A Visit to an Obama Field Office

I stopped by the Obama field office in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania this afternoon and spoke with several volunteers.  They were busy phone banking, calling voters to remind them to get to their polling place.  They have twelve staging locations throughout the county doing GOTV.  I haven’t heard of any irregularities but one caller to NPR from PA said she was required to show a photo ID to vote.  That’s illegal.

Republicans in affluent Wyomissing had this sign posted:

The volunteers:

The interviews:

Jill Stein For President

Today I will cast my vote for President for Dr. Jill Stein.  She is the Green Party candidate and this is the second consecutive election I am voting Green.

I like Barack Obama and he is an overwhelming choice if you’re limited to either him or Mitt Romney.  I’m not.  I refuse to waste my vote on someone who does not share my values and Stein does.  I do not like Obama’s ties to Wall Street and his ineffective Dodd/Frank bill.  His drone wars will make us less safe in the long run.  Gitmo remains open and the indefinite detention law scares the bejesus out of me.  He did little which was effective to help homeowners.  His support for charter schools is a threat to public education.

One never agrees with any candidate on every issue but there’s little with which I disagree with Jill Stein.  She stands for both social and economic justice, for the 99% against the 1%.  She gets my vote.

Decision 2012: Prosperity or Austerity

Tuesday Americans go to the polls to decide the future course of the nation.  Will it be prosperity or austerity?  That’s essentially what this contest boils down to though few candidates are articulating it this way.  Have no doubt though, this is your choice.

Several South American and European countries went the route of austerity.  It has been extremely painful for their citizens.  It means a severe constricting of the economy.  There is no need for austerity in America.  In fact every elite economist has been calling for additional stimulus spending.  That is what expands the economy to create jobs.  

The economy is improving but at a slow rate.  Of course this is a far cry from the situation four years ago when we were on the precipice of a depression and total financial meltdown.  Eight million people lost their jobs, $7 trillion in wealth disappeared and seven million homeowners lost their houses.  We were losing 800,000 jobs every month.

The problem with our current economy is a lack of demand.  People aren’t buying things because they don’t have the  money or because they fear for their jobs and are saving.  Without demand for products and services businesses aren’t hiring.  Demand will create jobs.  Tax cuts cost jobs, they do NOT create them.  All of the factual evidence supports this regardless of the brainwashing you’ve been hearing incessantly from conservative candidates.  Remember they’re the ones whose policies created this mess.  They’re not just promising to reinstate those they pledge to go further by imposing austerity.

Austerity is called the Ryan Budget.  Mitt Romney has promised to sign a Ryan Budget.  Paul Ryan, his running mate, proposes cutting 40% of the federal government.  However they want to increase defense spending and pass yet another 20% tax cut for the rich.

Our current $16 trillion deficit was created almost exclusively by Republican policies.  It was designed to strangle government to the point where they could argue for austerity.  Ronald Reagan began taking us down this road in 1981.  His Budget Director David Stockman said they planned on creating such massive debt the country would have but two choices:  tax increases to pay the debt of massive decreases in government services.  Their plan is the latter.  We’ve come t the point where this decision is yours on Tuesday:  do we raise taxes on the rich to pay for how they devastated the economy or do you suffer?

Workers, senior citizens and the poor have suffered tremendously under the Reagan Revolution.  It was expanded by both Bushes until the average worker is earning less now than in 1980.  Health care costs are bankrupting Americans.  Corporations now run the country and have poured billions into this year’s campaigns.  The head of Home Depot is on television telling people for whom to vote.  Employers are threatening to fire their workers if they don’t vote “properly.”  Yes Massuh!  I thought slavery ended.  There’s no better reason to vote against Mitt Romney than being ordered to by your boss.

Income inequality is threatening the stability of the nation.  The imposition of austerity to further transfer wealth from the bottom to the top will likely precipitate a violent revolution by the end of the decade.  This is what is at stake.

It is your choice:  prosperity or austerity?

