Yesterday Nate Silver handicapped next year's gubernatorial contests, and Tom Corbett came in as fifth most vulnerable. All well and good, but my current interest is the Pennsylvania race, mostly because I live here, and enough is enough. I'm not the only person who feels that way: I can't find anyone who thinks Corbett is doing anything other than a horrible job.
When you look at gubernatorial races, "most people" don't have an opinion. They might know who the governor is, and where he/she lives (that capital thing again, sorry) — but it's not generally a race that people know much about until a month or two out. Not here. Not this time.
Everyone knows about Jerry Sandusky. People living under rocks know about Jerry Sandusky. And the overwhelming majority of them know that Tom Corbett was the AG when charges were raised, that he didn't prosecute for 3 years, and that he got $640,000 from Jerry's charity for his first gubernatorial run. Some of those people living under rocks are living under rocks and not indoors because of the massive cuts that Tom Corbett personally fought for: to rescind monetary aid to the poor and disabled, to decrease education funds; to deny a Pennsylvania health insurance exchange; to illegally sell off the PA lottery to a British company; and to privatize liquor sales, throwing thousands out of work and handing the liquor licenses to Wal-Mart. And who can forget his line to pregnant women about to get a vaginal probe they don't need? "Just close your eyes."
Yes, we know him. Nate Silver might say that due to polling data and whatever else he puts in his secret sauce, there are 4 more vulnerable governors for 2014. But the animose to Tom is personal.
So who's running? The list is pulled from Wikipedia, and is in alphabetical order. I've added my comments.
We know two things that would greatly help the poor are a Medicaid expansion in all states and a raising of the minimum wage. Of course, single payer would be a better thing for legitimately raising all boats, but that's another post.
When one has a low paying job, often there are no sick days. Which matters because people come to work sick, as they cannot afford to lose the income. This is bad because diseases are often shared. For non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease, there is no coverage for medical care, and it's just disastrous. Higher wages would enable the afflicted to afford co-pays and medications. Some amount of coverage would help to keep those co-pays lower.
This doesn't even touch the point that when people are paid very low wages, the taxpayers making higher wages subsidize costs associated with those workers and their families. Multiple studies have been done which show that Walmart workers disproportionately receiveSNAP funds, plus their kids often qualify for SChip. Don't get me wrong, I'm personally glad to help support people in need with my tax dollars, I just think employers should pay a living wage so that tax dollars could flow to other things, like education.
Yesterday, Barack Obama was publicly sworn in as president for his second term. If some Pennsylvania state legislators had passed current legislation making its way through the state process last year, that wouldn't have happened, and Mitt could be in the White House. (There are similar bills in other states.)
The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.
That's from 31 USC § 5112 — Denominations, specifications, and design of coins, which you can read in its entirety here. So there's no doubt that Tim Geithner or Jack Lew. once he replaces Timmy, can just say "Mint it." By the way, in case you're wondering whose face should go on the coin, Paul Krugman has a great idea. Use John Boehner, Why?
Because without him and his colleagues, this wouldn’t be necessary.
Click here for a photo of what the Boehner coin might look like. Plus a few other possibilities.
The best year in review piece I've seen came from Dave Barry. You can read it here, and you really should. Where else could you see gems like this:
In labor news, Chicago teachers go on strike over controversial proposed contract changes that would allow the school board to terminate teachers who have passed away. Meanwhile, the NFL comes under increasing pressure to settle the referee strike following a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans in which the replacement refs call four balks and three traveling violations, and ultimately declare that the winner is the Green Bay Packers. At the end of the month the strike is settled, and the replacement refs move on to their new role as Florida elections officials.
It's rare that I agree with something a Republican says on an issue. But yesterday, there it was, in a "protest" statement from Louis Gohmert. What he said was:
“...not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”
He said this in a statement on why he cast the lone vote in the House against removing the word "lunatic" from all Federal legislation. Because yes kids, it's true: instead of voting on taxes, the debt ceiling, climate change, aid to Sandy victims, etc., etc., etc., the House voted 398 - 1 to remove the word "lunatic" from all Federal legislation.
The Federal lunatic of the day was Mitch McConnell, by the way. He put forth a piece of legislation that would have allowed the president to raise the debt ceiling unless Congress objected with a 2/3 vote. Harry Reid decided to bring it to the floor, so McConnell filibustered it. Whole story here. Yes, really.
Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate in early January to head the Heritage Foundation. It's not really a move for him, as his 8 years in the Senate have been dedicated NOT to legislation (which actually is the job of Senators) but to put forth the teabag agenda, which is STOPPING government from doing anything. It's a great day for the Senate. Nikki Haley has said she won't appoint herself to the interim position. Stephen Colbert wants it, but she likely won't pick him. He'd actually be a good Senator. He'd have to give up his TV show, though...
We know where the President stands. If you don't know the details, the facts and infographics are here. If you want to follow on Twitter, the White House fiscal cliff hastag is #My2K (for the $2000 the average family will lose if nothing is settled.)
We know where the progressives stand: NO cuts to Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, and no raise of the age for Medicare to 67.
But do we know where Boehner and his caucus stand? Actually, not really. The plan that he put forward yesterday is a rehash of the Ryan budget with even fewer details (yeah, that shocked me too, I didn't think they could include less.) He called it the "Bowles Plan", indicating that these were Erskine Bowles ideas from Simpson-Bowles last year, but Bowles himself said Boehner was wrong. Be advised that the difference is in the details. Some of the things that Boehner proposed were in Simpson-Bowles, but the fundamental axiomatic assumption made in Simpson-Bowles, to get to their numbers, was the complete end of all Bush tax cuts. Once that is left out (as it is in the Boehner/Ryan plan) it's all ridiculous, as pointed out by both the President and the media not beholden to the far right. Boehner's plan listed out entitlement cuts, and a raise of the Medicare age to 67, but listed nothing about actual tax rate changes. You can read the letter here.
When I went to college, I received a BA with a double major in government and geography. Not political science, which to me was more of an activity, but government. And before you think that "geography" is how to read maps and learn the location of cities, there is actually political geography, and a host of other sub-disciplines. To get the degree, I needed to undertake a thesis. For those of you too young to remember, this meant a lot of time spent in the library with file cards, noting quotes and citations, creating outlines and drafts, and lots of typing.
