Next Stop: The Twilight Zone, GOP Ignores 7.8% Unemployment and Net Positive Job Creation, Romney Channels Shania Twain: That Don’t Impress Me Much

October 14, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Intersectionality, Poverty, Workers' Rights

I love Sunday mornings and episodes of the Twilight Zone. To borrow and paraphrase New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Shack’s words, who wrote the following about former foreclosure mill Steven J. Baum, the GOP narrative ignores reality, as if existing in a parallel universe:

Rod Serling’s opening narration, to episodes in the 1961 – 1962 season of The Twilight Zone, could have been an introduction to the arguments presented in support of the instant motion by plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C. – ‘You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.’

Read Judge Schack’s Twilight Zone case for yourself: HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Yeasmin, 2010 NY Slip Op 50927(U).

The GOP talking heads on this morning’s Sunday programming were no different. GOP Senator Rob Portman of Ohio made the following claim:

I think that what [Lyin’ Ryan] was saying was the truth: unemployment is higher today than when the president took office. Unfortunately, in the meantime, we’ve created net zero jobs, Jake.

Watch video:

From ThinkProgress:

The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September jobs report prove both of Portman’s claims wrong: unemployment is lower than the day President Obama took office and the economy has created net positive jobs.

Portman also misled on Obama’s record on free trade agreements, saying “it’s unbelievable that the United States has sat on the sidelines for the last four years; hasn’t negotiated a single trade-opening agreement.” The President has renegotiated and signed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

Pay no attention to Obama’s record:

  • 24 months of consecutive job growth and net positive job creation, notwithstanding the GOP’s obstruction of the passage of the Jobs Bill Act.
  • The revitalization of the automotive industry and the fact that GOP puppet boy wanted to “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”
  • The passage of Obamacare which requires health insurance companies to insure individuals with pre-existing conditions (GOP puppet boy thinks if you can’t afford it, you should go to the emergency room).
  • The repeal of DADT and the DOJ position to not defend DOMA in the courts.
  • Holding Osama bin Laden to account.
  • Ending the war in Iraq.

For a more exhaustive list of Obama’s domestic and foreign policy record, check out the following sources:

In the meantime, however, Romney, who left Massachusetts worse off than prior to his governorship and who plans to reverse Roe v. Wade and gut Medicare/Social Security, scoffs at Obama’s record.

Channeling Shania Twain, he says “that don’t impress me much.”

Watch Frontline’s “The Choice 2012” Full Episode Online

October 13, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty, White Privilege

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to tell their own stories, but in “The Choice 2012,” FRONTLINE goes far beyond the headlines on a journey deep into their worlds, among their friends and family, critics, and closest colleagues, to understand what drives these men. Based on dozens of new interviews and hundreds of hours of research, FRONTLINE’s authoritative profiles that emerge are also a portrait of America in an era of uncertainty — and a guide to the choices that lie ahead.

The film will be rebroadcast nationally on Thurs. Oct. 18 at 8 PM (EST); Fri. Oct. 26 at 9 PM (EST); Fri. Nov. 2 at 8 pm EST. Check local listings here:

96 Percent Of People Have Received Some Government Assistance

September 26, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Intersectionality, Poverty

From ThinkProgress:

It turns out that 96 percent of Americans have used government assistance at one point or another in their lives, ranging from Social Security to grant programs. In a New York Times op-ed Monday, Professors Suzanne Mettler and John Sides point out that a vast majority of Americans have some tie to the government and that, in 2008, 96 percent of people used government help. The data comes from a 2008 Cornell study of 21 social programs:

The survey asked about people’s policy usage throughout their lives, not just at a moment in time, and it included questions about social policies embedded in the tax code, which are usually overlooked.

What the data reveal is striking: nearly all Americans — 96 percent — have relied on the federal government to assist them. Young adults, who are not yet eligible for many policies, account for most of the remaining 4 percent.

On average, people reported that they had used five social policies at some point in their lives. An individual typically had received two direct social benefits in the form of checks, goods or services paid for by government, like Social Security or unemployment insurance.

As Sides and Mettler are quick to point out, the survey does not include “government activity that benefits everyone — national defense, the interstate highway system, food safety regulations — but only tangible benefits.”

CEO Mittens in a “Perpetual Drunken Kabuki Dance”

September 24, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Development, Education, Housing, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Voting Rights, Workers' Rights

Larry Spotted Crow Mann of Indian Country Today nails it:

For a man who prides himself on being a great businessman, Mitt Romney now carries the ignoble distinction of CEO of the most disastrous, chaotic and self-imploding campaign in modern history. In a perpetual drunken kabuki dance, Mitt has staggered, flopped and stumbled all through his presidential run for office. And his latest stupor is a demonstrable example. Mitt certainly has demonstrated he is not up for the job and his latest words illuminate a feckless and disparaging perception of America.

