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Gender: Female
Hometown: Upstate NY
Home country: USA
Current location: Houston Area TX
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 06:30 PM
Number of posts: 135,060

Journal Archives

Bain Capital Crushed Pilots' Effort To Create Union At Key Airlines

The successful launch of Bain Capital, a private equity firm founded by current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his associates in 1984, was propelled in part by a move to squash the formation of a union at one of the first companies in which it invested, according to the Financial Times.

The episode began in 1984, long before Bain became a multi-billion dollar firm. Romney and his business partners were working to buy Key Airlines, a small and somewhat troubled charter carrier that had a number of valuable assets, and turn it into a profitable investment. According to a report by the Financial Times (paywall), Romney and his colleagues orchestrated a $5 million leveraged buyout of the airline. The Times reports that Key rebounded slightly under Bain's management, but began to struggle again in 1985, a year that brought particular turmoil to the company when its pilots attempted to form a union.

Bain, which would end up selling Key for $18 million in 1986, had plans turn the company for a profit, and was presumably not eager to navigate through the additional burden of labor agreements in making a deal. According to Roger Foley, a federal judge who would later rule on a subsequent case brought by two pilots, what followed was an effort by Key's management “to stamp out any cockpit crew members’ union before it could come into being.”

more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/bain-capital-unions_n_1792381.html

Recognizing Paul Ryan’s ‘tell’ when he is trying to avoid something

By Matt Miller, Thursday, August 16, 5:05 PM

In poker a “tell” is the physical giveaway or tic that lets you know someone is lying about their hand. In politics it’s the mode of evasion a politician chooses to sidestep a truth they don’t want to admit, or to avoid saying something against self-interest. In his debut interview with Fox News’ Brit Hume Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan’s “tells” were audacious, and revealing. They suggest an opening Democrats would be wise to pursue.

Ryan (R-Wis.) tried to cloak himself in his supposedly charming “wonky-ness” to sidestep two simple questions from Hume: When does Mitt Romney’s budget reach balance, and when does Ryan’s own budget plan do the same? Ryan pirouetted because Hume’s queries threatened to expose his famed “fiscal conservatism” as a fraud.


But Hume grows quietly impatient. He practically cuts Ryan off.

“I get that,” Hume says. “But what about balance?”

You can see Ryan flinch. He doesn’t know, he says. Why not? “I don’t want to get wonky on you,” he says, recovering, “because we haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan.” But that’s not “getting wonky” at all. As common sense (and the Gingrich/Clinton approach) suggests, there’s nothing arcane about this subject. You decide on a sensible path to balance as a goal and come up with policies that achieve it. All this means is that Romney hasn’t done what a fiscally conservative leader would do. Trying to evade this as a matter of not “getting wonky” is Ryan’s tell. He’s betting Hume is too dumb, uninterested or short on time to press the point.

Ryan then adds that “the plan that we’ve offered in the House balances the budget.” But he immediately stops short of saying when — you see his eyes dart to the right at that moment, his next tell — because that would mean admitting it reaches balance in the 2030s. And Ryan wants to get through this interview without saying that, because he knows it doesn’t sound good. After all, what kind of “fiscal conservative” has a 25-year plan to balance the budget? Instead, in a practiced maneuver signaled by his telltale sideways glance, he moves to a contrast with Obama, who he says has never offered a budget that ever reaches balance.

much more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/matt-miller-recognizing-paul-ryans-tell-when-he-is-trying-to-avoid-something/2012/08/16/f70201fa-e7df-11e1-8487-64e4b2a79ba8_story.html

Family Research Council: SPLC Created Environment That Led To Shooting

Source: TPM

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins took to Fox News Thursday to say groups that oppose his organization are responsible for creating the atmosphere that led to the shooting at its headquarters Wednesday.

“Let me be very clear here that Floyd Corkins was responsible for the wounding of one of our colleagues and friends at the Family Research Council,” Perkins said. “But I believe he was given a license to do that by a group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center who labeled us a hate group because we defend the family and stand for traditional orthodox Christianity.”

In late 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the FRC a “hate group” over its opposition to gay rights and condemnation of same-sex behavior. The SPLC rating put the FRC — long a mainstay in Republican political circles — on the same list as the Aryan Nations, Nation of Islam and KKK.

The FRC and other social conservative groups rejected the label. And in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting, which was allegedly perpetrated by a man who was opposed to the group’s politics, Perkins said the SPLC needs to watch its words.

Read more: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/family_research_council_shooting_splc.php

I agree with SPLC about the label.

edited to add:

Setting the Record Straight on the FRC's Hate Group' Designation

Submitted by Kyle Mantyla on Thu, 08/16/2012 - 4:46pm
Today, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins held a press conference to comment on the shooting that took place at the organization's Washington, DC headquarters yesterday.