When someone tells you the stimulus failed or that President Obama didn’t turn the country around look at this graph to determine if they’re lying:

Here is a graph of the national debt.  Notice the huge increase starting in 1981 (Ronald Reagan):

Here it is pictured differently:

Here is a graph showing the inequality of income:

When you hear conservatives crying about high corporate taxes remember the effective tax rate, that which they actually pay, is only 9%:

Here’s where the Bush tax cuts went:

That and other policies created this income inequality:

Our number 1 problem isn’t spending, it isn’t the deficit.  Our biggest problem is jobs.  Republicans promised jobs back in 2010 then spent two years filibustering every single jobs program in Congress.  They spent four years screaming about a deficit they created.  Then they blame dit on Democrats.  Here’s a video which clearly explains where the debt came from:

Be careful what you believe because conservatives have been telling falsehoods.  They’ve abandoned their coveted belief in personal responsibility by blaming liberals for conservative failures.  Their Reagan Revolution is about to come full circle.  If you voted Republican in the past thirty years you’ve facilitated their attack on your rights and your financial well being.  If you continue to vote Republican you’ll get what you deserve.

Cold Romney Event Backfires

Mitt Romney probably lost more votes than he got tonight as he hosted a bitterly cold outside event in Morrisville, Bucks County.  The gates opened at 2:15 for a 5:30 event at Shady Brook Farm.  An outdoor event after dark in early November wasn’t a good idea.  I had a ticket but couldn’t get to it on time.  I had dressed as warmly as I could preparing for the outside venue (long underwear, thick socks, sweater, heavy coat) but many folks tried to leave because of the cold and Romney staffers prevented them.  They began Tweeting that their kids were getting frostbite and they weren’t being allowed to leave.  Attendees had to start sneaking out to get warm.  This was a fiasco.

Pennsylvania In Play? Experts Say No

Republicans are putting several million dollars into Pennsylvania the final week of the election.  Obama/Biden is responding with ads of their own to counter the effort.  Our twenty electoral votes are normally contested as Ohio and Iowa are this year.  Polls at one time gave the President a healthy 12 point lead, one which has whittled down to 4-5 because of the first debate debacle.  That remains a good margin for Obama.  The Vice President will be in Scranton today, the first visit by either Democrat this fall.

Why the sudden thrust into the Keystone State?  Mitt Romney’s path to 270 electoral votes doesn’t exist a week out and he must expand the map in a final, desperate bid.  By adding PA, Michigan and Minnesota he hopes to squeeze enough votes in the Electoral College to gain the White House.  Hotly contested states like Iowa are now a 6 point margin for the President.  If you watched the Penn State-Iowa football game you were inundated with ads, mostly by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, aimed at Iowans.

Our votes next Tuesday will be determined by turnout.  If Democrats turn out for the first time in four years polls show we’ll remain Blue.  It’s too late for Romney to turn a 4-5 point lead in his favor but he has no choice.

News & Notes October 16, 2012

Which one is the real Mitt Romney?

The Obama campaign said all summer they’d hold their opponent to the extreme positions he adopted during the primaries.  No Etch A Sketching.  They’re doing it:

They’re now including Lyin’ Ryan:

Ryan forced his way into a soup kitchen where he was unwelcome and did a photo op washing already clean pots and pans.

Gary Johnson and other Libertarian candidates won their right to be on Pennsylvania’s ballots next week.  The Pennsylvania GOP attempted to block their access worried the right wing Johnson will take votes from Mitt Romney.

I’m still trying to figure out how Medicare and Social Security aren’t the central issues in this campaign.  Republicans handed them a winning message on a golden platter by voting TWICE for Ryan’s Budget and by trying to privatize Social Security.  Every Republican in the state’s Congressional delegation voted for this.

Gov. Gasbag forced out the head of the Commonwealth’s parks system over drilling, timber and other issues.  Since being bought and paid for by the gas industry Corbett has turned DEP into a permit factory with no oversight of the industry, allowed energy companies to drill on college campuses and now in our state parks.  Our state tree should be a drill rig.

Five counties continue telling voters they need ID cards to vote next month.  The state had ample time to prepare for the court ruling so this is nonsense.  It is nothing more than continued voter suppression.  The counties should be taken to court for contempt.

Republicans keep saying outlandish things.  How any right minded citizen could cast a vote for them after all these statements is beyond me.  The latest is Arkansas State Representative Jon Hubbard claiming slavery was good for Blacks.  Someone sell him off into slavery, best as a sex slave, and we’ll see how he thinks about its wondrous benefits.  He can join the Wisconsin guy who thinks “some girls rape easy.”  I wonder how he knows that.

