Tag Archives | 2012 election

What Is There To Vote For?

As Americans prepare to go to the polls, the airwaves are littered with paid advertising of the crassest and most manipulative kind. Political issues packaged by ad agencies are flooding the arena of politics with nasty negative ads.

So far, the two parties and their backers have spent a half billion dollars on political advertising with much of the placements still to come in the next few weeks. CBS reports the “spend” will top a billion dollars — just on ads.

2012 Obama Romney caricature

AP warns: “Get ready, presidential swing states. Now the campaign ad crush — and TV spending spree — really begins.”

This is occurring even as the economy and unemployment remain major issues. Millions of Americans are broke and hurting as poverty grows, but there seems to be no shortage of money to grease politics.

It’s being called a “deluge,” leading many Americans, according to USA Today, to wish the election was already over.… Read the rest

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Progressives: In Swing States, Vote for Obama

Daniel Ellsberg 2006It is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.

The election is now just weeks away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally in line with mine — progressives, especially activists — to make this goal one of your priorities during this period.

An activist colleague recently said to me: “I hear you’re supporting Obama.”

I was startled, and took offense.  “Supporting Obama?  Me?!”

“I lose no opportunity publicly,” I told him angrily, to identify Obama as a tool of Wall Street, a man who’s decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who’s launched an unconstitutional war, supports kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together. “Would you call that support?

My friend said, “But on Democracy Now you urged people in swing states to vote for him!  How could you say that?  I don’t live in a swing state, but I will not and could not vote for Obama under any circumstances.”

My answer was: a Romney/Ryan administration would be no better — no different — on any of the serious offenses I just mentioned or anything else, and it would be much worse, even catastrophically worse, on a number of other important issues: attacking Iran, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women’s reproductive rights, health coverage, safety net, climate change, green energy, the environment.… Read the rest

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Koch Brothers Pressuring Thousands Of Employees To Vote For Mitt Romney

In the aftermath of the Citizens United ruling granting First Amendment rights to corporations, companies such as Koch Industries are telling their employees whom they should vote for, while simultaneously forbidding workers from expressing political opinions, In These Times reports:

In a voter information packet obtained by In These Times, the Koch Industries corporate leadership informed tens of thousands of employees at its subsidiary, Georgia Pacific, that their livelihood could depend on the 2012 election and that the company supports Mitt Romney for president. The packet arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month.

Ironically, while the Kochs have been taking advantage of Citizens United to expand political communications to employees, they have also capitalized on weak labor laws to limit the political speech of those employees.

A new Georgia Pacific social media policy [PDF] implemented earlier this year that warns, “Even if your social media conduct is outside of the workplace and/or non-work related, it must not reflect negatively on GP’s reputation, its products, or its brands.” Given the policy, the workers were scared to appear next to a candidate the Kochs do not support with the plant in the background.

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Why Obama Lost The Debate

Via LBO News, Doug Henwood argues that Obama’s tepid showing in his first debate versus Romney was not due to personal lapse, but his and his party’s fundamental contradiction:

First, I should say that while I am not a Democrat, and never had much hope invested in 2008’s candidate of hope, I do think we’d be marginally better off if Obama won. Most liberals want to write off Obama’s bad performance as a bad night. It’s not just that.

The political problem of the Democrats is that they’re a party of capital that has to pretend for electoral reasons sometimes that it’s not. All the complaints that liberals have about them—their weakness, tendency to compromise, the constantly lamented lack of a spine—emerge from this central contradiction. The Republicans have a coherent philosophy and use it to fire up a rabid base. The Dems are afraid of their base because it might cause them trouble with their funders.

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The Illusion Of Political Choice At The Presidential Debate

Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald on the matters for which there is no choice between the two major parties:

Wednesday night’s debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney underscored a core truth about America’s presidential election season: the vast majority of the most consequential policy questions are completely excluded from the process.

Penal policies vividly illustrate this point. America imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation on earth by far. Professor Glenn Loury of Brown University has observed that these policies have turned the US into “a nation of jailers” whose “prison system has grown into a leviathan unmatched in human history”. Yet none of these issues will even be mentioned, let alone debated, by Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

A long list of highly debatable and profoundly significant policies will be similarly excluded due to bipartisan agreement. The list includes a rapidly growing domestic surveillance state that now monitors and records even the most innocuous activities of all Americans; job-killing free trade agreements; climate change policies; and the Obama justice department’s refusal to prosecute the Wall Street criminals who precipitated the 2008 financial crisis.

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Virginia Man Kills Himself And His Family Over Fear Of Obama’s Reelection

A wealthy defense contractor and devout Christian from suburban Washington, D.C. fatally shot his wife, his children, and himself over fears of Barack Obama’s winning a second term, the Daily Mail reports:

Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.

A confidante of the family for the past 25 years has spoken to MailOnline about the strength and grace of the Peterson family, as well as the torment that plagued Albert which drove him to shoot dead his wife Kathleen and his two sons Christopher and Mathew at their suburban home in DC on Sunday.

A history of mental illness and a growing fear of Obama winning a second term in the White House took its toll on the mind of Mr Peterson, a wealthy defense contractor, the friend said.

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How Much Does The Right To Vote Cost In California?

It now costs at least three hundred dollars cash (plus days wasted and lost wages.) Via Notes From Class:

California requires a valid driver’s license to exercise the right to vote, and that new residents acquire new tags and registration immediately upon relocation. Documents needed: birth certificate, vehicle registration, smog test, vehicle inspection, statement of facts, divorce papers.

Smog Test: $38
Douglas County Court Records: $26
Registration/License Plate Fees and Taxes: $200
Driver’s License Fee: $40
Estimated Fuel Cost: $6

Actual Cost of California Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration, and My Voting Rights: $310

This is why people are so angry, or should be, about being required to present a valid state driver’s license at the polls. The total cost would change, of course, if the potential voter had no car: but so would the time and wages lost to long bus rides to the DMV to get a license. There has to be a way to prevent “voter fraud” without disenfranchising those who are living in poverty.

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Top 15 Issues On Which Romney and Obama Are No Different

The unending War on Drugs and shift towards a prison-based economy, Wall Street bailouts, deregulation of telecom giants, pushing for further “free trade” agreements and outsourcing, drones strikes and extrajudicial killings overseas…all this is among what we can look forward to regardless of which party wins in November. Writing for Black Agenda Report, Bruce A. Dixon presents his 15 most important things on which Romney and Obama agree:

The 40 year war on drugs must continue, and even mention of the prison state is unthinkable. There are 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails today, a per capita total that beats the world. But as Michelle Alexander points out, if the US prison population were rolled back to say, only 1 million, the level it was about 1980, this would mean one million jobs, as contractors, sheriffs, cops, bailiffs, judges and functionaries of all kinds would have to go out and find real jobs.

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Hear Mitt Romney Speak Candidly

Mother Jones has obtained video leaked by an anonymous source of Mitt Romney addressing a select group of donors, a setting in which he seems far more at ease than appearing before the public.

It’s fascinating to see a presidential candidate speaking unguardedly behind the scenes. Among other remarks, Romney says that nearly half the population does not pay income tax and thus is overly entitled and dependent on the government, and his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Romney seems to be forgetting the low tax rates which he himself enjoys.) He jokes that he wishes he were Latino, which would make it much easier to become president, and brags that he has assembled a team of “Karl Rove equivalent” consultants who have influenced elections “in Armenia, in Africa, in Israel.” Below, he discusses visiting the Chinese factory of a Bain-owned company, and how it made him grateful to be American:

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Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent In Taxes Under Paul Ryan’s Plan

Commentators have wondered whether the pick of the economically extreme Ryan as a running mate was an error in calculation, but it seems quite pragmatic to me — should Romney win the presidency, and be succeeded by Ryan, Mitt may end up effectively never having to pay taxes again. The Atlantic crunched the figures:

Under Paul Ryan’s plan, Mitt Romney wouldn’t pay any taxes for the next ten years — or any of the years after that. Now, do I know that that’s true. Yes, I’m certain.

Well, maybe not quite nothing. In 2010 — the only year we have seen a full return from him — Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did. How would someone with more than $21 million in taxable income pay so little? Well, the vast majority of Romney’s income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends.

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