Come 1 January, the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax cut are set to expire for everyone. In addition, there is something called "sequestration" which will lead to automatic cuts the same day. In certain ways, this is very bad for the overall economy, because it will decrease the amount of money going into regular people's pockets, and thus the amount of dollars they have to spend. Since 70% of our economy comes from consumer spending, people will contract the amount they spend on non-essentials. Unless they're rich, in which case, it won't make an appreciable difference on a day-to-day basis.
In another way, this isn't terrible in the long run, because there will be some initial pain, but it will lead to additional monies flowing into Federal government coffers, allowing for a decrease to the deficit, and potentially more money available to hire people for infrastructure programs and other worthwhile government spending which have an economic multiplier effect of a minimum of 2.5. But initially, the pain, especially to those making $20,000 - $200,000/year will certainly be there.
The House, where money is allocated and where tax bills begin, is controlled by the Republicans, and they are playing a game of chicken. They could accept that the Bush tax cuts remain for everyone making under $250,000/year and sunset for all making more than that, and even cut the payroll tax cut from 2% to 1%. This hurts less, and still is helpful to the economy. But they, in the mouthpiece of John Boehner, have said no. Our president, however, has said that he's willing to let everything expire if the House GOP is unwilling to deal. Shades of Newt and Bubba the Big Dog back in 1995-1996.
There are a number of things you can do, based on what you want to see happen. First, you can contact your House member. Yeah, I hear you, the GOP is in charge, so what does it matter? First off, if your House member was re-elected, he/she pays attention to constituents and for these members, this means both the 112th and 113th Congresses. Remember that we've won back a number of seats - and they're not done counting. When all is said and done, we'll likely only be 16 - 18 seats away from a majority which is quite a change. This means that Republicans representing purple districts will need to listen so that the 113th is not their last rodeo. If you don't have your Congressman/Congresswoman's phone number on speed dial, click here for contact info.
The second thing you can do is to arm yourself with facts about where the Federal budget monies actually go, and what the options are for increasing and decreasing spending. Later today, I'll have a post up where you can play an interactive game to determine what priorities YOU have, and see how the different proposals affect the deficit. We won the last election on facts and boots on the ground. This is no time to change!
In a statistical anomaly, our staging area knocked 1,143 doors on Sunday, which is the exact number knocked on Saturday, although they were different doors! We are hopeful and determined and we will be out again today!
I know a lot of the people who volunteer. Some are fellow political junkies who I see all the time for various things. Some are friends who fall into that first category, and some are friends who have never worked an election before (or, yes really, used to be Republican political junkies). There are also familiar faces I haven't seen since 2008. And of course, a host of people who are now new friends and comrades-in-arms.
When people return from canvassing, they add up their totals, which I enter, and then, if there's time (we're often pretty busy, but there's always room for more canvassers!) we talk polls. And the polls are encouraging, if tight. We talk about our sleepless night reviewing poll data, and discuss the likely voter models. I could write a 3,000 word treatise on likely voter models, the differences between how Democrats and Republicans calculate, but either you already know (fellow junkies) or your eyes would glaze over.
So here's the bottom line: it's all about turnout. The higher the turnout, the more correct our screens. The people in Florida and Ohio who waited 6, 7, 8, 9 hours on miles-long lines? Those are people that the Republicans do NOT count in their likely voter screens. They fail to realize the dedication and determination of those of us who consider voting beyond an obligation -- it's something we'll do anything to accomplish. Those of us to whom the right to vote is precious.
Want to help, but can't canvass? Call people you know. Click here for a phone list of your friends and family. Make sure that they are voters tomorrow (and in some places today.) By the way, there is the option in Jersey to vote today at county clerk's offices, and by email for those in areas afflicted by Hurricane Sandy. Click here if that's you.
So that's it for now -- I'm off to go field canvassers...and my hat is off to these people - it's cold here. No one complains - they come back with happy stories about voters they've spoken with, and new volunteers. I love canvassing! I am pleased to make the contribution of fielding people, but still sad that my knee is delicate, and I can't put the miles on it. Thanks also to the people phone banking - it matters!
Please come join us - whether from our local staging area, or the one near your house, or even using the dial from home programs -- let's get our voters out tomorrow!
Elections are won one voter at a time. Get yours today.
SPECIAL NOTE TO PHILADELPHIA JEWISH VOICE READERS -
Yesterday, I was at my post fielding canvassers and a man walked in. I was sitting at a desk, and noticed that he was wearing an Obama tee shirt. I said hello, and I asked his name, and he was taken aback that I didn't recognize him. As soon as I looked at his face, I cried "DAN!" (I hadn't looked above chest level...) Yes, it was your own Philadelphia Jewish Voice publisher! Dan and I email probably half a dozen times a day, 6 days a week (not Saturday) but we rarely see one another. I asked if he'd mind an area with long driveways, and he pointed out that he'd canvassed West Virginia, where there were long driveways, and they weren't paved. AND it was raining. Dan had tracked out to our Chester County location because his area is solid, and we need the help. I send great thanks to a real trooper and a great guy.
Because of Hurricane Sandy, some polling places in New Jersey and New York may be changed, and hours may be extended. We are still waiting for final information, and will provide it to you when the states make their decisions.
We do know now that in Jersey, you can vote today, tomorrow or Monday at your county clerk's office. Text 877877 or log onto www.elections.nj.gov to find your specific location. Jersey will likely use National Guard trucks and FEMA generators at locations that are accessible, but have no power. Decisions are still being made about inaccessible areas. NY is still making decisions, and NJ is still evaluating options for Election Day polling locations.
Where to vote:
Overall website, click here. From that same site you can get related information like ballot information, absentee ballot information, and maps. If the site cannot find your polling place, make sure to retry with your zip+four number.
We've got only four days to Election Day. I don't know about you, but I'm consumed with anticipation, excitement, a little worry, and mostly a hope that I've left nothing off my to-do list. There are canvassers and phone bankers to field, signs to place, rides to double-check on, and that final list of voters I need to personally call to make sure they know where to be when. I have never before done this when some people coming for the final push are delayed because there are fuel problems between here and there, nor when I am worried about my parents, who are in Jersey with no power, and who refuse to come here.
I went to dinner with a friend last night, and during that time received an email from Oreo telling me that Mittens is coming here on Sunday. Not sure exactly where, but likely really close. Now it's necessary to determine an appropriate, um, welcome. I'm thinking signs about tax returns, climate change, and "what about FEMA?"
