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Member since: Fri May 8, 2009, 12:59 AM
Number of posts: 17,282

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HuffPo - "Yes He Did - Romney Opposed Federal Disaster Relief"

Romney's campaign surrogates have been saying that Romney would essentially do the same thing that President Obama is doing and would, of course, not abolish FEMA, but back in June, Romney was singing a different tune:


In June of 2011, during a Republican debate, Mitt Romney was asked how he would deal with disaster relief. This was in the immediate aftermath of the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 124 people. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was running out of money at the time and House Republicans, led by Eric Cantor, were insisting that they would not authorize additional funds for FEMA unless there were spending cuts elsewhere (because remember -- no matter how much we cut taxes, we never have a revenue problem. We only have a spending problem). So moderator John King asked Governor Romney whether it would be better to devolve disaster relief to the states. Romney said, "absolutely" and then further added that it would be even better if those responsibilities were left to the private sector, because it's ALWAYS better for the private sector to do anything.

King followed up to clarify that Romney's view of devolving as much as possible from the federal governments to the states and the private sector really did include disaster relief.

We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.

When it comes to multi-state disasters, it's simply not possible to manage relief on an ad hoc, local basis. National resources and national coordination are absolutely essential and our increasingly cash-strapped states are simply not in the position to take on such massive interventions. But Republicans have now declared war on FEMA. The Ryan budget, not surprisingly, has called for significant cuts to the agency. And, of course, the party denies that there is such a thing as human-induced climate change, including such effects as significant sea-level rise. In fact, Romney mocked the idea of climate change and the threat of rising sea levels just two months ago during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

TP - "Romney Opposes Fuel Efficiency Standards Actually Moving U.S. Toward Energy Independence"

One thing to keep in mind is that Romney has pledged to get the EPA out of regulating carbon dioxide emissions.


Mitt Romney’s campaign has released a new statement on fuel economy standards: “Gov. Romney opposes the extreme standards that President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices available to American families,” said campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump, but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want.”

Last week, Mitt Romney unveiled a plan for “energy independence” by 2020, a proposal analysts called unrealistic, in part because he would roll back the same initiatives responsible for lowering U.S. foreign oil consumption.

Today, the Obama Administration is set to announce new rules that boost fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which would save 3 million barrels of oil per day, 2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, and create 570,000 jobs by 2030.

Romney not only opposes these new rules, but he would undo existing standards requiring new cars reach an average of 35.5 MPG by 2016, the first improvement the fuel economy standards stalled for two decades. Last fall, Romney said he “would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks.”

The Nation - "GOP Concern for Disaster Preparedness Doesn't Extend Beyond Tampa"

Nice article by the Nation calling out Republicans for holding disaster relief hostage to achieve idealogical goals.


When the GOP nominates Paul Ryan as its vice-presidential candidate on Wednesday night, they will be putting a man who proposed steep reductions to disaster relief funds in his most recent budget—restrictions so radical that GOP appropriators in the House disobey them. Ryan proposed that Congress adhere to the debt-ceiling limitations, and not spend over them when appropriating disaster relief, but instead make cuts elsewhere to pay for them. This is the same “morally reprehensible” approach to disaster relief funding taken by House Republican leaders last summer: even as Hurricane Irene bored down on the eastern seaboard, Congressional Republicans threatened to withhold disaster relief funds if offsetting cuts were not made elsewhere in the federal budget. Holding federal disaster relief hostage to political food-fights was a truly unprecedented move.

Republicans have also continued to starve the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the money it needs to respond to natural disasters. It held FEMA hostage to the same budget battles last summer, withholding money until cuts were made elsewhere. This brought the agency literally to the brink of bankruptcy, and it was even forced to temporarily suspend relief efforts in Missouri and elsewhere last summer as the dispute raged on in Congress.

Federal agencies that monitor storms have also been targeted. The funding resolution passed by Republicans in early 2011 specifically cut funding for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association by $454 million from the president’s request. The National Weather Service, part of NOAA, saw a $126 million reduction.

Even at the state level, the party hasn’t been kind to funding victims of natural disasters. Under Republican Governor Rick Scott’s most recent budget, “Florida may not have enough money to pay off hurricane insurance claims if a big storm hits this year.”

Romney's Campaign Efforts DESTROY The MSM Talking Point That The Country Is More Conservative

The corporate media repeatedly pushes the talking point that the Nation leans conservative. Indeed, many folks have deluded themselves into believing this talking point. Yet, Mitt Romney’s 11th hour moderate makeover in which he contradicted positions that he advocated through September of this year undermines this talking point.

With the first debate, Mitt introduced the character of moderate Mitt who was not for tax cuts to the rich, was for the auto bailout, who had no plans for anti-abortion legislation, wanted to protect Medicare and Social Security, and was open to barring insurance companies from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Suddenly, Mitt’s fortunes in the polls went from dismal to competitive. Heck, by the third debate, Mitt’s best rejoinder to President Obama’s foreign policy positions was a “me too.” Gone were the references to Russia as America’s number one threat or easy trip wires to a war with Iran.

