People -- has more to spend on the things that make our economy more efficient and competitive like schools, roads, bridges, transit systems, courthouses, judges, etc...

    And, again, the periods of low taxes are the periods of government cutbacks ...

    David Leonhardt at the NY Times looks at recent numbers, in Do Tax Cuts Lead to Economic Growth?

    President George W. Bush and Congress, including Mr. Ryan, passed a large tax cut in 2001, sped up its implementation in 2003 and predicted that prosperity would follow.

    The economic growth that actually followed — indeed, the whole history of the last 20 years — offers one of the most serious challenges to modern conservatism. Bill Clinton and the elder George Bush both raised taxes in the early 1990s, and conservatives predicted disaster. Instead, the economy boomed, and incomes grew at their fastest pace since the 1960s. Then came the younger Mr. Bush, the tax cuts, the disappointing expansion and the worst downturn since the Depression.

    (Click that graphic for larger)

    Whoa, did you see what happened after Bush cut taxes for the rich? Do you remember what happened after Bill Clinton got taxes increased on the rich?

    My own 2010 post, Did The Rich Cause The Deficit? included this chart, (The red line is the tax rates, the blue is growth and the red arrow shows the trend.

    Top Tax Rate vs GDP

    But, from that post, one thing that cutting taxes on the rich obviously does cause is deficits:

    TopRates_vs_Debt_Chart

    And deficits cause government to cut back, cut infrastructure projects, cut the things government -- We, the People - does for We, the People. And the economy slows...

    The real job creators are working people with money in their wallets.

    Tax the rich, use the money to modernize our infrastructure and help regular working people. Build roads, schools, bridges, ports, airports, dams, courthouses, wind farms, water systems, high-speed rail, municipal transit systems, all the things that make our economy efficient and competitive...

    (PS I also came across a chart showing that lowering capital gains rates correlates with lower, not higher, economic growth. But somehow we knew that would be the case...)

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    October 3, 2012

    Best Line Of The Debates

    "If you are 54 or 55 you might want to listen now."

    Seriously, what did you think "There will be no changes in Medicare for Social Security for current retirees" actually means?

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:17 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Blocking Bain Trucks To Save Jobs In Freeport

    There is a real-life story playing out in real time in Freeport, Illinois, which is west of Chicago. Bain Capital is closing a Sensata factory there, to move the jobs and work to China. The workers are camped out in a tent city they have named "Bainport." They are asking Mitt Romney to show that he means what he says about jobs and China by helping them keep their jobs. Right now the Sensata workers are blocking trucks brought in to ship the equipment to China. This is an important story because it tells the story of our economy's loss of jobs and factories and the resulting downward wage pressure. It is also the story of how a very few people are enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

    Blocking Trucks

    WIFR.com: 'Bainport' Blocks Equipment Removal,

    Members of the “Bainport” tent community say two trucks pulled into the factory lot around 6 this morning to begin removing machinery from the building, and sending it over to China.

    Once the truck pulled in, about a dozen members from “Bainport” and other supporters from the outside community blocked the entrance so cargo could not go in or out.


    The Freeport Journal Standard: Sensata workers protest as ‘time runs out’, (emphasis added, for emphasis)

    “We saw them bringing in trucks to remove the equipment,” said Sensata employee Tom Gaulrapp. “We are going to try and stop them. We are more and more desperate as time runs out. We’ll do whatever we have to at this point.”

    Police were called to the scene as protestors had said they would block the trucks from leaving. As of press time, protestors had complied with police and no arrests had been made.

    ... “We hope that the next company that decides to outsource jobs will think twice and look at what we’re doing here,” said Gaulrapp. “We want a place where our kids can get good jobs and be able to stay here in Freeport. It rips up the town and it rips up families.”

    Asking Romney For Help

    The Sensata workers camping at Bainport as asking Mitt Romney to come help them keep their jobs. Romney insists that he has nothing to do with Bain Capital anymore (his tax returns showed that he gets more than $400,000 a week from Bain investments).

    Helping the Sensata workers would show that he means it when he says he has nothing to do with the things Bain does now, and that he will do something about the jobs being sent to China. What better opportunity to prove both than to show up and confront Bain for sending these jobs to China!