While Perkins put the blame for the attack on the shooter, he declared that the Southern Poverty Law Center was also responsible for the attack, saying the gunman "was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations 'hate groups' because they disagree with them on public policy."

Perkins claims that SPLC labeled FRC a "hate group" back in 2010 simply because "they disagree with [us] on public policy," and many in the media have parroted the claim. But it’s utter nonsense. As the SPLC explained, FRC received the designation "because of its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians" and even produced a report chronicling FRC's long history of biased anti-gay activism complete with a collection of the sorts of claims made by the organization:

“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

“[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion.”
— Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in “Desecrating Corpus Christi,” 1999

“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets' of a new sexual order.”
-1999 FRC pamphlet, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex with Boys.

“[T]he evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.”
— Timothy Dailey, senior research fellow, “Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse,” 2002

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

more: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/setting-record-straight-frcs-hate-group-designation

Maddow Blog: Paul Ryan condemns Paul Ryan's policy

I guess we should have seen this one coming.

Speaking at his alma mater Miami University in Ohio, Paul Ryan slammed President Obama for adopting Medicare cuts that, until last week, were openly supported by Ryan himself. [...]

Ryan went on to say that "what I don't think he'll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the Medicare program -- he raided it to pay for Obamacare."

Consider this remarkable series of events:

1. President Obama extends new benefits to seniors on Medicare and finds savings in the system to strengthen Medicare's finances.

2. Paul Ryan approves of Obama's Medicare savings and incorporates them into his own budget plan.

3. Mitt Romney endorses Ryan's plan, which includes Obama's Medicare savings.

4. Romney changes his mind, and tries to argue he's for and against the Medicare savings at the same time (for them in Ryan's plan, against then in Obama's law).

And finally 5. Ryan denounces the Medicare savings he supports.

So to review, the Romney/Ryan ticket is for and against Obama's Medicare savings, for and against including Obama's Medicare savings in the Republican budget, for and against extending benefits for seniors, and for and against strengthening Medicare's finances -- all at the same time.

more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/16/13315113-paul-ryan-condemns-paul-ryans-policy?lite

Medicare trustees: Repealing Obamacare cuts would hasten insolvency

Posted by Sarah Kliff on August 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts, returning those funds to the trust fund.

“I’m going to restore that $716 billion to the Medicare trust fund so that current seniors can know that trust fund is not being raided and get Medicare on track to be solvent on a long term basis,” he told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.

It makes for a great talking point. But if you walk through how the spending cuts actually work, as Ricardo Alonso-Zalidvar did this morning, it’s not exactly clear this would move the program toward solvency at all. It could actually make Medicare insolvent a whole lot faster.

A bit of background here: Obama’s Affordable Care Act Medicare cuts reduce how much the program pays hospitals, private insurers and other providers. The $716 billion in savings helped free up funds to pay for other health programs, like the expansion of insurance to 32 million Americans.

That was the primary purpose, at least. There was also a really important side effect: The health care law extended the solvency of Medicare’s Trust Fund. If the program pays hospitals less, each dollar stretches a little bit further. Earlier this year, the independent Medicare Board of Trustees estimated that with these cuts the trust fund would remain solvent through 2024.

more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/16/medicare-trustees-repealing-obamacare-cuts-would-hasten-insolvency/

Romney-Ryan Want It Both Ways on Medicare

By Josh Barro Aug 15, 2012 2:38 PM CT

The Romney-Ryan campaign has a problem. They're hammering President Barack Obama for cutting $716 billion out of Medicare over the next decade. But Paul Ryan's budget, approved this year by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, includes those same cuts.

Conservatives are protesting that Ryan's plan to cut Medicare is different from the president's. They're right -- Ryan would actually cut $205 billion more out of Medicare over the next ten years than Obama would. You can see that on page 91 of his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal.

How does Ryan plan to achieve Medicare cuts that are deeper than the president's? Well, he doesn't say. Ryan wants to repeal the mechanisms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are supposed to control Medicare spending, particularly the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which Ryan calls a "rationing board." He doesn't indicate what he would replace them with.

We do know one means of generating Medicare savings over the next decade that Ryan is not proposing: premium support, his signature proposal to have traditional Medicare bid against private plans. Ryan does not propose to implement premium support until 2022, meaning that it cannot be responsible for any Medicare savings he expects during the next decade.


Romney Talks Medicare Wed: Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare, I think, is the same if not identical

link to interview:


Action 2 News: Your senior campaign advisor said Sunday if the Ryan Budget would have come to your desk you would have signed it. In a January debate you called it a proposal that was absolutely right on. So I guess why are you distancing yourself from at least the Medicare portion of the Ryan Budget?