Coal company owner Tom Smith loaned his campaign $10 million.  Think for a moment how having a coal magnate as Senator will affect your state.  We’re already owned by the gas industry…  Maybe we can borrow clean air from New Jersey?

Tonight is the second presidential debate.  President Obama has to win decisively and expose Mitt Romney as the serial prevaricator he is.  Expect some tough questions abut immigration and abortion.  The DNC just launched a humorous web site where you can get the details of Romney’s secret tax plan.

Fast & Furious: The Romney/Ryan Lying Machine

There’s a blogger who’s been documenting every lie from Mitt Romney.  It keeps him pretty busy because at last count he’s found 530 of them in 30 months.  Of course the GOP presidential candidate repeats many of them on a daily basis but every day seems to come up with a new one.  The other day he claimed that no one dies in America because they don’t have health insurance.  In reality about 18,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance.

Facts do matter.  In a country where almost half the populace has voluntarily undergone massive brainwashing at the hands of Faux News and Rush Limbaugh the level of stupidity boggles the mind.  Chris Matthews encountered an example in this video:

You can ask these folks what they mean or why they make such claims but all they’re able to do is keep regurgitating the lines with which they’ve been brainwashed.  I doubt this lady even knows what being a Communist means.  She certainly has no basis for the belief instilled in her by thousands of references to the “fact” on Fox News.  This is the same technique used by the Bush Administration to convince Americans that Iraq attacked us on 9/11.  We went to war over that lie and many people still believe it.  They still think we found wmd’s in Iraq too.

The level of stupidity in America is evident in the polls.  When the likes of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can take the stage and lie fast and furious it’s tough to expose all of the mistruths.  That’s what day after fact checking does but Joe Biden took it head on last night and exposed Lyin’ Ryan for the motor mouth prevaricator he is.  It began when he claimed the Administration called Assad a reformer.  No such claim was ever made.  The claims about Libya were designed to cover up the fact that immediately after the attack Romney tried to make political hay out of an attack on the country and failed to get his facts correct.

Joe called that mularkey, an Irish term for bullshit.  Of course he couldn’t say bullshit on live national television so he used a more polite term.  Ryan continued trying to debate foreign policy with someone who is an avowed expert in the field.  The VP chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and actually was in the Oval Office when decisions were made and policies discussed that Paul Ryan attempted to imagine happened.  I so enjoyed watching him step into pile after pile and get called out on it I stopped taking notes.

It took a lot of Galt to sit there and criticize embassy security after voting to cut it by $300 million.  It took a lot of Galt to sit there and criticize reducing Medicare payments to providers after gutting the entire program yourself in two different votes.  It took a lot of Galt to sit there and claim trickle down economics works when it has failed for thirty years.

Ryan also accused Obama/Biden of cutting defense spending by a trillion dollars.  While we need and should cut it by at least half that would be around $350 billion/year.  Obama hasn’t cut the Pentagon and it was actually Ryan’s radical Tea Party House which forced a sequestration bill on Obama through extortion over the debt limit which will cut it next year.

On embassy security Ryan’s House voted to cut $216 million for it in fiscal 2013 after voting to cut it by $460 million in 2011 and 2012.  You can’t do that and then stand and claim we didn’t do enough to secure our embassies.  In 2009 Congressman Ryan voted for an amendment to reduce diplomatic and consular programs by $1.2 billion (source: the Obama/Biden campaign).

On Iran the Wisconsin Tea bagger claimed the country is well on its way to making four nuclear bombs.  Evidence to back up that claim doesn’t exist.  In reality Iran doesn’t have enough enriched uranium to make a single bomb.    While he later accused Biden of using scare tactics about Medicare wasn’t he doing exactly that by falsely claiming Iran was close to making multiple nuclear weapons?  I saw shadows of Dick Cheney there.