Perhaps to the chagrin of the right wing, Mitt’s election fortunes actually improved a bit with the new moderate Mitt contradicting and disavowing the positions taken for the months by the Mitt that actually won the Republican primary. Yet, Mitt still remains on the road to an election loss mainly because few people trust him anymore given his minute by minute changes in position based on the audience of the moment.

Nonetheless, the only reason why this race is competitive is that, in addition to hundreds of millions of corporate money, Mitt has muddled right wing positions and kept silent about the specifics of the right wing policies that he has advocated such as how he pays for his $6 trillion tax cut. Thus, rather than show that the Nation has moved to the right, Mitt has only managed to make up ground against President Obama by muddling the distinctions between himself and President Obama.

If the Nation were truly conservative, Romney would have been winning going away at the end of September and, rather than muddle his positions and lie, Romney would be doubling down on the right wing rhetoric and positions he was pushing during the primaries. Instead, Romney is doing his best to avoid discussing the specifics of his platform while President Obama is the one getting more specific as to how his economic plans add up as we approach the election.

Mother Jones - "What Would Romney-Ryan Mean for FEMA?" - Notable In Light of Sandy

Just a reminder that under Romney-Ryan, FEMA spending would dramatically cut and the responsibility for handling huge regional disasters would be pushed to the States, which are often in worse position than the Federal Government.


When Republicans gather in Tampa next week for their national convention, they may have some unwelcome company. No, not Ron Paul's army of supporter—Tropical Storm Isaac, which is currently winding its way through the Caribbean, is expected to pick up hurricane status and slam into South and Central Florida—directly into Tampa, according to at least one model. What that means for the convention is unclear, but since a direct hit would likely flood most of the city, organizers, city and state officials, and relevant federal agencies are planning accordingly. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has downplayed the threat to the city, but is reportedly preparing to mobilize to assist in the disaster response in South Florida, should that become necessary.

But under a Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan administration, FEMA's ability to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters could be severely inhibited. In a 2012 report on Rep. Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" roadmap (which Romney has said is similar to his own), the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that, due to the severe cuts to non-entitlement, non-defense spending, the costs for things like emergency management would have to be passed on to the states—which, with just a few exceptions, are currently in an even tighter financial bind than Washington.
"FEMA also helps states and local governments repair or replace public facilities and infrastructure, which often is not insured," the CBPP report explained. "This form of discretionary federal aid would be subject to cuts under the Ryan budget. If it were scaled back substantially, states and localities would need to bear a larger share of the costs of disaster response and recovery, or attempt to make do with less during difficult times."

LA Times - Excellent Editorial As To Why Romney Is Wrong For President

The LA Times has a great discussion of why it is endorsing President Obama, but its explanation of why Romney is wrong for President is excellent.

On economic issues, the race between Obama and Romney presents a stark choice. Romney wants to cut taxes, spending and regulations in the hope that the mix of stimulus and austerity will spark growth and reduce the federal deficit. Obama wants to trim spending but raise taxes on high-income Americans, shrinking the deficit without sacrificing investments in the country's productive capacity or curtailing Washington's role in protecting the vulnerable.

The centerpiece of Romney's campaign is his plan to cut tax rates 20% below the Bush-era cuts while eliminating enough tax breaks to make up for the loss in revenue, after factoring in economic growth. But the plan lacks credibility, in no small part because Romney has declined to specify how he'd make the numbers work. The risk is that his tax reform will drive up costs for the very middle-income Americans he says he wants to protect, who are the biggest beneficiaries of those tax breaks.

In fact, it's irresponsible to seek a deep, permanent tax cut when the government is deeply in the red. And Romney would exacerbate the situation by spending extravagantly on defense even as the last of the Bush-era wars ends. His main proposal for reducing the deficit is to cap federal spending at 20% of the economy. With Social Security and Medicare commitments growing in tandem with the rising population of retirees, however, such a cap would inevitably force draconian cuts in federal programs that are vital to productivity, such as higher education, transportation and research.

It's hard to analyze the effect of Romney's plans because he's left so many blanks to be filled in after the election. For example, he wants to replace the healthcare and financial regulatory reforms enacted in 2010, but he won't say with what exactly. He's also advocated rolling back the clock on clean energy, overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving women's reproductive rights at the mercy of state legislators and abandoning efforts to help distressed borrowers keep their homes. And he has sounded bellicose on foreign policy, particularly in regard to the complex challenges posed by Iran, Russia and China, with which he appears determined to start a trade war.

LA Times- "Obama for president: The nation has been well served by President Obama's leadership"

I am somewhat surprised that the LA Times did not simply bow to the will of its corporate advertisers, but I am happy that they made the right decision. Even more importantly, they assail Romney for his steadfast insistence on saying anything get elected. The editorial's critque of Romney is well-written.


When he was elected president in 2008, Barack Obama was untried and untested. Just four years out of the Illinois state Senate, he had not yet proved himself as either a manager or a leader. He had emerged from relative obscurity as the result of a single convention speech and was voted into office only a few years later on a tidal wave of hope, breezing past several opponents with far more experience and far clearer claims on the job.