    When asked about this, the Romney campaign responded,

    "Governor Romney has not worked at Bain Capital for over a decade, but for four years President Obama has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas. Despite the President being invested in Sensata through his personal pension fund, and the government owning a major Sensata customer in GM, President Obama has not used his powers to help this situation in any way."— Curt Cashour, Romney Campaign Spokesman.

    See also Ryan Grimm and Dave Jamieson at Huffington Post, Mitt Romney Gets Tax Break Off Firm Sending Jobs To China,

    While the workers and the town may suffer, Romney himself has done well as a result of Bain's work with the company. According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney. The gift is listed on page 323 of the pdf, on form 8283 (below).

    Moving the stock to his nonprofit brings Romney twin benefits. First, he gets to deduct the full value of the stock. At a 35 percent tax rate, that's nearly a $250,000 benefit. At 15 percent, it's just over $100,000.

    Second, Romney is able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the stock price increase. Romney's returns list no cost for the stock, and indicate he obtained them as part of a partnership interest in Bain. Avoiding capital gains taxes on the full increase would save an additional $100,000. In 2010, Romney gifted $170,000 worth of Sensata stock to his charity, saving $25,000 in capital gains taxes that year.

    Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata worker facing an imminent layoff, said, "I could pay off my house with that [$25,000], and he doesn't need it anyway."

    ... Rebecca Wilkins, an attorney with Citizens for Tax Justice, said that Romney's move is a prime example of the way that the super-wealthy are able to game the charitable deduction while still holding on to their money.

    The Harvest

    This video is titled "Romney's latest harvest" based on the "harvest" video, in which Romney described Bain's strategy to "harvest" companies for profit:

    OLB Spends an Evening at Bainport from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

    See And Read

    You can see striking and wonderful photos of the people and their camp in this Daily Kos diary by "noise of rain," The Faces of Outsourcing: Bainport's Tent-City Protest in Pictures,

    Sensata is owned by Bain Capital which was co-founded and previously run by U.S. Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Recently, a video has come to light in which Romney explains the business model he created for Bain Capital and states their purpose is to buy companies and “hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit,”. In January 2011, Bain Capital announced they would be outsourcing over 170 jobs from this plant as well as all equipment, to China. Romney, still owning stock in Bain, stands to profit quite a bit from this move.

    You can read about Bainport at bainport.com,

    We're workers at Bain Capital-owned Sensata, 2520 Walnut St, Freeport, Illinois. We're fighting to save our jobs from being shipped to China by the end of this year. We are calling on Mitt Romney to come to Freeport, IL and we will camp across the street from our plant for as long as it takes!

    Help spread the word, this is an important story!

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:17 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

    October 1, 2012

    Jobs Are For We, The People. Budget Cuts Are For The Billionaires. Who Will Prevail?

    We have millions unemployed with millions more underemployed or just gave up looking, our infrastructure is literally crumbling, our trade deficit is horrendous, our "safety net" has eroded below minimum acceptable standards, pensions are cut or gone, the climate is getting more and more unpredictable and dangerous, and how many other problems can you name? But the billionaires will tell you that our biggest problem is too much government -- the very entity that exists to fix those problems. Will we get the jobs that We, the People want or the cuts in government that the billionaires are pushing for?

    Deficit Hysteria Is About Cutting Government

    Keep this in mind in the coming months -- the deficit hysteria and the "fiscal cliff," are all about cutting government and the things We, the People do for each other, so that the billionaires can have more. Who benefits if we cut government - Medicare, Social Security, the "safety net" programs, education, health and safety regulation and inspection, environmental controls, bank regulation, etc.? All of these help We, the People but are in the way of the billionaires.

    How do we get to this bizarre point where DC elite, the corporate media, etc are all talking about cutting the safety net and the things we do for each other, when the obvious problem is jobs? Why isn't this vast media machine writing and talking and showing videos about jobs and jobs and jobs?

    Surplus To Deficit -- What Changed?