Tomorrow is the Million Puppet March in Washington. DC. This was planned after the Big Bird incident at the second debate. If you can't attend, please tweet the following at 2 p.m. tomorrow: "I support continued funding of public broadcasting #pubmedia #MPM2012" More details here.
I know a lot of people who do not live in swing states who are traveling to various swing states to work, or who are making candidate calls from home. As a swing state resident, I say a giant thank you. For all of you who live in swing states, thanks for your efforts, too. For anyone still recovering from Sandy: you're excused this time around. When the concerns are food, clean water, heat and fuel, it's wrong to expect anything else. Hopefully, you'll be able to vote.
Remember that you can send $10 to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999. The charge will appear on your next cell phone bill. If you've got a roof on where you live, you've got more than the people who will get the benefit of that donation. With the pictures coming out of Staten Island yesterday...turns out that may be the place hardest hit. Even compared to the Jersey shore. Click here for more info. Then text to 90999.
We stage today for the final push to Tuesday. May we be a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes of Breezy Point making sure our government is based on science and a sense of shared responsibility. No black swans. Good luck to us all.
Yesterday, President Obama took a tour of the New Jersey coast with Chris Christie. The photo was sent out as a White House tweet, and retweeted by Christie's official Twitter feed. There was a press conference where both men praised the efforts of each other, and stood together, committed to the restoration of the devastated areas of New Jersey. The White House had offered to Mike Bloomberg that the president would also be happy to tour affected areas of New York City, but Bloomberg said that it was enough that he went to Jersey. No animosity, and appreciation for the coordination with FEMA.
One of the things the President mentioned in his remarks was that there was a 15 minute return time from his staff back out to affected governors, and county and local officials. On various news sources, multiple mayors and county executives mentioned in interviews how quickly they received callbacks.
For those of us familiar with the Jersey shore, the scenes from the tour are unthinkable: places with memories of laughter and vacations now close to unrecognizable. The things in the wrong places, like houses in the middle of streets, the gas fires, the missing boardwalks, the twisted remains of an amusement park. And then there's the sand. EPA has regulations that once sand is forced off the beach, it cannot be returned to the beach: Obama will certainly direct the EPA to make an exception, since this isn't a bit of sand forced inland, these ARE the beaches.
I keep looking at that picture, and to me, it bespeaks what government is for. Here you have the governor of a state where at least a quarter of the population is in trouble: underwater, homeless, shocked. His sole concern is helping them. He is facing the President whose concerns are for all the afflicted people in Jersey. While the fates of other hard hit areas are certainly bearing down on his shoulders, with pinpoint focus he is focused on listening to the specific concerns of this state.
New Jersey certainly doesn't have the resources in the face of a natural disaster this big. NO state does. But a federal-state partnership can get in there and do what is necessary. For most Federal projects, there is a requirement that the localities contribute a portion of the costs. Many of the seaside towns are tiny, and dependent on summer tourist monies to get through the year: hopefully there will be a way for all of us Americans to have our tax dollars rerouted to do what is necessary.
We are 5 days out from an election with epic repercussions. On the one hand, you have the Democrats, and those few Republicans (that would be Chris Christie, and Mike Bloomberg, use the comments if you know any others, and yes I know Bloomberg is currently an independent and neither is running this year) who are willing to work with the Democrats, and then you have the rest of the Republican party. The former believe that government is a force for good, that it exists FOR America. The latter want to dismantle the Federal government for everything EXCEPT management of women's reproductive health and protection of funneling ever more dollars from the 99% to the 1%. It is that simple.
If you're not in a Sandy-devastated area, get your voters out - we need a government that can deal with the fact that Sandy is a warning of things to come, not an anomaly. We need a government that supports first responders. We need to prevent having a government that would have said to Chris Christie "Hey, it's your state. Good luck."
It's that simple.
Elections are won one voter at a time. Get yours today.
I heard Gen Honoree (ret), who was the Army general who led the team into New Orleans after "heckuva job Brownie" and crew failed, speak yesterday. He said that neighbors will save more lives than first responders. His point: as daylight breaks today, first responders will be out looking to assess damage, get infrastructure fixed, get the power back on...but if you are okay, and it is safe for you to be outside, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly. They may need help that you can provide: if they fell in the dark in their homes, for example. Further, this is the end of the month, so people who live on limited incomes may not have had the money to stock up on food and water: you could help on your block.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL - the reports indicate massive flooding, downed power lines, and trees are still snapping, which can cause further damage. Be careful to avoid walking under trees. If you see downed lines, back up, the ground can be hot (electrified).
I have not been beyond my front yard since the storm started, but I took Fiona out last night and was struck by the fact that it smelled like salt spray from the ocean. Here. 70 miles inland. When the sun comes up, I will walk my neighborhood and check on my elderly neighbors and make sure they're okay. I won't call, because they always say they're okay, but I need to see for myself. Then I'll walk around to see further damage.
I know from texts received that parts of my town have flooded and lost power. I consider myself incredibly lucky that my house is okay and our power held. We flickered and the internet went in and out, but we are fine.
New York and New Jersey have been declared major disaster areas. Residents and business owners in these two states who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Other areas may be added later, and may have different portals.
There is discussion about whether or not elections will all be held next Tuesday. It's actually a state-by-state decision, and there is precedent for a later election (NY mayoral primary, originally scheduled for 9/11/01) but not for a presidential one. However, FEMA has funds set aside if it's necessary. I am unconcerned about that right now, as there are more immediate concerns, but I will do the research later and post on it.
It's so dark outside. Luckily, it's still light INSIDE!
Update from the weekend: our OFA location knocked on a total of 2268 doors and called 2502 people. To everyone who was out there yesterday - THANKS! It really matters.
Our staging location is down the hall from one of Manan Trivedi's offices. Manan stopped by yesterday. It's always nice to see him. Even this late in the campaign, he looks and sounds GOOD! The race is much closer than the 2010 race, Manan has terrific ads up on TV and his people are benefiting from help from the Sierra Club and PCCC, which both endorsed him. If you have power where you are and want to help, you can click here to make calls for Manan tonight from 4 - 6. It's a system where you only speak to live people, as the system doesn't put you through to machines. There are other PCCC endorsees for whom you can call at different times between now and the election.
The picture has Manan at the Paoli Blues fest a few weeks ago - if you see the blue sign on the booth to the right - that was our local organization's site - it was a bright sunny day, and Manan was out meeting the folks. We spoke to many people that day, and since it was the weekend after the first debate, you can imagine that many people had, um, questions.