Romney: Actually, Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare, I think, is the same if not identical--it's probably close to identical. Our plan is for people 55 years of age and older. There's no change. The only change I'd mention for 55 or older is we'd restore the $817 billion President Obama took out of the Medicare trust fund.

The former Governor cites the wrong number here--talking about The Affordable Care Act. Actually, it's $716 billion in reductions--a number the campaign has been trying to hammer in the past few days. We clarify during the interview:

Action 2 News: And you're referring to that $716 billion estimate?

Romney: The $716 billion is what the President takes out of the Medicare trust fund to help pay for Obamacare. I think seniors will be outraged to learn money they put into medicare is going to be siphoned off.

Ryan's budget, which passed the Republican-controlled House, would have included many of the same reductions as the President's. Romney says they're not running on the Ryan Budget.


VanityFair- Romney: Where the Money Lives

For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.

By Nicholas Shaxson

A person who worked for Mitt Romney at the consulting firm Bain and Co. in 1977 remembers him with mixed feelings. “Mitt was … a really wonderful boss,” the former employee says. “He was nice, he was fair, he was logical, he said what he wanted … he was really encouraging.” But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information, by pretending to be a graduate student working on a proj­ect at Harvard. (The person, in fact, was a Harvard student, at Bain for the summer, but not working on any such proj­ects.) “Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ … I would not have had anything in my analysis if I had not pretended.

“It was a strange atmosphere. It did leave a bad taste in your mouth,” the former employee recalls.

This unsettling account suggests the young Romney—at that point only two years out of Harvard Business School—was willing to push into gray areas when it came to business. More than three dec­ades later, as he tried to nail down the Republican nomination for president of the United States, Romney’s gray areas were again an issue when he repeatedly resisted calls to release more details of his net worth, his tax returns, and the large investments and assets held by him and his wife, Ann. Finally the other Republican candidates forced him to do so, but only highly selective disclosures were forthcoming.

Even so, these provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. He finally included it on his 2010 tax return. Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates. While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.

more: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

Undoing Obama Medicare Cuts May Backfire on Romney.....his plan makes Medicare insolvent by 2016


The reason: Obama's cuts also extended the life of Medicare's giant trust fund, and by repealing them Romney would move the insolvency date of the program closer, toward the end of what would be his first term in office.

Instead of running out of money in 2024, Medicare says its trust fund for inpatient care would go broke in 2016 without the cuts. That could leave a President Romney little political breathing room to finalize his own Medicare plan.


"The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul.


"Gov. Romney's plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that control cost throughout the health care system and extend the solvency of Medicare," Saul said. "He will then implement real entitlement reform that places Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing so that future generations of Americans will not have to worry whether the program will be there for them."

But Obama's cuts were not directly aimed at Medicare's 48 million beneficiaries; instead they affect hospitals, insurers, nursing homes, drug companies and other service providers. Simply undoing the cuts would restore higher payments to those service providers. And that would cause Medicare to spend money faster.

more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/undoing-obama-medicare-cuts-may-backfire-romney#overlay-context=article/biden-vs-ryan-no-2s-rising-presidential-race

The Big Lie of the Day: Republicans Balance Federal Budgets

The Big Lie of the Day: Republicans Balance Federal Budgets

August 15th, 2012 10:36 pm

The Lie: Republicans have a plan to balance the federal budget and care deeply about fiscal responsibility.

The Truth: The last Republican president who ever balanced the budget was Dwight Eisenhower.

Between 1998 and 2000, President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department paid off more than $360 billion in debt. As a result of 115 straight months of economic expansion that began after an increase in the top income tax rate — which was virulently opposed by the right — the huge deficits left by 12 years of Republican rule had been transformed into a surplus.

Within months after taking office in the narrowest victory of nearly any U.S. president—by only one vote in the Supreme Court—George W. Bush had begun to turn that surplus back into deficits that grew and grew, despite funding two wars on emergency supplemental bills that were not figured into the budget.

Vice-President Cheney laughed off the promises that the Bush tax breaks would pay for themselves and the budget would be balanced: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” But deficits do matter to Republicans…whenever there is a Democratic president.

Since they woke up from a coma on the day President Obama was elected, Republicans have pushed two Big Lies: The President is responsible for the deficit, which is nearly entirely the result of Bush-era choices that the Republicans refused to abandon, and the deficit is responsible for the poor economy.

In both instances, the opposite is true.

more: http://www.nationalmemo.com/the-big-lie-of-the-day-republicans-balance-federal-budgets/?utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=website
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