    Before Reagan the country did not have a big debt problem - and then we did. Reagan implemented changes that create huge yearly deficits that added up to big debt. When Clinton left office we had huge budget surpluses, and we were actually paying off the debt. Bush implemented some changes that immediately turned the surpluses into deficits, and left office with a $1.4 trillion deficit -- in one year.

    So ... something changed under Reagan and then under 'W' Bush. Are the deficit cutters talking about reversing those changes? Are they talking about fixing the things that caused the deficits that added up to this huge debt?

    Sacrifice

    The deficit problem came from tax cuts for the rich, the size of the military budget (Reagan doubled it, 'W' Bush doubled it again), effects of the trade deficit, and the revenue loss and safety-net costs (due to lack of jobs) that fall out from the Wall Street financial crisis.

    Instead of fixing what caused the deficits and debt, the elites say we should all make "sacrifices" to fix the problem. Except, of course, there are no "sacrifices" for the very ones who benefited from those changes Reagan and Bush made. They got huge, huge tax cuts and to pay for the results of those tax cuts We, the People are being pushed to accept "sacrifices." No one is talking about putting the top tax rate back up to pre-Reagan levels -- back when we took care of the infrastructure and funded our schools, etc. They are not talking about hiring millions to modernize our infrastructure and make our buildings energy-efficient.

    Starting about the same time as Reagan cut taxes on the wealthy the wages of people who work for a living began to stagnate and the income and wealth inequality started to accelerate. In other words, almost all the benefits from gains in our economy started to go to a few at the top of the ladder. Some dramatic numbers illustrate this. For example, you may have read that in 2010 93% of the gains from the "recovery" went to the top 1%. Or you may have read recently that the wealth of the Forbes 400 went up by $200 billion last year.

    But now that it is time to "sacrifice" who is supposed to do the sacrificing? We, the People, and programs like Medicare, Social Security, the "safety net," health and safety regulations, environmental protections, etc.

    Another Billionaire Weighs In

    Ross Perot is in the news today whipping up deficit hysteria, with a huge-headline assist from the Drudge Report pointing to this Politico story, Ross Perot: No 2012 endorsement, saying we could "lose our country" or "be taken over."

    “We’re on the edge of the cliff, and we have got to start fixing it now. Otherwise, we’re leaving a disaster to our children’s and our grandchildren’s future,” he said.

    ... Perot talks about his fear of the United States being taken over.

    “If we are that weak, just think of who wants to come here first and take us over, and the last thing I ever want to see is to see this country, our country taken over because we’re so financially weak we can’t do anything and we’re moving in that direct. … We could even lose our country if we don’t get this fixed and straightened out and nobody that’s running really talks about it, about what we have to do and why we have to do it. They would prefer not to have it discussed.

    Krugman On Democracy

    Today Paul Krugman, in The Real Referendum, points out that the public is turning against candidates who are exposed as wanting to cut the things We, the People do for each other,

    Voters are, in effect, being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare, which represents an extension of that legacy. Will they vote for politicians who want to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, who denounce Social Security as “collectivist” (as Paul Ryan once did), who dismiss those who turn to social insurance programs as people unwilling to take responsibility for their lives?

    If the polls are any indication, the result of that referendum will be a clear reassertion of support for the safety net, and a clear rejection of politicians who want to return us to the Gilded Age. But here’s the question: Will that election result be honored?

    What he means is that the public's wishes are clear, but there are indications that after the election the "Grand Bargainers" are going to try again to cut the things We, the People do for each other, so the billionaires can have it even better. This is what the Simpson-Bowles plan is, this is what the "fiscal cliff" hysteria is about.

    Will the election results be honored? Will it be jobs (We, the People) or budget cuts (the billionaires).


    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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    Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:15 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Warn People - "Won't Back Down" Is A Right Wing Corporate Propaganda Movie

    Get the word out. The movie Won't Back Down is another propaganda product of the corporate/conservative machine, put in theaters to get you to support union busting and school privatization.