Manan has run an exemplary race, and if you've got a phone from 4 - 6 tonight, please consider helping making calls. If I have power, I'll be making calls, and I'd consider your participation a personal favour.
That's all I've got for now. Thankfully, I'll be able to work my job from home today, and we'll see what the next hours bring. Good luck to all in the storm's path.
UPDATE 11:15 from the campaign:
Due to weather conditions, the auto-dial phone-bank has been postponed. We will be holding the auto-dial phone-bank this Thursday, Nov. 1 from 4-6PM. This will be a big Day of Action for the Trivedi campaign, as we hope people will make calls from 4-6, then head over to West Chester to supportManan in his debate against Jim Gerlach, which starts at 7:30PM this Thursday. The debate will be held at the Daily Local News building, located at 250 N. Bradford Ave. in West Chester.
As you certainly know, for the first time in history, a tropical storm is going to collide with something very cold causing a hurricane to come ashore, a nor'easter to form and hit, and then there will be snow. Normally we're thinking about snow and rain for election day issues, and hurricanes for the conventions. It's a little mind boggling.
The map is a general one, and certainly subject to change. Some other projected forecasts track a little further south into Virginia and West Virginia, and further WSW into Ohio. Remember that no matter the exact track, Sandy is 700 miles across, and expected to grow. That's a lot of real estate.
The political consequences can be serious. In places like Virginia and Ohio where there are early voting, there can certainly be disruption. Depending on how much snow falls, and how high the winds are, in both states there can be effects to election day.
Here in Pennsylvania, we're expecting major power outages and flooding in the eastern part of the state and snow in the west. While we are a one voting day only state, we are facing impacts. First, this weekend, we may need to pull our canvassers back tomorrow night if the storm speeds up. You don't send canvassers out when trees are falling across the roads, and the wind is 40 mph. Further, a lot of GOTV volunteers need time to batten down the hatches, clear patios, decks, and other places from which projectiles can launch, and prepare for power outages that could theoretically last a week. Both canvassing and phone banking this week will be affected: it's unlikely anyone in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or the SES parts of New York will be going out, or even calling Monday to Wednesday. No power, no phones, no ability to enter data.
The campaigns are all affected in terms of where they will be holding prescheduled events. This is true not only about cancelled Virginia events for both the Obama and Romney campaigns, but also state and local candidates. Last night, Philadelphia issued mandatory evacuation orders for people in low-lying areas for 2 pm Sunday. I've lived here a long time, and this is the first Philadelphia evacuation I can remember.
There are a lot of people not taking Sandy seriously. A co-worker told me that she was leaving early yesterday to go down the shore (NJ for those of you who aren't local) to attend a wedding ON SUNDAY. Some people with whom I work on GOTV have said I shouldn't worry about having canvassers out on Sunday, they'll be fine.
And there you have it. Personally, I'm off to the store for batteries and candles, then back to clear potential projectiles, and then 12 hours of GOTV activities.
Tom Corbett and Carol Aichele are at it again. They've launched a page on the PA Voter site so you can report voter fraud. It's even uglier than it sounds. You can click on it here, but before you do, be warned, if you do, Tom and Carol are going to track YOU!
Notice: This website monitors and captures ISP information. By visiting this site, you consent to such monitoring.
Right above that warning is information about your internet connection: where you are, your IP address and your area code.
Here's what they're looking for:
This online election complaint form is provided for registered voters in Pennsylvania to submit a complaint to the voter’s county board of elections and/or district attorney. The site is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections in Pennsylvania. However, the Department of State has no authority to investigate or prosecute alleged election law violations.
Information submitted with this complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for possible use in future investigations and/or prosecutions.
So basically, they have no fraud here, they don't expect any, they won't go after anyone if there's some information provided, but they want you to look high and low and report it.
First - kudos to Martha Raddatz for showing Jim Lehrer what the word "moderator" means. She was not perfect: her Catholicism question was personal and not governmental, as Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out. Luckily, there was a response pivot to abortion, which is governmental. All in all, though, she was terrific.
And then there was Joe Biden. Clear, smiling (not smirking) full of facts, data and gravitas. Nor was he afraid to call out Ryan and the Romney-Ryan ticket on their lies, falsehoods and bait-and-switch "facts". Ryan seemed ill at east, unable to respond quickly or factually on any foreign policy issue, and mischaracterizing all of his numbers relative to unemployment, Social Security and Medicare. He did, though, point out that he and Mittens would basically outlaw abortion in most cases. Nice to have that clarified, again.
Who won? There were two big instapolls: CBS had it at 50-31, Biden. CNN had it 48-44 Ryan. CNN's number is relatively untrustworthy. Their sample group for the first presidential debate was all white Southerners over the age of 50, so we'll have to see what they admit to in their sample group for this debate. Basically, since Fox hated the outcome and blasted Raddatz (as did Drudge and the rest of their cabal), and the CNN pundits called it a tie, it looks like Biden was the clear winner.
Face it, Democrats are more realistic and honest: we knew Romney won on style last week. When their guy loses on style, substance and facts, they can't come close to admitting it.
But hey, that's just one girl's opinion. What's yours? Feel free to use the comments to write about your favourite debate moment.
It's hard to turn on a TV, look at an internet site, pick up a periodical and not be exposed to the expectations game for tonight's debate. It seems to me that this debate is less about two men facing one another like, oh, Lincoln and Douglas or Kennedy and Nixon, or your even high school debate club, and more about the media circus.
A few things I've noticed...rumor has it that there will be 3,200 debate parties tonight. I found a Romney one in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Huh. There are a lot of social media options: you can even watch on an xbox and win some avatar, in addition to the live blogs and tweets. It will be interesting to see how many people tune in. It would be stunning if the debate actually changed anyone's mind. But hey, I know two undecided voters - there must be more. Not a lot of them, although I'm convinced Chris Christie is one of them.
Still, I'm looking forward. What are you looking forward to?
I begin with something that DCW member Scott wrote on his Facebook page when I posted about Carol Aichele storming our voter registration table a couple weeks ago:
Jessica is a friend of mine who lives in Pennsylvania. She is a strong supporter of Democrats, and works hard to get them elected. But she is also a strong supporter of voting, and has spent many many days over the course of many many years registering people to vote, cheerfully helping people with the process whether they are Republican, Democrat, or independent.
Carol Aichele is the Secretary of the Commonwealth for Pennsylvania. She is a strong supporter of Republicans, and works hard to get them elected. But, as this anecdote shows, she has also become a fierce opponent of voting, and is now spending her time trying to keep people from voting, whether they are Republican, Democrat, or independent.
Voter suppression isn't just Democrat vs. Republican, although it is that. It is also pro-voting vs. anti-voting.
Everything Scott wrote was true, and became even more prescient on Sunday.
For those of you who don't know, I've been registering voters at the same shopping center in Chester County, PA for the past 20 years. For the past several cycles, I have co-chaired the effort with Cheryl Bittner, another local resident as committed to voting as I am. With dozens of volunteers, we have registered, re-registered, handed out absentee ballots, and provided information to several thousand people.
On Sunday, the Republicans achieved their goal of shutting us down. In our town, there are not a lot of places that get the kind of foot traffic that makes a voter drive possible. There is only one major shopping center, and we were lucky that there was a shopkeeper who allowed us to use a small amount of space. Sadly, after the Republicans sent Carol Aichele (who could find nothing to warrant closing our table) they banded together to file false complaints to the shopkeeper (and surrounding businesses) about us. We don't blame the businesses, it is not their job to evaluate the veracity of what was said to them. They had no choice but to ask us to leave.
Here in Pennsylvania, many of us are doing everything we can to not just make sure people are registered but to insure that they have the IDs they need to overcome the high bar set by the state to vote this year. The state has gone so far as to inactivate thousands of voters for no discernible reason, in addition to requiring IDs that are very difficult for hundreds of thousands of people to acquire in the time allotted.
We provided a great service, and we gladly registered and provided information to people regardless of political orientation. Cheryl and I feel appalled, saddened, mortified (and a host of other words) that our country has come to this: out of desperation, bigotry and a sense that they're losing, the Republicans will stop at nothing to deny suffrage. They so hate us, that they will do anything to prevent a bunch of mostly middle aged locals from helping people vote.
Overall, we are confronted with an ambitious effort on the part of the General Assembly to bring the new identification procedure into effect within a relatively short timeframe and an implementation process which has by no means been seamless in light of the serious operational constraints faced by the executive branch. Given this state of affairs, we are not satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on the assurances of government officials, even though we have no doubt they are proceeding in good faith.
Thus, we will return the matter to the Commonwealth Court to make a present assessment of the actual availability of the alternate identification cards on a developed record in light of the experience since the time the cards became available. In this regard, the court is to consider whether the procedures being used for deployment of the cards comport with the requirement of liberal access which the General Assembly attached to the issuance of PennDOT identification cards. If they do not, or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.
Accordingly, the order of the Commonwealth Court is VACATED, and the matter is returned to the Commonwealth Court for further proceedings consistent with this Order. The Commonwealth Court is to file its supplemental opinion on or before October 2, 2012. Any further appeals will be administered on an expedited basis.
Carol Aichele is the Secretary of the Commonwealth (akin to Secretary of State in other states) in Pennsylvania. You may remember that when she testified at the Voter ID trial, she attested under oath that she'd never even read the law. And yes, she's the person in charge of overseeing its implementation.
Carol works in Harrisburg, but lives in our area. She stopped by our booth last Sunday. As Voter Registration. Zone Leader, and political activist Andrea Lynch relates:
Noel Boothe and I had just finished speaking with a woman who was concerned about her 88 year old mother. She no longer has a drivers license but wants to vote. The woman asked questions like: What did here mom need for an absentee ballot? Or did she need to go to the DMV to get an ID? The mom really wants to vote.
We could see Carol storming across the parking lot, we could tell that she was coming towards us. She rifled through everything on the table to make sure that we were non-partisan. Of course, we're completely clean. It's nice to know we passed muster.
I said to her that it was too bad she hadn't been 5 minutes earlier, or she would have heard from a woman whose mother was having trouble with being able to vote. I explained the situation, and Carol said "Well if she if going to the Driver's License Center is so difficult for her than maybe she isn't well enough to be voting."
That was it. Immediately I asked her where in the Constitution was there a health clause related to voting. She didn't take well to that.
The conversation went on with Andrea explaining all sorts of truths to Carol.
There is a lot of discussion about whether IDs can be "substantially similar" and thus there are a lot of people, even in OFA and amoung Democratic leaders who believe that if a drivers license has a middle name but a voter registration has a middle initial, it will be okay to vote. I don't buy it, and I don't believe Carol Aichele's organization does, either. They are actively working to disenfranchise anyone who might conceivably vote for Obama. It takes 3 minutes to fill out a new registration form. Three minutes now, for a bunch of safety on November 6th.
Thanks so much to Andrea, Noel, and all the other great people who stand voter registration.
Update: Since this conversation occurred, the PA Supreme Court heard arguments which could lead to the delay of implementation of the Voter ID law. In addition, here in Chester County, the Board of Elections met, and after all was said and done, left most decisions to the Judge of Elections for each precinct. Meanwhile, thousands of people across Pennsylvania are doing their best to make sure everyone can comply with the law even if it is overturned.
Please share with everyone you know that the Secretary of the Commonwealth doesn't seem to care if the elderly, the sick or the disabled want to vote.
It is the morning of 13 September, about 5:30 ET. The American Embassy in Yemen is currently being breached. Over the past 48 hours, our Egyptian Embassy and our Libyan Consulate were also breached. Our people died, and because those spaces are considered American soil, they are all direct attacks on the US.
There are a lot of geopolitical considerations as we move forward relating to protecting other embassies in the Arab world, retaliation, and how this affects our relationships with countries in the Middle East. Our president, who is diplomat-in-chief, in addition to being Commander in Chief, will have a lot on his plate on this issue in the near future. He is, and will continue to be, thoughtful, and will certainly wait for all the facts before making all sorts of decisions. The one exception is the deployment of additional military to protect our diplomats, which is already underway.
Last night, President Obama talked to Telemundo, and when asked whether Egypt was still an ally said that "[t]hey are not an ally. They are not an enemy. They are a new government." Read it again. It's an incredibly nuanced answer that speaks not only to the truth of the situation, but also to Mohamed Morsi, who needs to decide where his government is to stand with relation to the US. Mubarek's government was a strong ally, and a recipient of all sorts of aid. The ball is now in Morsi's court.