His personal disdain for everyday hard working class Americans became crystal clear in an uncensored rant, in a private meeting with some of his millionaire donors. While bobbing for cash, Mitt unleashed a blistering diatribe on the working class, senior citizens, veterans, disabled and essentially anyone who lives off a median income or paycheck to paycheck. Yes Mitt, this is your 47 percent.

His myopic and condescending view of America is perversely skewed to the point where he believes corporations are people and 47 percent of Americans are sitting around waiting for hand outs and will never take personal responsibility for their lives.

This assault on Americans is beyond reprehensible and speaks to a man completely out of touch with reality and lost in a miasma of unhinged profligacy. His complete failure of judgment, character; and lack of willingness to stand for all Americans should give anyone pause who would ever consider voting for him.

Mittens Calls USA a Foreign Country in His Tax Returns

September 23, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Poverty, White Privilege

From US News:

Maybe Mitt Romney thinks he lives in Switzerland?

When the former Massachusetts governor released his official 2011 tax return Friday, he (or whoever actually filled out the form) appeared to have mistakenly referred to the United States as a foreign country.

“If you have a foreign address,” the tax return instruction reads, “also complete spaces below.” In the space below, under “foreign country name,” Romney’s form reads “USA.”

Several tax preparers confirmed to Whispers that “USA” should not have been written in that line—assuming the Republican presidential nominee is actually a citizen of the United States.

No word from Donald Trump yet if he wants to see the original long form version of the tax return.

Corporations are the Real Moochers and Welfare Queens

September 23, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Development, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty

From Institute for Souther Studies:

If, as Romney suggested, moocherism begins with the failure to pay federal income taxes, then that label can easily be applied to many of the country’s major companies. A November 2011 report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that more than one-quarter of large companies paid zero taxes in at least one of the three years examined.

Quite a few of those companies arranged their affairs so that they had negative tax rates, meaning that the IRS sends them checks. And many of those that paid taxes did so at what CTJ and ITEP called “ultra low” rates of 10 percent or less.

Some companies rely so heavily on that spending that they are as government-dependent as any Medicaid or food stamp recipient. Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, for example, derives more than 80 percent of its revenue from the federal government, especially the Pentagon; for its competitor Raytheon the figure is about 75 percent.

A large portion of what is called entitlement spending, especially in healthcare, ends up in the pockets of corporations, including drug makers, medical device manufacturers and for-profit hospital chains. The largest of the latter, HCA, gets more than 40 percent of its revenue from Medicare and Medicaid.

Corporations can get federal grants as well as contracts. The Commerce and Agriculture Departments have a slew of programs that assist businesses in marketing their products or that underwrite some of their costs. And, of course, a large portion of the billions paid each year in farm subsidies goes to agribusiness giants rather than family farmers.

Assistance from the federal government can be a matter of life and death for some companies, as in clear in the cases of General Motors and Chrysler as well as the banks that were brought back from the brink by the TARP bailout and then thrived on the influx of billions in essentially free money from the Federal Reserve.

Romney’s 2011 Return: Betting Against US Dollar, Overseas Investments, and OffShore Accounts #WhatsMittHiding #ReleaseTheReturns

September 22, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty

From The Nation:

The 1990–2009 Summary

Romney’s trustee, Brad Malt, has a summary of the summary on the campaign website. (Note that Malt oversees Romney’s supposedly blind trust, which makes it interesting he’s also serving a campaign function here). It says:

  • In each year during the entire 20-year period period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
  • Over the entire 20-year period period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
  • Over the entire 20-year period period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
  • Over the entire 20-year period period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.

This is a really sneaky maneuver. The tax rate averages out to a semi-respectable 20.20 percent, but what does that really tell us? It’s still possible that in really high-earning years, Romney paid an absurdly low tax rate. If he paid a normal rate in lower-earning years, it could still produce that average.

And if Romney did pay really low rates during high-income years, what mechanisms did he use? What sort of tax shelters might he have employed? We don’t know that either, and aren’t likely to find out unless Romney releases the actual returnssomething he required of all his potential vice-presidental nominees.

Also note the careful wording — it doesn’t state that he paid federal and state income taxes — it carefully states he owed income taxes for the previous 20 years.

Nice move, Mittens. When are you releasing your un-amended returns? I know running for President is hard, according to Miss Ann, but it’s time to come clean with the American electorate.

Paul Ryan Booed at AARP

September 21, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty