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cal04

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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 38,311

Journal Archives

Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming “Humanity’s Most Pressing Concern”

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/01/31/415196/saudi-oil-minister-global-warming-humanity-most-pressing-concern/

Americans use the term “Saudi Arabia of” to describe an abundance of something — usually energy. We are the “Saudi Arabia of wind,” the “Saudi Arabia of coal,” the “Saudi Arabia of efficiency,” and so on and on and on.

I’ve come to jokingly use this term for anything really huge. (We are, after all, the Saudi Arabia of climate denial.) So in true American spirit, I am dubbing yesterday’s speech by Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi the Saudi Arabia of bold statements.

In a speech at the Middle East and North Africa energy conference in London yesterday, Al-Naimi — who once called renewable energy a “nightmare” — hailed energy efficiency and solar as important investments, global warming “real” and “pressing,” and explained that drilling for oil “does not create many jobs.”

“We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties.”

(snip)
“Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among humanity’s most pressing concerns. Societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role.”

Romney Uses Obama’s Words To Defend Health Care Reform (video)

At last night’s GOP presidential debate, Rick Santorum challenged Mitt Romney on the similarities between the health care reform he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts and President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “Your mandate is no different than Barack Obama’s mandate. It is the same mandate,” Santorum charged. “You take over 100 percent, just like he takes over 100 percent, requires the mandate. The same fines that you put in place in Massachusetts are fines that he puts in place in the federal level. Same programs.”

The comparison immediately put Romney on the defense, who claimed, “I didn’t say I’m in favor of top- down government-run health care,” and explained that he expanded access to “private insurance” and allowed people to “choose any plan” within a state-run exchange. “There’s no government plan,” he added. “And if you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders.”

Romney’s description of his plan sounded so much like Obama’s rational for the federal health care law that ThinkProgress has compiled a video comparing how both politicians describe their reforms

Watch it:
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/27/413283/video-romney-and-obama-defend-health-care-reform/

Romney Explains Profiting Off Florida Foreclosures: They Were ‘In A Blind Trust, Managed By

Romney Explains Profiting Off Florida Foreclosures: They Were ‘In A Blind Trust, Managed By A Trustee’

ThinkProgress reported Wednesday that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has profited from thousands of Florida foreclosures through a Goldman Sachs investment fund. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) blasted Romney on the trail today for those investments, and re-upped those attacks in tonight’s CNN debate.

Romney attempted to explain away the investments, saying he didn’t control them because they were part of a blind trust:

GINGRICH: Governor Romney has investments in Goldman Sachs, which is today foreclosing on Floridians. So maybe Governor Romney, in the spirit of openness, should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments.

ROMNEY: First of all, my investments are not made by me. My investments for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments they’ve made, we’ve learned about this as we made our financial disclosure, have been made in mutual funds and bonds. I don’t own stock in either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are bonds the investor has held through mutual funds. And Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own investments? You also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watch it:
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/26/412997/romney-explains-profiting-off-florida-foreclosures-they-were-in-a-blind-trust-managed-by-a-trustee/

(snip)
Romney’s reliance on blind trusts is interesting, considering it was he who called them “a ruse” when running against former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) in 1994. And as ABC News noted, the trusts are “not so blind,” since they have been noted on his financial disclosure forms. The trusts are also maintained by Romney’s personal lawyer and don’t meet federal standards for elected officials. Romney’s original investments into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meanwhile, were never in a blind trust.

Obama's State Of The Union Wishlist

President Obama made a lot of calls for specific actions by Congress at his State of the Union, as presidents are oft to do. We put them together in one giant video wishlist below:
http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/4670


&feature=player_embedded#!

Sen. Bernie Sanders Statement on State of the Union

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement after President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address to a special joint session of Congress:
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=e0299bce-e92c-4295-a7dd-17ab7cc0eb05

"President Obama is clearly right that we must address the continuing jobs crisis in America in an aggressive way. We must do all we can to create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels. While we recently have seen a small decline in unemployment, 25 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed. Putting Americans back to work must be our most important priority.

"I also appreciate that the president used his State of the Union address to talk about income inequality in America and the grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income. It is a reality that has been ignored for too long and must be addressed. It is simply indefensible, from both a moral and economic perspective, that the 400 wealthiest Americans own more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million, and that the top 1 percent earns more income than the bottom 50 percent. We can and must do better than that."