    Over at the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, Mary Bottari writes in 'Won't Back Down' Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal, (please go read the whole thing),

    Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film "Won't Back Down" -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "Parent Trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

    While Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, it was taken up and launched into hyperdrive by two controversial right-wing organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

    So why are we getting a major motion picture, widely distributed, that pushes a right-wing agenda? More on this from Mary, (again, there is much more at the link, including links embedded in what I have here) (emphasis added, for emphasis)

    Philip Anschutz, Right-Wing Billionaire, Owns Production Company

    "Won't Back Down," is a production of Walden Media, owned by billionaire investor and right-wing extremist Philip Anschutz. Anschutz participates in the Koch brothers' secretive political strategy summits and funds David Koch's Americans for Prosperity group, which backed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's union busting proposal and is working to defeat Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates across the country.

    Anschutz bankrolls ALEC and ALEC member groups. In 2010, The Anschutz Foundation, gave ALEC $10,000 and his Union Pacific firm was an ALEC sponsor the following year. The Foundation funded three ALEC members who sat on the ALEC Education Task Force which approved the Parent Trigger Proposal: The Independence Institute, Center for Education Reform, and Pacific Research Institute.

    Anschutz has also supported the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which backs legislation designed to cripple unions; the Discovery Institute, which seeks to get creation "science" accepted in public schools; and the Mission America Foundation, whose president considers homosexuality to be a "deviance." He also owns the conservative magazine, the Weekly Standard.

    Walden Media was one of the producers of the pro-charter documentary film "Waiting for 'Superman'." This film was criticized by Diane Ravitch as propaganda and as "a powerful weapon on behalf of those championing the 'free market' and privatization."

    Rupert Murdoch, Media Mogul and Owner of Education Testing Company, Distributes Film

    The film is being distributed by 20th Century Fox, owned by News Corp. and media mogul Rupert Murdock. News Corp. owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Murdoch formerly owned the British newspaper News of the World, which imploded once it was revealed that reporters hacked into the cell phones of the family of a murdered child, as well as the cell phones of the royal family, politicians and celebrities. The paper's top editors and reporters were arrested although Murdoch himself has not been charged.

    As CMD previously reported, News Corp. has been a member of both ALEC's Education Task Force and Communications and Technology Task Force. Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore, is an ALEC "scholar" and both the Wall Street Journal and Fox News have gone to bat for ALEC as member corporations began to flee earlier this year. What is less well known is that News Corp. owns Wireless Generation, a for-profit online education, software, and testing corporation, acquiring it in 2010 for $360 million. Wireless Generation is also an ALEC member. Apparently, Murdoch was anxious to get a piece of the nation's education system, which he describes as a "500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed." News Corp's senior Vice President in charge of its education division is none other than former Chancellor of New York City Schools, Joel Klein, who promoted a corporatist model of education reform.

    The conservative machine is on it. Today, the Heritage Foundation's "Morning Bell" is pushing the film, with Morning Bell: Hollywood Steps Up in “Won’t Back Down”,

    A new movie opens in theaters today that couldn’t be more timely. The school year is hitting its stride, and the teachers union in Chicago just captured the national spotlight by strong-arming that city to meet its demands—at the expense of students and taxpayers.

    ... the message of Won’t Back Down is one of empowering parents. In the film, parents are attempting to “take over” the school, referring to a type of law called a parent trigger law. Seven states have a version of this law, which gives parents the power to intervene in failing schools. If a majority of parents in a school want to reform it, these laws give them options, often including converting the school into a charter school and replacing school staff.

    Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers warns, (from Randi Weingarten: Right-wing agenda drives movie on education at The Cap Times),

    The film features the union leader sharing a quote that anti-public education ideologues and right-wing politicians often attribute to former AFT president Albert Shanker: “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.” Despite the frequency with which corporate interests claim Shanker said this, a review of news reports, speeches, and interviews with Shanker’s aides and biographers, and even an analysis by the Washington Post, failed to find any person or report that could corroborate the statement.

    This is not the only time the movie resorts to falsehoods and anti-union stereotypes. Viola Davis’ character tells other teachers that the new school they create cannot be unionized because the union would restrict their ability to implement reforms that help kids. This is false — unions are democratic organizations made up of individual educators, and collective bargaining is the process by which individuals come together to make things better. Many examples demonstrate that far from blocking reform efforts, unions fight for the things children need to thrive in school, like safe classrooms and smaller class sizes. And unions empower educators to win the tools and voice they need to help children.

