Former Florida Republican governor Charlie Crist’s endorsement of President Obama is driving the radical Right crazy, Former Gov. Charlie Crist: Here’s why I’m backing Barack Obama
As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I’m confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.
We often remind ourselves to learn the lessons of the past, lest we risk repeating its mistakes. Yet nearly as often, our short-term memory fails us. Many have already forgotten how deep and daunting our shared crisis was in the winter of 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated. It was no ordinary challenge, and the president served as the nation’s calm through a historically turbulent storm.
The president’s response was swift, smart and farsighted. He kept his compass pointed due north and relentlessly focused on saving jobs, creating more and helping the many who felt trapped beneath the house of cards that had collapsed upon them.
He knew we had to get people back to work as quickly as possible — but he also knew that the value of a recovery lies in its durability. Short-term healing had to be paired with an economy that would stay healthy over the long run. And he knew that happens best by investing in the right places.
President Obama invested in our children’s schools because he believes a good education is a necessity, not a luxury, if we’re going to create an economy built to last. He supported more than 400,000 K-12 teachers’ jobs, and he is making college more affordable and making student loans, like the ones he took out, easier to pay back.
He invested in our runways, railways and roads. President Obama knows a reliable infrastructure that helps move people to work and helps businesses move goods to market is a foundation of growth.
And the president invested in our retirement security by strengthening Medicare. The $716 billion in savings his opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program.
We have more work to do, more investments to make and more waste to cut. But only one candidate in this race has proven a willingness to navigate a realistic path to prosperity.
As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.
But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.
The Bush-Cheney era, not just the president and vice president, but most conservatives in elected office pushed far Right. That failed. It was what one pundit called a colossal clusterf**k. They trashed the economy and made no rational plans for the nation’s future. What did conservatives learn from their colossal failure/ They needed to be further right and more radical. The conservative urban myth industry has grown bigger and more shrill. All to preserve the illusion that Republicans can be good leaders even though the last four have left disasters for someone else to clean up. They could not even confine themselves to trashing America, they spread the destruction to tens of thousands of miles away and spent the nation’s treasures, and lives to do so. Mitt Romney and Paul Romney are just Bush-Cheney on speed. If these conservatives were your children they’d keep knocking their heads against the wall. After telling them to stop a half dozen times – they’re hurting themselves and the wall – if they persisted you’d take them in for a mental check-up. This article gets into some of the reasons why, having been proved wrong over and over again, conservatives cling more tenaciously than ever to a failed and fundamentally anti-American philosophy – The “backfire effect” – Why Do People Believe Stupid Stuff, Even When They’re Confronted With the Truth?
This is a devastating report by People For The American Way – Predatory Privatization: Exploiting Financial Hardship, Enriching the 1%, Undermining Democracy
Through privatization schemes that directly sell off assets that belong to the public, legislators enrich corporate interests at the expense of the long-term interests of the American people in assets their taxes have helped build. The privatization of the people’s assets is essentially permanent. Once buildings and lands are sold off to the private sector by a temporary legislative majority, those assets that may have taken years to build or maintain are lost forever to private, nondemocratic control.
The agenda of privatization schemers was manifest at last August’s American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in New Orleans where ALEC members urged that the government, meaning the people, should not own buildings but should sell them to the private sector, which could then lease the space back to the government at a profit. Their aim is to make the private sector the landlords of our public spaces to accrue more profit for the few while rendering “we the people” the tenants of corporations in the halls of our democracy. In 2009, the state of Arizona even mortgaged its own capitol complex to investors and turned the legislature itself into a tenant.
I know economics call be boring, but it is important to know that much of this privatization agenda is part and parcel of the conservative desire to turn the U.S. into a nation of rent seeking. The billionaires that compose the radical Right PACS are perfect examples. They bring very little to the national table in terms of innovation, values, goods or services – like Romney they exploit the power of money to make more money. Even the NYT’s David Brooks famously admitted that Romney had to sell himself to the public as someone who created value by trimming the fat from companies – in many cases the fat was jobs that were sent to Asia.
A study released last fall by the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight found, for example, that in 33 of 35 occupations, the government paid billions more to hire contractors than it would have cost to have the same functions performed by government employees.
Some privatization efforts are windfalls that enrich major corporations or politically connected local businesses at the expense of taxpayers. Sometimes the cause is simply a mismatch between the resources and expertise of a public official and a major Wall Street firm.
“There’s a reason that there’s been so much enthusiasm in the finance community for privatization deals. You are dealing with a less savvy partner,” said David Johnson, a partner in a firm that advises struggling municipalities. “The bigger sucker is always the government.” Privatization can be good business, whether successful or not. When privatization plans fail and government steps back in, politically connected financiers brokers, and law firms can still walk away with millions of taxpayer dollars.
Perhaps worst of all, privatization can undermine good public policy and democratic decision making. Turning tax dollars and control of public services over to companies whose overriding incentive is to maximize profits can lead to long-term costs and sometimes devastating consequences.
In February, surveying the privatization push at the state level, economist Paul Krugman suggested that Madison, Wisconsin, in 2011 was similar to Baghdad in 2003, when Bush administration officials’ top priority was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.” Krugman notes that author Naomi Klein, in her book “Shock Doctrine,” put the Baghdad fiasco in a larger context in which “right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.” And such policies also put more profits in the hands of their political allies and election funders.
To Romney and others in his party, all public assets look ripe for privatization
“Unless there’s a valid, and legitimate, and compelling governmental purpose, I don’t know why the government owns so much of this land,” Romney said while campaigning in Nevada earlier this year.
Elections are supposed to be, in part, a vehicle through which the people determine how the state will use its powers to allocate public and private wealth.
Sometimes the people’s will is thwarted. In 2001 and 2003, President George W. Bush–who received 500,000 fewer votes than Al Gore–and the Republican Congress cut taxes. According to the New York Times, between 2002 and 2009 these cuts reduced tax revenues by about $1.8 trillion. Those who benefited most from the cuts were the richest Americans. So in effect, America’s millionaires had hundreds of billions of dollars deposited, through the legislative process, into their pockets.
Another way resources will be redistributed–if the Republicans have their way–is the privatization of public assets.
Think of all the riches tied up in our public education system. At the Koch-funded Heartland Institute, President Joseph Bast said: “We see vouchers as a major step toward the complete privatization of schooling. In fact, after careful study, we have come to the conclusion that they are the only way to dismantle the current socialist regime.”
We can argue about America’s education system all day, but how can anyone think that turning our schools into the ideological equivalent of Rush Limbaugh factories be good for our children. That would be dumping down primary education that is already watered down so it doesn’t teach much beyond arithmetic and reading.
An interesting find in the Bain document dump, Romney’s Management Fee Conversions
In the 2000s it became common for private equity fund managers to “convert” their management fees into carried interest. There are many variations on the theme, but here’s how many deals worked: each year, before the annual management fee comes due, the fund manager waives the management fee in exchange for a priority allocation of future profits. There is minimal economic risk involved; as long as the fund, at some point, has a profitable quarter, the managers get paid. (If the managers don’t foresee any future profits, they won’t waive the fees, and they will take cash instead.) In exchange for a minimal amount of economic risk, the tax benefit is enormous: the compensation is transformed from ordinary income (taxed at 35%) into capital gain (taxed at 15%). Because the management fees for a large private equity fund can be ten or twenty million per year, the tax dodge can literally save millions in taxes every year.
The problem is that it is not legal.
That writer is an expert in corporate tax law so he may be on to something.
A very good write-up of Neil Armstrong at Boing Boing, Neil Armstrong 1930-2012: One Giant Loss for Mankind. From the end of the press release by his family,
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Neil Armstrong 1930-2012. Image credit NASA
Neil Armstrong On the Lunar Surface Image Credit NASA.
Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.
This link also has some interesting background info and a video, The Inspiration behind Neil Armstrong’s Immortal Words