This is an election year, and our president is also a candidate with an opponent. It is possible that yesterday, through incredible arrogance and stupidity, Mitt Romney not only lost the election, but did a few things that directly harmed the United States.
There's no question that Mitt's remarks were based on faulty information, and that he said them while smirking, showing incredibly disrespect for those Americans who died doing their jobs of trying to protect America. There is also no question that he made his remarks to pander to religious types (Christians and Jews) he thought he could make a play for, and that that was the reason he said what he said. More importantly, he indicated through his words that if he wee president, and an embassy or consulate was surrounded by people attempting to breach, they would not be allowed to put out a statement that basically said (albeit in a slightly ineffective way) "hey, it wasn't us. Please don't kill us." Romney didn't even understand that "on the ground" presents a different set of circumstances.
I’ve seen some comparisons between Mitt Romney’s position right now and that of George W. Bush after the Democratic convention in 2000, and by the numbers there is some resemblance. But what really happened in the final months of that election? The answer — not a popular one with journalists, but very obviously true to anyone who lived through it — was that the press took sides. Reporters liked Bush and didn’t like Gore, and as a result they treated Bush with kid gloves while gleefully passing on every smear against his opponent (“Gore says he invented the internet!” No, he never did).
That probably wasn’t going to happen this time in any case. But now Romney has really ensured that everyone in the news media, the GOP propaganda organs aside, is going to view him with distaste and alarm — as well they should.
It should be noted that even media friends (along with elected Republicans) distanced themselves from Romney's comments, and many (even Kathleen Parker on Fox) repudiated his remarks.
Don't get me wrong: dark money is effective with low information voters. Last night, I had dinner with my Voter Registration co-chair, and she mentioned that a woman had come to the booth on Sunday who "had heard" that the Obama administration had outsourced the counting of all votes in November 6th to Spain. Idiotic on its face, but there it was.
None of this means that we cease boots-on-the-ground for registration and GOTV - it just means that perhaps we now have an ally in the news media.
On this 11th anniversary of the fall of the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of the plane in Western Pennsylvania, we are ALL Americans attacked. The DCW team bows its collective head in remembrance of those lost and injured, and of the brave men and women who did all they could in the aftermath.
While this should not be a day for politics, there is new information that the Bush neo-cons were apprised not just in August, but also in May of 2001 that Bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil. Rumsfeld and company chose to believe that Saddam Hussein was the greater threat. Read here. Think of everything that went wrong AFTER 9/11, the unnecessary war in Iraq, the ineptitude in chasing down Bin Laden by the Bushies, the intolerance directed against innocents. Remember it today, act on it November 6th.
Matt and I are Native New Yorkers, and Oreo is originally from the 'burbs. We grew up with the Towers being part of everyday life. Huge, a giant shadow, but just part of what we knew. I personally remember being a kid and going on school trips to see its construction. To those memories, there is this from Dan Meth.
What Paul said, my tags for the bottom of the screen in blue.
Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States. It's nice to see he mentioned Joe Biden in the first line.
I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready. If every kid was like Paul, they'd get college paid for by Social Security, the reins of a government-subsidized construction firm, and a wife with a giant inheritance.
I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power. WOW! I didn't know he considered multiple choice Mittens to be an "opponent" - and he forgot to add"tax returns".
President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory. That factory closed in 2008. Before the election. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. Um, not really. The Democrats didn't get everything we wanted as we believed in bipartisanship and worked with the GOP. We didn't get half of what we wanted. And as for "one-time expenditures" - we spent more on Iraq and Afghanistan - the large Republican messes. It's the gift we keep on paying for.
But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care. Lie #3, but hey, Paul and his family have been getting government paid health care since the day he was elected. Why is it okay for him, but not other people?
Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country. Unlike Paul, I read all 2,700 pages and I can say conclusively that these things DO have a place in a free country. And well, they are enacted in every other industrialized nations (and some that aren't) around the globe.
The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare. It may well come as news to the millions who will vote for Mittens and Eddie Munster, but not to the Supreme Court, nor the millions who vote for Barack Obama, who will win the election.
The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it. That's right, Romney-Ryan is going to stop Medicare. Wait? Did I read that wrong? NO. They want to dismantle the donut-hole fill the ACA put in place (the donut hole Paul voted for), they want to increase the cost to current seniors, and give everyone else a voucher that will go as far towards Medicare premiums as a free Big Mac voucher goes to buying a steak at Ruths Chris.
A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours. Lie #4.
Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Yes they do. And they're going to rob the little left for the poor and middle class and give it to themselves, the rich white guys.
It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America. Thank you teabag idiots, the only people stupid enough to vote against raising the debt ceiling.
Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt. Lies number 5, 6 and 7. Just not objectively true in any regard.
Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. Really, name two. Like voting to repeal the ACA 33 times, and not even bringing a single jobs bill to the floor? Like shutting down the FAA by temporarily defunding them? Like cutting Pell grants? Hey Paul, you've sponsored exactly 2 bills that were enacted in all your 13 years Congress. One of them renamed the Janesville post office, and the other modified the taxes on arrows used in archery equipment.
My Dad used to say to me: “Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.” Please Paul, be part of the solution. Lose both elections, go home, and never be heard from again.
My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Amazing she didn't want to work for the multimillion dollar construction company the rest of the family owns and operates. You know, the one that got big and rich using Federal funds.
We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years. They've never published the actual plan beyond the platitude. And 12 million jobs would dwarf anything the world has ever seen. But I'm game: prove it Paul, or this is lie #8.
In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government. And that is it: they do choose to limit government. Federal spending at 20% of GDP is only possible if government ceases to exist in most forms. I'll publish the numbers this weekend.
I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp lost.
He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded. Lies #9, 10 and 11.
Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. Insert list here of pedophile priests, gay evangelical ministers caught on camera, churches closed due to embezzlement and court settlements and the whole Warren Jeffs group.
Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Except, of course, pregnant women who'd die under your belief system because the life of a never-viable ectopic pregnancy is more important to you than the mom.
Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done. I'm taking this to heart, Paul. I'm going to give it everything I have to make sure that you guys lose in November. I'm going to see that through. I'm going to get it done, with the help of all the other people in America who believe in America: all its people, all its promise.
Yesterday afternoon, I went with a friend to Chester County Voter Services because we'd been unable to find her name on the Pennsylvania voter list. The people at Voter Services were great, as they always are. The guy at the front counter rooted around in his computer system and found that the name they had for her had an "a" in the middle instead of the "o" it should have been. He allowed her make the change on her voter card, and then sign it. He then made the change in the computer and told her to expect her new card in four weeks.