    Half of all teachers in the United States do not have collective bargaining contracts. The reality is that the states with the highest union density — states such as Maryland, Massachusetts and Minnesota — are the states that lead the nation in student achievement.

    Sabrina Stevens, writing at AlterNet in Why 'Won't Back Down" doesn't stack up, explains, (the whole thing is an absolute must-read!)

    As a former union teacher and present union staff member, what struck me most profoundly while watching Won’t Back Down was the stark disconnect between the way people and schools were characterized in the film and the way they are in the real world.

    ... In my work, I’ve spent time with hundreds of teachers, mostly in high-poverty schools that get low test scores. From teaching and preparing to teach for hours on end, to providing food, care and inspiration for hurting kids, these are dedicated, hard-working people who routinely go well above and beyond in their work. (A popular joke among teachers hinges on the notion that the hours in your contract aren’t the hours you’ll actually work, but the hours for which the district will begrudgingly pay you. It’s well understood by all that it is literally impossible to get everything done in that time period.)

    I personally remember lots of overstuffed rolling tote bags (an especially popular option among teachers who needed to bring work home after school ended) and reusable coffee mugs (popular among us newbies who often worked such long hours we barely saw daylight during the fall and winter months) in the school I worked in. Likewise, the school day itself was often a whirr, with teachers bouncing around among 25, 30 or more students at a time during lessons; moving in and out of meetings, planning and professional development sessions; and making calls and handling other daily logistics during “free” periods.

    Yet in the movie, it is repeatedly asserted that the union contract prevents exactly this kind of work from taking place...

    Please be warned about this movie, and help to let others know what is going on here.

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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    Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:14 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Election Or Not, What Happens To Sensata-Style Workers?

    A group of workers whose jobs are being outsourced to China is touring the "rust belt." They are trying to make an election point. But what about the day after the election?

    Sensata Workers - More Jobs Going To China

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the workers at the Sensata factory, You Should Know About Sensata - It's What The Election Is About,

    Workers facing outsourcing by Bain Capital are camping outside the Sensata factory in Freeport, Ill. They are asking Mitt Romney to show up and help save their jobs. They say they will stay camped there until Romney shows up and stands with them – or with Bain.

    Mitt Romney can can use this to show us if he wants to be president of the whole United States, or just president of, by and for the outsourcing 1 percenters.

    All Mitt has to do is show up and help these workers. He says he is not part of Bain, and wants to be President of all of the country. Mitt Romney can can use this to show us if he wants to be president of the whole United States, or just president of, by and for the outsourcing 1 percenters. He could - and should - do that.

    The Bain Workers Bus Tour

    Workers from Sensata have left Missouri and are stopping in are stopping in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, the presidential debate in Hempstead, NY -- and are (eventually) heading toward Boston where both Bain Capital and the Romney headquarters are located.They want Romney and Bain to ask them not to send their jobs to China. You can read about their progress at BainWorkerBus.com.

    The thing is, these workers might be at this plant, run by this company, but there are millions of workers - millions - in the same boat. Or whose jobs have left or are leaving on the same boat, anyway.

    The Chart That Says It All

    It is more than just these Sensata workers -- they are a symbol of the damage that our terrible "trade" policies have done and are doing to our country. A company can just close a factory here, open it there, bring the same stuff back to sell in the same stores here and call that "trade?" And they can get tax breaks for doing that? They can use the threat of doing that to bust unions and cut our wages? Polls show that We, the People overwhelmingly want this changed, yet it doesn't change.

    Look at the chart in this post at Think Progress: After Nearly A Decade Of Declines, Manufacturing Jobs Begin Rebound. It shows what happened to our manufacturing base literally immediately after George 'W' Bush took office. Seriously. Look at this chart and see if you can just guess why we have such a terrible economy today.

    During the Bush administration we lost more than 50,000 factories and at least 6 million manufacturing jobs directly to China. (Never mind the effect on the supply chains, the grocery and clothing stores where those people shopped, etc... The foreclosures, the bankruptcies, the misery...) We have a huge trade deficit with China -- money that we send to China and then complain that there is not enough money to do things here.