Today, Obama is a very different candidate. He has confronted two inherited wars and the deepest recession since the Great Depression. He brought America's misguided adventure in Iraq to an end and arrested the economic downturn (though he did not fully reverse it) with the 2009 fiscal stimulus and a high-risk strategy to save the U.S. automobile industry. He secured passage of a historic healthcare reform law — the most important social legislation since Medicare.

Just as important, Obama brought a certain levelheadedness to the White House that had been in short supply during the previous eight years. While his opponents assailed him as a socialist and a Muslim and repeatedly challenged the location of his birthplace in an effort to call into question his legitimacy as president, he showed himself to be an adult, less an ideologue than a pragmatist, more cautious than cocky. Despite Republicans' persistent obstructionism, he pushed for — and enacted — stronger safeguards against another Wall Street meltdown and abusive financial industry practices. He cut the cost of student loans, persuaded auto manufacturers to take an almost unimaginable leap in fuel efficiency by 2025 and offered a temporary reprieve from deportation to young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents. He ended the morally bankrupt "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had institutionalized discrimination against gays in the military.

The nation has been well served by President Obama's steady leadership. He deserves a second term.

Atlantic - "Can Your Boss Threaten to Fire You if You Don't Vote for Romney?"

I don't think there is much practical difference between offering people money to vote for a particular candidate versus saying that you will fire them if you don't vote for a particular candidate. Yet, the former is illegal and the latter is considered legal by some legal commentators.


Last week, timeshare mogul and garish home-owner David Siegel was caught sending an email -- largely cribbed from a debunked hoax -- darkly suggesting that his employees vote for Mitt Romney because a victory for Barack Obama would endanger the economy and with it all of their jobs. This week, In These Times' Mike Elk uncovered the impressive array of materials sent to employees at the Koch brothers' Georgia Pacific, largely along the same lines. Up with Chris Hayes found another case at ASG Software Solutions, a Florida software company: "We have been able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues and customers. But I can tell you, if the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none." And on Thursday, Elk struck again, publishing a recording of a conference call where Mitt Romney encouraged members of a conservative businessowners' group to put pressure on employees to vote for him:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.

Is that true? Can your boss really tell you who to vote for? The answer is probably yes -- depending on where you live, and assuming you're employed in the private sector. In most of the country, there's little restriction on such communication, legal experts say.

Basically, employers have freedom of speech. That means they can say what they want, including strongly suggesting that employees vote for candidates and sending sample ballots to them. Your boss can't walk into the voting booth with you, and she can't pay you to vote for a particular candidate, but often there's little else he or she can't do.

In most states, at least. Some have stronger laws than others, as Catherine Fisk, a professor the University of California Irvine School of Law notes. In California, for example, the law states that "no employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity." Those laws tend to be in states with strong union presences.

Real Time Polling (Good and Bad) – Obscuring Reality and the Issues Like Day Trading

Nate Silver in his book The Signal and the Noise discusses the proliferation of real time polling data and on Jon Stewart he compared it to the advent of real time stock quotes.

This reminded me of the late 1990s and early 2000s when websites that easily allowed people to both get real time stock quotes and execute trades began to appear. Stock market gurus began to appear. Folks began to follow the DOW religiously and the practice of day trading began to be embraced my many. Stocks were traded and sold in lightening speed based on predictions regarding where the price would go in the next few minutes. The stock indexes fluctuated wildily. The story became the changes in stock price, rather than the actual success of weakness of the businesses operations. So, in the end despite the appearance of having MORE data, many folks did not profit and, in fact, lost money day trading despite the ability to receive real time stock price updates.

I think that the recent availability and obsession with polling data, both good and bad, mirrors the day trading days of the 1990s and early 2000s. There is so much more data out there. This data is driven by the small subset of folks who actually take the time to respond to, rather than hang up, on pollsters. This data is then spewed out and reported in real time. The news media compounds the paranoia and obsession by breathlessly giving real time updates of this same polling data. This news regarding polling data begins to crowd out actual discussions of the issues, statements and contradictions made by the candidates.

We see this on DU. Polls both good and bad are spammed on discussion threads. There is more data out there, but that does not mean that people are more informed. To the contrary, the proliferation and obsession with polling data is actually obscuring and crowding out an actual discussion of the actual issues that actually affect voters.

Romney and Obama Townhall Debate Preview - Highlights Of Prior Townhalls (with video)

Here are some prior examples of townhall questions and answers that both President Obama and Romney have had. One thing that stands out is that Romney is very good at avoiding answers about what his policies actually are and instead using the question to attack President Obama. President Obama, instead, generally answers the question while also drawing a contrast between himself and his opponent.

The problem, once again, may be that pundits will award "points" based on attacks, regardless of the truth of the atttacks or the responsiveness of the answers. Thus, President Obama really needs to connect with viewers directly by showing respect for the questioner so that Romney looks like an ass by comparison if Romney continues his routine of ignoring the question, attacking and lieing. Finally, the President Obama's success will depend in large part on whether the media holds Romney accountable for his lies, particularly when his campaign walks back his more moderate sounding comments after the debate is over.

Romney Townhall:


Obama Townhall:

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