While we were there, another woman came in, trying to get an absentee ballot for her 91 year old mother who physically cannot go to the polls. She asked if it was a problem that the mother's drivers license was expired, and several people came out from the back and all said to use the last four digits of her Social Security number instead. "That will work" "Get the number" "We want everyone to vote" And that isChester County Voter Services. I've dealt with them for years as someone running drives, as well as having attended training from them to work the polls. There has always been an absolute commitment to having everyone vote, and to making sure every vote, whether in person, by absentee or by provisional ballot count. Sadly, that isn't true for every county, and certainly not for the state legislature.
And then it was on to Voter Registration. It was busy, and the time just flew by! Big thanks to Marilyn, with whom I've been standing Friday night registration for years, and who knows all too well that I have some hereditary prosopagnosia and is very helpful about my limitation. We signed up new voters, made changes to addresses, and spent extra time with every woman who passed us to make sure they checked that their voter registration was not under their maiden name and their ID under their married name or vice versa. We also handed out a lot of absentee ballot applications for kids who would be away at college, after helping them determine in which state they would be better off voting.
Last week in the evenings, I started going around my neighborhood with my phone, using it to make sure all my neighbors are registered under the name they think they're registered under, making sure they know where to vote if they're new to the neighborhood, and giving "first touch" for those with non-Republican registrations.
Most interesting voter of the evening was the woman who came up to us and asked how she could, and I quote, "unregister". As Marilyn said, rightly, "just because you're registered, it doesn't mean you have to vote", I blustered "you don't want to vote!?!?!?" It turned out that she just didn't want to go to jury duty. We explained that jury duty rolls are determined by drivers licenses and not voting rolls, found out that she'd be out of town on election day, and got her hooked up with an absentee ballot application.
All very exciting, and we'll be out there again today and tomorrow.
Remember, you can put www.canivote.org into your phone and determine your state site for registration checks. You can then check all your friends, family and neighbors. It's pretty low stress, even for those of you who don't like to interact with strangers. Remember, the right can spend as much money as they want, but we can turn out actual voters. On MSNBC yesterday, they mentioned that Republican dark money and SuperPacs have spent over $300 million on ads so far, while its only about $20 million on the Democratic side. And the Democrats are still winning on most polls in most places. Think about that for a minute: they wanted to be able to spend unlimited money, they're SPENDING outrageous amounts of money, and they're not getting the traction they thought they would.
Elections are won one voter at a time. Get yours today.
It's more important than ever! As always, if you have registration questions or need assistance, just drop me a note.
Yesterday, House and Senate primaries were held in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin. First, for the I-cannot-believe-she-won-AGAIN race: Michele Bachmann with 80% of the vote. Thanks, I feel better for sharing the insanity.
In Connecticut, there were no surprises. Chris Murphy won over Susan Bysiewicz 67.5% - 32.5% to capture the Democratic nomination. He will face, and easily win against, Linda "WWF" McMahon, who captured 72% of the vote over Chris Shays on the Republican side. This is currently Joe "Turncoat" Lieberman's seat. It will be gratifying when this seat returns to its Democratic place in the Senate in January. And yes, I'm sure Murphy wins. There were no surprises in the House primaries, with most races being uncontested.
In Minnesota, incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar captured 90% of the primary vote, and will be challenged by, and will win against, Kurt Bills. There were some interesting state house outcomes. with the longest-serving Republican being tossed out by a teabag challenger. But in the national House races, only one surprise. Rick Nolan edged out Tarryl Clark to take on freshman teabagger Chip Cravaack, who is legitimately vulnerable.
On to Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson managed to win the Republican Senate primary against three tea bag challengers. This sets up a heated race between the former governor and Tammy Baldwin, who ran uncontested. This is the seat Herb Kohl is retiring from, and yes, Herb is from the family that owns the chain Kohl's. The polls in the head-to-head have been close, with Thompson slightly ahead. Thompson was a popular governor, and former Federal official. For a Republican, his health care stance is relatively decent, and he did good work in Wisconsin on health matters. Tammy Baldwin is a long-term pol, having held local and state positions before being the first woman from Wisconsin elected to Congress. She was also the first openly-gay non-incumbent ever elected to Congress. She is serving her 7th term. In her first two races, she captured 53% and 55% of the vote, and has consistently won with more than 60% ever since. She voted against invading Iraq. I'm looking forward to the next sets of polls, because it is possible that teabaggers will either come in as "undecided" or "other", which may propel Baldwin to the lead. The Wisconsin House races were uneventful, and mostly uncontested.
And finally, we have Florida, Florida, Florida. (I still miss you Tim Russert.) Betcha $10,000 that Mittens wished he would have waited a couple days to announce Paul Ryan. John Mica, a 10-term Republican redistricted to run against freshman teabagger Sandy Adams, won with 61% of the vote. Cliff Stearns has apparently lost to veterinarian Ted Yoho, but Stearns has refused to concede, and the vote has not been certified as of this writing. It's close: under 800 votes. Stearns can be blamed, in part, with the rest of the blame resting on Karen Handel, with the implosion of the Susan G. Komen foundation. Karen Handel was the one who got the organization to cut Planned Parenthood funding because of an "on-going Congressional investigation." Stearns WAS the "Congressional investigation." Good riddance.
In the Florida 9th, Alan Grayson will be back on the ballot, running against Todd Long, who won over John Quiñones and others on the Republican side. This puts Grayson in a stronger position.
Connie Mack IV will be challenging Bill Nelson in the Senate race. Every time I think of baby Mack, I am reminded of the 1992 Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman. Baby Mack is a mere shadow of former Connie Macks. This one is married to Mary Bono Mack, Sonny Bono's widow, and holder of her own Congressional seat. The two of them like to spend time together more than they like to go to work. Connie Mack IV has the 7th worst record for missed votes. Mack claimed that Nelson missed 56% of the votes, but it turns out that number was from a long time ago, and recently Nelson missed one vote. Total. Nelson is on track to re-election not just because Baby Mack doesn't show up, and generally voters want their elected representatives to go to work, but also because Nelson is very, VERY pro-Medicare, and Ryan on the ticket makes Medicare all they're going to talk about in Florida, with a side order of Social Security.
Don't understate the importance of the Ryan pick in the Florida primaries: on the front page of every major paper in Florida on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were headlines reminding Floridians about Ryan and Medicare and NOT the primary elections.
Elections are won one voter at a time. Get yours today.
A lot of the chattering class view the choice of Paul Ryan as an easy win not only for President Obama, but a sure thing for holding the Senate and recapturing the House (or at least coming close enough to count). However, I've seen Paul Ryan up close and personal and he is incredibly good at speaking in a manner that convinces people his lies are truths. We must be ready! So, this is the first in a series, telling you what you need to know when people you know believe the dark side.
Romney/Ryan likes to say that President Obama cut $700 million (sometimes $500 million) from Medicare and that "they" are working to save it. To understand why this is an out and out falsehood, you need to understand the difference between defined benefit and defined contribution.
In terms of retirement (and we'll get to how it applies to Medicare), defined benefit was a pension program. That is, the retiree received a set amount of money every month for the rest of his/her life. Defined contribution is a 401(k) program, where the potential retiree places a set amount of money in an account and hopes for the best in terms of payout.
Currently, Medicare is a defined benefit program. The "benefits" are things like doctor visits, medications, surgeries, durable medical equipment and hospital stays, to name a few. These are NOT specific dollar amounts, they are paid in terms of goods and services, whatever that costs the government. Yes, Medicare recipients are required to chip in, but the majority of the costs are covered by the program.
Romney/Ryan wants to replace this with a voucher program. That is a defined contribution program: Medicare recipients would receive a set amount of dollars a month with which they can purchase health insurance. Thus, Romney/Ryan would contribute to Medicare recipients care, but whether or not that would be enough to cover the cost of premiums, much less co-payments and deductibles is completely unlikely. If you doubt this, pretend that you're in your 60's and have a pre-existing condition, and then go price private health insurance.
This changes the spread of costs between the government and individuals. Below is a chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (reprinted with permission) that shows things very clearly.
You may wonder why there is such a disparity in total costs. If you remember back to 2009 when DCW was all over the various health care proposals, the insurance companies take 15 - 30% in administrative costs out of every premium dollar paid, while it costs Medicare 2 - 4%. Plus, many more items would be excluded from the list of covered services. Remember, the Romney/Ryan plan would repeal the ACA, so there would be no holding down of premium costs because there would be no public option, not even for Medicare. There may well be, in their dreams, a Medicare "insurance" option, but it would be limited in terms of payouts.
Let's get back to that huge $700 million cut. What the ACA did was to decrease the amount paid to doctors, hospitals, and durable goods providers. They did not cut the defined benefit to the recipients. The cut is also not current, it's a going-forward amount over 10 years. Further, the Ryan budget (as published) specifically includes the ACA cuts while repealing all other portions of the law.
So there you have it: the Medicare lies. Next in the series, the lies Ryan and Romney tell about themselves. By way of coming attractions: did you know, for example, that Ryan is a trust fund baby, went to college with government funds, and comes from a family that made its megamillions on government contracts? Yes, really.
I spent a lot of this past weekend working voter registration in suburban Philadelphia. My compatriots and I had signs, we had tee shirts. We were, for this time of year, inundated with potential voters, people needing to update information, people who needed absentee ballot applications, and most interestingly, people who wanted to check if they were registered, or had potentially been purged.
In the past month, the state of Pennsylvania has purged 758,000 voters from the rolls. If you think these are people who have died, or haven't voted, you'd only be partially right. They've also purged active voters.
The first night, we checked about 20 people, and found 3 of them had been purged, including one who had voted in the May, 2012, primary. I posted the information to Facebook and Twitter, asking everyone I knew to check their status, and between them and the table checks over the weekend: 7 people purged. And that's just people I came in contact with.
If you live in Pennsylvania and want to check if you've been purged, you can click this link. Having a voter registration card does NOT mean that you are still registered. If you live in any other state, you can use this link to find your state's registration check website.
In choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has made an even more extreme choice than John McCain made in choosing Sarah Palin in 2008. You can tell I'm serious because I didn't say Mittens, Spunky and John-Boy, and haven't picked a nickname for Paul yet.
The Ryan choice completes Mitt's morph from moderate Republican businessman with aspirations of ultimate power to the signing pen for Grover Norquist. If you don't know what that means, you need to know.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and one of Washington’s most influential anti-tax conservatives, told National Public Radio in 2001, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
Grover Norquist and his organization are the folks who make Republican candidates at all levels sign a pledge to never raise taxes. This ultimately led to the teabag contingent coming close last summer to denying the US government the ability to pay its bills, in direct violation of the US Constitution. If Ryan hadn't been born, Grover would have invented him.
Because there are so few undecided voters this year, Mitt needs to shore up the conservative fringe of the Republican base. Ryan is the choice to do that. In spades.
In the spring of 2009, I heard Paul Ryan speak on his proposed changes to health care at Cato. I thought he was joking. But no, he wants to completely destroy Medicare, Medicaid and every other social program. Don't believe me? His budge, in full, is after the jump.
It substantially restructures Medicare; cuts Medicaid, food stamps, and transportation infrastructure; and it reduces the top tax rate from 35% to 25%. Regarding Medicare, the 2011 version of the Ryan budget would transform it from a government-run program to one where future seniors receive a voucher or premium support to purchase health insurance from private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office said the plan would force most seniors to pay more for their health care than under the current Medicare system. [...]
Ryan and his allies say a bold plan - reforming entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid - and slashing discretionary spending is needed to reduce the deficit and debt. But critics argue that the pain comes primarily from the poor and middle class. Ananalysis from the liberal-leaning Center on Budget Policies and Priorities says that 62% of the spending cuts in the Ryan budget would come from low-income programs, while 37% of its tax benefits would go to those making more than $1 million per year.
If you want to read the full CBO analysis, click here. For a synopsis, click here. If you are confused as to what percentage of the Federal budget is currently spent on what, see the true breakouts here.
This is going to be THE issue of the election. That is, the question of whether the US government exists to protect our borders, enact legislation, print money, oversee the courts, and work for the interests of the citizenry, or whether government ceases to exist at all. And make no mistake, the ultimate goal of Ryan and Norquist is to destroy government so that the United States is a corporate fiefdom. Mitt's out of the mix on this one, so long as they give him the title, he doesn't actually care what else goes on around him.
So get up, get informed, and get active. This is the seminal election: the one where we hold the line against the darkness or end up a third world nation. No snark - it's that extreme.
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