    Imagine how our economy would be doing if we had actual trade with China, where we buy things from them and they buy just as many things from us?

    After The Election

    After the election the country is going to be diverted into a battle over how much more damage we can do to ourselves. Instead of addressing the trade deficit -- the cause of our budget and jobs deficit -- our plutocrat-funded elites are going to play a Shock Doctrine game of whipping up hysteria about the budget deficit. They are going to terrify the public about "the fiscal cliff" that occurs when the Bush tax cuts expire, and when the deal that put off the hostage-taking over the debt ceiling cuts the military budget, and then the safety net.

    Instead of addressing jobs and inequality and wage stagnation and trade and climate and crumbling infrastructure and manufacturing policy and, and, and, they are going to all try to outdo each other offering ways to cut the things that We, the People do for each other -- all to keep taxes low for the super-wealthy. Some call this the "Grand Bargain" where they offer up austerity -- working so well in Europe -- instead of jobs.

    Bob Borosage wrote about an alternative approach. Since Jobs Fix Deficits, let's wait on attacking the budget deficit until there are enough jobs. He calls this a "Jobs Trigger" - enough jobs triggers the time to cut the deficit. From Good Jobs First: No Grand Bargain Without A Jobs Trigger,

    Poll after poll shows that voters are concerned most of all about jobs and the economy. Yet in Washington and on the campaign trail, attention has turned to deficits and how to get our books in order.

    [. . .] The presidential candidates and Congress should be pressed to adopt a budget version of the “jobs trigger.” Putting people back to work is the first step to getting our books in order. So Congress should pass a fiscal trigger as part of any grand bargain: Comprehensive deficit reduction measures will kick in only when the economy is moving, and unemployment comes down to 5 percent or so.

    Please go read the whole post, We must all demand a jobs trigger after the election. Jobs first, then fix the deficits.

    And to fix jobs, we have to fix "trade." We have to stop this idea that it is OK to close a factory here, open it there, then send the same goods back here to sell in the same stores, and use the threat of doing that to even more of us to force wage and benefit cuts, bust unions, etc.

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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    Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:12 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

    Warning - Deceptive Anti-Labor Ballot Initiative In California (Prop 32)

    In California there is a dangerous, deceptive proposition on the ballot that promises to get "special interest" money out of our elections, and is being sold as a way to stop the flood of corporate money. But actually this proposition doesn't stop corporate money at all -- it only stops political activity by unions. If it passes this means that from now on only corporate money will fund California's elections.

    Here is how Prop 32 is being sold to the public: "Politicians take millions in campaign contributions from corporations and government unions and then vote the way those special interests tell them."

    Here is the trick: it bans use of money collected from the paychecks of union members. This pretty much means all union money is banned. But corporations do not use paycheck deductions to get the money they use! Only unions do! Then Prop 32 specifies that corporations can't put money into elections, so here are the types of businesses that are exempted:

    And, to make matters even worse, Prop 32 prohibits "government contractors" from political activity. But it is worded to prohibit any government employee unions from political activity, because these unions have employment contracts with state or local governments.

    While it very loosely defines corporations in a way that keeps business interests open to funding campaigns, here is how it defines unions:

    "Labor union"” means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.

    ANY organization that represents the interests of working people is banned from politics if this law passes. Think about that.

    Guess Who Is Funding Prop 32

    Guess who is funding this proposition? (Hint, as if you needed one: it's the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove's corporate front group, big corporations, and others.)

    AFL-CIO: Kochs Send Millions to Silence California Workers with Prop. 32

    Resources

    AFL-CIO: California’s Prop. 32: How Does It Affect Union Members?

    California Labor Federation page with information about Prop 32.

    Stop the Special Exemptions Act

    Rick Jacobs: Mitt + Koch = Prop 32 Ways to Buy CA,

    The Kochs and Rove understand that if they can keep union money out of politics, they win hands down. If Prop32 passes in California, one-third of SEIUs political budget is gone, with sizeable chunks taken from the AFL-CIO and just about any other big national union you can think of.

    Full text of Prop 32 here. Also at Ballotpedia.


    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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    Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:09 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos