Romney-palooza, tonight’s debate, no WARNing…
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
WORKIN’ IN A COAL MINE
► In the Cleveland Plain-Dealer — Coal miners lost pay when Romney visited mine to promote coal jobs — When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down. The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid. The situation came to light when a group of employees who feared they’d be fired if they didn’t attend the campaign rally complained to local radio station talk show.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Right-wing bloggers got very excited when the photo above was published. Now we know why they stood in line, and what it cost them — besides their dignity. (Tip via Slog.) Now, click here to see a video clip of Romney’s visit to the coal mines that gives the story the context it needs.
► In the new Rolling Stone — Greed and debt: The true story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital — How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs, and stuck others with the bill — Mitt Romney’s legendary flip-flops aren’t the lies of a bumbling opportunist — they’re the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he’s trying for something big: We’ve just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we’ve been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.
Everyone knows that Mitt Romney is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.
► In today’s Seattle Times — The Republicans’ economic challenge (by Jon Talton) — Dwight Eisenhower famously wrote, “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
The economic challenge is this: The GOP is essentially running on a platform that would be George W. Bush’s policies on steroids. Yet we already know that the biggest causes of the Great Recession and its lingering pain were the very deregulation and financialization of the economy that the Republicans promise to double-down on. As for the federal deficit and rising debt, Mr. Bush inherited a surplus and turned it into the red with wars, tax cuts heavily tilted to the wealthy, Medicare D that was unfunded and didn’t require Big Pharma to bid for the lowest prices, and the costs of the recession. The 2000s were a lost decade for the middle class.
Not only that, but the Republican standard bearer represents a finance capitalism at odds with working people and small business, and the party is running on issues very much like the ones Ike cautioned against.
► In The Hill — Jeb Bush tells Republicans to ‘stop acting stupid’ on immigration policy — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Tuesday said Republicans aren’t going to close the gap with Hispanic voters until they “stop acting stupid.”
AND, OH YEAH, THE RNC
► In today’s NY Times — How the Republicans built it (editorial) — The Republicans’ parade of truth-twisting, distortions and plain falsehoods arrived on the podium of their national convention on Tuesday. Considering how Mitt Romney has conducted his campaign so far, most recently his blatantly false advertising accusing President Obama of gutting the work requirement on welfare, it is probably not surprising that the convention he leads would follow a similar path.
► In today’s NY Times — Blame the poor (by David Firestone) — The Republican platform calls Medicaid a “black hole.”
► In The Hill — Two RNC delegates removed for taunting black camerawoman — Two attendees were removed from the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night after throwing nuts at an African-American camera operator for cable network CNN and taunting, “This is how we feed animals.”
► In today’s Washington Post — In modern GOP, the old South returns (by Harold Meyerson) — The Republican ticket may hail from Massachusetts and Wisconsin, but Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan head the most Southernized major U.S. political party since Jefferson Davis’s day. In its hostility toward minorities, exploitation of racism, antipathy toward government and suspicion of science, today’s Republican Party represents the worst traditions of the South’s dankest backwaters.
► From ABC News — Obama: Don’t boo the RNC, vote
► In today’s Columbian — Gubernatorial debate viewing parties scheduled — Republicans and Democrats are planning viewing parties for Wednesday night’s local debate between gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee. The debate will take place 8 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium at Washington State University Vancouver.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee admits mistake in 2009 taxes, McKenna reiterates he won’t release his — Gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee corrects an error in his 2009 taxes. Opponent Rob McKenna reiterated that he will not release any tax returns.
► From AP — PDC: Churches can’t collect for referendum push — Washington state’s campaign finance watchdog said Tuesday that the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from their parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.
► From AP — ACLU study says state has spent $211 million on pot enforcement — Enforcing marijuana laws cost Washington more than $211 million last decade, according to a new study released as the state’s voters consider whether to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Charter-schools debate’s 4th round no less intense — Initiative 1240, which would allow charter schools in Washington state, is similar in many ways to a pair of ballot measures that voters previously rejected.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Labor group gives $50K to defeat charter-schools initiative — Opponents of an initiative to allow charter schools reported their first cash donation this week — $50,000 from the SEIU Washington State Council.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Appeals court keeps anti-coal measure off Bellingham ballot–It’s official: The initiative attempting to prohibit coal shipments through Bellingham will not be on the ballot in November.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Security workers laid off at Amazon — Close to 200 security personnel (SEIU Local 6) were laid off when Amazon.com switched security contractors a few weeks ago, and workers say the company that lost the contract — Andrews International of Valencia, Calif. — gave them less than two weeks’ notice. That appears to be a violation of the federal WARN Act, which requires companies to notify workers 60 days before a lay off affecting 100 or more employees.
ALSO SEE — StandForGoodJobs.org — Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to walk in security workers’ shoes! Urge him to make the right decision and hire responsible contractors who provide good wages, benefits and respect workers’ voice on-the-job.
► At SeattleMet Politics — Liquor privatization: The fallout — It’s still too early to say what the ultimate outcome from liquor privatization will be, a number of consequences — intended and unintended — have become clear. Here’s a look at the fallout so far for consumers, big-box retailers, small wine distributors, and some 1,000 union workers who used to staff the state’s 328 public liquor stores.
ALSO at The Stand — Liquor privatization’s false promises already exposed
► In yesterday’s Tri-City Herald — DOE director wants Bechtel authority for vit plant cut– Bechtel National should be removed as the design authority for the Hanford vitrification plant, according to a memo from a key Hanford Department of Energy official overseeing engineering of the project.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — In response to DOE memo, Bechtel confident of safe operation at vit plant– No matter how hard engineers and scientists work on the Hanford vitrification plant, it will never be perfect, said Frank Russo, Bechtel National project director.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Port sees no conflict in chief’s outside board position — Port Commissioner Tom Albro says the port’s general counsel reviewed CEO Tay Yoshitani’s appointment to the board of Expeditors International for potential conflicts of interest.
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