Twitter
We've got to end all of the tax breaks for the oil companies and coal companies and I'm going to introduce legislation to do just that. - B

https://twitter.com/SenatorSanders

Gingrich Used Gimmick To Avoid Paying Taxes On Millions In Income

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) caused a stir during last week’s Republican presidential primary debate when he released his 2010 tax return and revealed that he had paid a 31.5 percent tax rate on $3.14 million in income. The release came amid widespread calls for Gingrich’s fellow candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), to release his own tax returns, after Romney admitted his tax rate was about 15 percent.

But further scrutiny of Gingrich’s own returns from tax experts has revealed that his tax rate should have been even higher. That’s because, according to Forbes, Gingrich dodged “tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payroll taxes” by classifying most of his income from two companies he owns as profits and dividends, therefore avoiding the payroll tax — a technique the IRS has “consistently and successfully attacked” in the past. Newt and Callista Gingrich classified only $444,327 of their income from Gingrich Holdings and Gingrich Productions as ordinary income. Meanwhile, the other $2.4 million earned was classified as profits or dividends, meaning it was not subject to payroll taxes.

According to tax experts interviewed by Forbes, that means Gingrich is dodging taxes he likely should be paying:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2012/01/22/gingrich-used-payroll-tax-ploy-often-attacked-by-irs/

“It appears that he is not paying his fair share of Medicare tax,’’ Robert E. McKenzie, a partner in the Chicago law firm of Arnstein & Lehr LLP concluded, in an email to Forbes, after reviewing Gingrich’s 2010 tax return. McKenzie, a past chairman of the Employment Tax Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section and a member of the IRS’ Advisory Council, added: “There are a multitude of cases where the IRS has successfully challenged the improper tax strategy of this candidate and his accountants. Service businesses are only allowed to distribute a fair return on investment from an S corp. as profits exempt from Medicare taxes. The remainder of profits must be paid as salary subject to a 2.9% Medicare tax levy.”


http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/23/409602/gingrich-tax-dodging/

President Obama Reflects on Significance of Roe V. Wade Case

President Barack Obama is marking the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision by saying that the ruling was more than just about establishing a woman's right to an abortion.

Obama says in a statement that the court's decision also makes clear that the government "should not intrude on private family matters."

The president says he's committed to protecting a woman's right to choose and "this fundamental constitutional right."

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/obama-reflects-significance-roe-wade-case-15415839


Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/22/statement-president-roe-v-wade-anniversary

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

S.C. votes without new voter ID law

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57363426/s.c-votes-without-new-voter-id-law/

Dr. Brenda Williams, who grew up in the segregated South, has spent 30 years helping patients register to vote. She considers the state's new voter ID law a reminder of when blacks were forced to sit in the back of the bus.

"It is a way of disenfranchisement of certain segments of our society, primarily African-Americans, the elderly, and the indigent," Williams said in an interview in her office in Sumter, halfway between Columbia and Charleston.

"It is very sad to see our legislators try to turn the clock back," she said.

(snip)
According to the state's own data, blacks in South Carolina are 20 percent more likely than whites to lack a driver's license or a state-issued photo ID. The Justice Department flagged that statistic as evidence that the new law would be discriminatory and blocked it from taking effect under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Boehner Threatens To Hold Payroll Tax Holiday Hostage To Approval Of Keystone XL

On Fox News Sunday this morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told Chris Wallace that “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure the Keystone Pipeline is approved.” When Wallace pressed him whether Republican leadership would make the pipeline a condition for extending the payroll tax holiday, Boehner admitted, “We may,” adding (several times) that “All options are on the table.” Watch it:

http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/01/22/408749/boehner-threatens-to-hold-payroll-tax-holiday-hostage-to-keystone-xl-pipeline/


Proponents of the pipeline have dwarfed opponents in lobbying spending, inflated the actual effect it will have on job creation, and spread various myths designed to circumvent its environmental impact.

Two-Thirds Of Small Business Owners Say Citizens United Ruling Hurts Them

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/19/406772/two-thirds-of-small-business-owners-say-citizens-united-ruling-hurts-them/

Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the door for unlimited corporate spending to influence the outcome of elections.

On the eve of the anniversary, a new survey reveals that small business owners overwhelmingly say the ruling hurts their business

Two-thirds of American small business leaders believe the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case handed down two years ago on January 21 hurts small companies.

In fact, only nine percent of small business leaders thought the ruling positive, according to an independent national survey of 500 small business leaders released today by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority.

The survey also found that 88 percent of small business owners hold a negative view of the role money plays in politics, with 68 percent viewing it very negatively.

pdf at link
POLL: SUPREME COURT CITIZENS UNITED DECISION HURTS SMALL
BUSINESSES, SAY OWNERS BY 7 TO 1 MARGIN
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