I loved watching this master of prevarication try and turn his efforts to gut Medicare into an accusation that the Democrats are simply trying to scare seniors.  The elderly and anyone hoping to join those ranks should be very scared of the Ryan Budget.  It would end Medicare because once every person eligible for it under their plan (those age 54 and over) die the program dies with them.  Most likely it would expire long before that though as only the sickest elderly people would remain on it bankrupting it long before its time.  We can save Medicare and provide quality, comprehensive health care for every American for less than we’re paying now leaving 50 million of our fellow citizens without.  Medicare For All not only saves billions it would also save those 18,000 lives of people who die needlessly every year because they don’t have access to health care.

Medicare Advantage was discussed at some length last night so let’s clear up what it is.  First of all it is NOT Medicare.  MA is privatized Medicare where private health insurers offer the same coverage for more money.  That’s because they have to earn a profit so taxpayers are funneling Medicare premiums to them at a rate about 9% more than traditional Medicare.  Paul Ryan claimed that creating competition, allowing the market to provide this coverage, would be better.  Facts show that not to be the case.  The U.S. spends twice as much on medical care than any other civilized western nation and we get only the 37th best system.  Most other countries have better outcomes and 50 million Americans have no access to health care.  This is all because the private system is broken.  Medicare, on the other hand, is the most successful health care system we have with overall bureaucratic overhead of 3% compared with 30% for private industry.

Facts do matter.  Paul Ryan also claimed that Social Security is bankrupt.  It is not.  The program is solvent through 2037 and by simply lifting the cap on payroll taxes it’s good for another 75 years.  Mitt Romney, if he actually worked for his $20 million a year would only pay Social Security tax on the first $109,000.  Lifting the cap would mean he pays on all of his income.

Ryan also tried to claim Romney didn’t say Detroit should go bankrupt.  Perhaps he should go read his Wall Street Journal op/ed at the time titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

The most humorous expose of Ryan was when Biden told about the letters the Congressman wrote asking for stimulus funds.  Here’s a salient fact:  the economic stimulus turned the economy around on a dime.  Look at this graph:

You don’t need Fox News talking about the “failed stimulus” to know your eyes are telling you it succeeded.

Paul Ryan and his Tea Party House blocked every jobs bill proposed.  The GOP Senate just filibustered a bill creating 1,000,000 new jobs for returning war veterans.  It was paid for so it didn’t add a dime to the deficit.  The Ryan Budget cuts $11 billion from the VA for veterans benefits.

Unemployment is going down in spite of every effort by Republicans to obstruct progress.

Mitt’s voodoo economics continue being a sensitive subject.  Ryan still refuses to explain the math because it doesn’t add up.  Lowering tax rates 20% across the board (but Ryan said, for the wealthy first) costs $2.5 billion.   Eliminating the alternative minimum tax is another $700 billion, the high income payroll tax (they want the rich paying less into Social Security and Medicare) yet another $300 billion.  repealing the estate tax, yet another key part of their plan costs us $150 billion and their tax cut for corporations another $1.1 trillion.  It adds up to $5 trillion over ten years on top of the huge deficits they rolled up with their past tax cuts.  They claim six studies say their plan works.  The problem is that that is yet another lie.  Even Mark Zandi, John McCain’s chief economic advisor, says it doesn’t add up:

If their economics worked we wouldn’t have a budget deficit because they promised it would create more jobs and increase revenues.  The opposite happened and, unfortunately for them facts matter because we live in the real world instead of their fantasyland.

Paul Ryan can dance around the math all he wants but he cannot escape reality for long.  If they win, implement their plan and the economy tanks again voters may actually wake up to their lies.  Of course I thought that after eight years of this under Bush but 45% of voters are ready to go back for a second helping of failure.

The issue of abortion finally came front and center last night.  While Ryan claimed it would remain legal in cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother nothing he has proposed as a Congressman supports that assertion.  He has co-sponsored a personhood law which makes a fertilized egg a person with full legal rights.  In fact if a woman miscarries she could be charged with murder under such a law.  he has attempted to redefine rape so only if a criminal with a gun or knife assaults a woman it would be called rape.  Romney has said he wouldn’t allow exceptions for rape and incest.  They are trying to soften their positions but the bottom line is this:  under Romney/Ryan women would die at the hands of back alley butchers.

Note he didn’t answer the question.

Biden Chews UP Lyin’ Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan tried to use all the debate time last last but the Vice President chewed him up and spit him out anyway.  Martha Raddatz actually moderated the debate but allowed the Republican to talk on and on without giving Biden equal time to respond.  Absent any facts or relation to reality the Liar from Janesville told mistruth after mistruth all night.  The funniest part was at the end when asked what he brings personally to the position he slipped the word “Honesty.”

Ryan couldn’t explain the math behind their 20% across the board because it means a $2,000/year tax increase for middle class families.  These six reports claiming otherwise don’t exist because they won’t produce them.  Their argument is that lowering taxes increases revenues.  Unfortunately after thirty years of such cuts all we’ve seen are massive deficits.  Sen. Rob Johnson is on CNN this morning repeating this fiction.  

For me the best part is what should be coming up in the next presidential debate because Ryan set him up perfectly.   Congressman Ryan, in his closing, said that 23 million Americans are out of work and the poverty rate is 15%.  He tried using this as justification for change while ignoring the fact that Republican policies are what caused all that misery.  This failure to accept personal responsibility for his own votes which crashed the economy should come back to haunt him.  The President should use that repeatedly against Mitt next week.

GOP Celebrates the Oppression of Big Business

The Republican National Convention has been nothing short of a huge celebration of the power of Big Business.  Fueled by about a dozen billionaires, one of whom has pledged to give $100 million to defeat the President, they have orated for two days about the horrors of Big Government.  That’s because Big Government is the only check to Big Business.  The Gilded Age II is what they want to restore, a time of monopolies, no worker rights, massive profits and oppression of the people.

Paul Ryan spoke last night about crowning the Reagan Revolution.  Its aim was to starve the federal government through massive debt until they could justify cutting all social programs for the poor, minorities, the elderly and children.  Ryan’s Budget does just that:  30 million thrown off health care by repealing ObamaCare, another 30 million tossed out of Medicaid, veterans benefits slashed, food stamps, home heating and housing assistance would all see the chopping block.  

They say they’re doing this because we have to.  Wrong.  By ending the wars, repealing the Bush Tax Cuts and reviving the economy we can afford to take care of the poor.  We do not need to rob from the poor to further enrich the rich which is what Paul Ryan’s policies do.  As many have labeled it Romney Hood, these folks want to take away the safety net, give more tax cuts to the 1% and explode the deficit once again.  Ryan does not pay for his latest round of tax cuts which give the rich a 1% tax rate.

Conservative prevaricators have been flooding the letters to the editor columns with lies about the Ryan Budget plan for Medicare.  He slashes it by $716 billion to give more tax cuts to the rich.  No one age 54 or under will get Medicare even though they’ve been paying into the program for years.  Those over 54 get to remain in the successful and popular program but when they die off it disappears.  That’s getting rid of Medicare.  One you attain the age of 67 (yes, that age of eligibility increases under Ryan) you get a voucher for $6,000 to go out and purchase a policy costing $12,400.  Maybe they’ll accept your pre-existing conditions but probably not meaning you’re on your own.

The theme of the convention is “We Built This.”  Yes, Republicans built this disaster.  Even as Paul Ryan bemoans the fact his Party caused all the problems he doesn’t want to take personal responsibility for it.  Ryan voted for the unfunded wars, he voted for the Bush Tax Cuts and he voted for Bush Budgets which exploded the deficit.  He voted for failed economic policies but he won’t accept responsibility for those actions.  So much for personal responsibility in today’s Republican Party.

They have a huge Deficit Clock going in the Center, built with 62% government funding.  A banner saying “we built this” should hang over it because the GOP created this deficit.  Ronald Reagan increased the debt by $1.9 trillion, George H.W. Bush by $1.3 trillion and George W. Bush by $5.1 trillion then passed along a failed economy which created another $5 trillion hole.  They want to blame Barack Obama for their mess though.  We’ll see exactly how stupid America has become on November 6th.

Tom Smith Equates Rape With Getting Knocked Up

Tom Smith told an Associated Press interviewer that getting impregnated by rape is comparable to getting pregnant out of wedlock.  The Pennsylvania U.S. candidate running for Bob Casey Jr’s seat was asked how he’d tell a woman who was raped that she must keep and raise that child.  He replied that he’d gone through the same thing when a family member got pregnant through pre-marital sex.

Getting laid isn’t the same as getting raped Mr. Smith.