Obama News

A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Senators Need To Pass Gun Safety Laws

Tell Congress: "Don't be cowed by the gun lobby! Let's get moooving on gun safety!"

In April, five – just five – votes prevented the bill to strengthen background checks on gun purchases from moving forward. Polls conducted shortly after the vote in such states as Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Ohio found that the U.S. Senators who opposed passing background checks for gun purchases suffered immediate declines in their approval ratings. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire saw her favorability numbers plummet by a whopping 15 points. The backlash against Arizona’s Sen. Jeff Flake was so great that on his Facebook page he admitted that his vote helped place him “somewhere just below pond scum.”

Clearly some Senators were more concerned about special interests than they were about the fact that more than 90% of the American people support background checks for gun purchases.

Well, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on gun policy reform again in the next few months, and several U.S. Senators are said to be having second thoughts about their "no" votes.
MomsRising and our moms in the Washington, DC Metro Area are planning a little bovine-themed trip to Capitol Hill in a few weeks to let U.S. Senators know how udderly committed we are to passing background checks for all gun purchases. We'll be using humor to break through the partisan gridlock and garner the attention of leaders and the media – and we'll be putting on cow ears to bring your messages, signatures and thoughts, along with some adorable kids dressed up in cow costumes, directly to leaders in Congress.  
*So don't forget to put your name on our open letter to Congress to help them get moooving on passing background checks:

Democrats Can Lose The Senate in 2014

Republicans have thrown everything they have at stopping President Obama’s agenda.  It seems obvious that there is only one thing we can do to fix this stalemate: we HAVE to elect more Democrats and win back the Senate.

2014 represents a great opportunity for RepublicansIn 2014, Republicans will have 14 US Senate seats to defend.  Thirteen of the 14 states were won by double digits in 2008 (a Democratic sweep year), and all states were won by both John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, except for Maine.  On the upside for the GOP minority, all of these seats should be safe. Republicans have reason to be optimistic about the way the 2014 Senate races are shaping up around the country.  They need to recapture six seats in seven states that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried. 

Republicans can capture the Senate without winning a single seat in Obama states.  Six Democratic incumbents are retiring, and only two are doing so from safe Democratic states.  Retirements in South Dakota, Iowa, Montana and West Virginia all pose risks for Democrats.   Republicans will be competitive in Democratic open seats if they recruit top-quality candidates.  Just two Republicans are retiring — Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska. Both are vacating states that went for Romney and seem likely to elect Republicans, barring the unexpected.
In Montana, Democrats are waiting to see whether popular incumbent Gov. Brian Schweitzer will jump into the Senate race, which could seriously damage GOP hopes of grabbing that seat.
In South Dakota, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s decision to step down at the end of his current term has created an opening for either former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who has declared his candidacy, or second-term GOP Rep. Kristi L Noem, who is flirting with a bid.  Whoever emerges as the GOP nominee is thought to have the upper hand after former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin opted out of the race, leaving long-shot Rick Welland, , a former aide to retired Sen. Tom Daschle, as the likely Democratic nominee.

In WV, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a terrific campaigner, is running and currently holding a lead.  She will have to face a primary opponent from her ideological right.  A series of big-name Democrats have said no, leaving the party without a clear next step in terms of a candidate.
“The party’s problem is getting the right people to run.  “Their recruiting has gone poorly so far in places like Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia.  So, despite having a big map to play offense on, in reality the Republican road appears to be narrowing to the red presidential states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.” ~ Kyle Kondik, University of Virginia Center For Politics

Part of the challenge is to find new faces the party can turn to as it continues to shed the image it had during the Bush administration and to meld tea-party enthusiasm with candidates who bring campaign experience.  To win, Republicans must also offer a compelling and substantive agenda for America's economy, jobs, health care and fiscal situation that attract discerning independents (and the occasional disgruntled Democrats) on whom victory will depend.  The quality of GOP campaigns will matter as well. Republicans must go toe-to-toe with Democrats on ObamaCare, spending, deficits, the president's social agenda and, where appropriate, their opponent's character. But even done effectively, this won't be enough.

There are 34 U.S. Senate seats up for election in 2014. Of those seats, 14 are currently held by Republicans and 20 are held by Democrats.
State                Incumbent
1.     AK              Mark Begich - D
2.     AL              Jeff Sessions – R
3.     AR              Mark Pryor – D
4.     CO              Mark Udall – D
5.     DE              Chris Coons – D
6.     GA              Saxby Chambliss – R    Retiring
7.     HI               Brian Schatz – D
8.     IA               Tom Harkin – D            Retiring
9.     ID               Jim Risch – R
10.                        IL                Dick Durbin – D
11.                        KS              Pat Roberts – R
12.                        KY              Mitch McConnell – R
13.                        LA              Mary Landrieu – D
14.                        MA             William Cowan – D
15.                        ME             Susan Collins – R
16.                        MI               Carl Levin – D               Retiring
17.                        MN             Al Franken – D
18.                        MS              Thad Cochran – R
19.                        MT             Max Baucus – D            Retiring
20.                        NC              Kay Hagan – D
21.                        NE              Mike Johanns – R                   Retiring
22.                        NH              Jeanne Shaheen – D
23.                        NJ               Jeff Chiesa - R               Retiring
24.                        NJ               Frank Lautenberg          Died
25.                        NM             Tom Udall – D
26.                        OK              Jim Inhofe – R
27.                        OR              Jeff Merkley – D
28.                        RI               Jack Reed – D
29.                        SC              Lindsey Graham – R
30.                        SD              Tim Johnson – D           Retiring
31.                        TN              Lamar Alexsnder – R
32.                        TX              John Cornyn – R
33.                        VA              Mark Warner – D
34.                        WV             Jay Rockefeller - D        Retiring
35.                        WY             Mike Enzi – R
* Alabama - Jeff Sessions would be 67 if he runs for re-election. He won by a healthy 26-point margin in 2008.
*Colorado - The headaches continue in Colorado, where the GOP remains without a challenger to Sen. Mark Udall after Rep. Cory Gardner announced this week that he would not run against the vulnerable Democrat.

* Georgia – Saxby Chambliss has opted against running in 2014. In the 2008 general election (with Obama on the ballot), Chambliss topped his Democratic opponent by just 3 points. Neither candidate hit 50%, and in Georgia that means there is a runoff election. In the runoff election held just a month later and without Obama on the ballot, Chambliss won by a comfortable 15-point margin. Until a potential field starts to shape up, this seat will stay in the GOP column.  Georgia will have a big primary but should remain Republican unless a candidate ill-suited for the general election sneaks through the primary.
* Idaho – Jim Risch won by 24-points in 2008 and announced he is running for re-election.
* Kansas – Pat Roberts easily won with 60% of the vote in his last outing and will be safe in this deep red state.
* Kentucky – Mitch McConnell was the lone single-digit victor in 2008, winning by 6-points. But like in Georgia that year, Obama gave Kentucky Democrats a stronger-than-usual boost in votes. McConnell should see a more favorable mid-term electorate.  Mitch McConnell understands that while Kentucky is a Republican presidential stronghold, every state capital office but one is occupied by a Democrat. That's why he's raised more money than any other senator up in 2014.
*Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu hails from a storied political family, but her state's voters chose Mr. Romney by 17.2 points. Republicans are coalescing behind Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is off to an impressive start. 
*Maine – Susan Collins stated in March 2013 she planned on running for another term. While Republicans cheered when her colleague Olympia Snowe retired, that seat immediately became uncompetitive for Republicans. If the GOP wants to win the Senate, Snow will likely be a key factor.  Only one Republican seat is in a state (Maine) that President Obama won by more than 10%.  Maine's Susan Collins is the only GOP incumbent running in an Obama state, but she's personally popular and an effective campaigner. 
* Mississippi – Thad Cochran was first elected in 1978 and he has won every election since by at least 20 points. He will be 76 if he decides to run again in 2014, but either way the seat should be safely Republican.
* Nebraska – Ben Sasse, a former George W Bush administration official the GOP may turn to in hopes of offering voters a fresh face who could keep the seat in its corner.  Mr. Sasse, said he wants to stop the “devastating impact Obamacare implementation will have on Nebraska families and small businesses.  Those who know him seem impressed, but he is largely unknown so there are many opportunities for his candidacy to crash and burn.” ~ John Hibbing, a political-science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

*New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown may challenge freshman Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. He's a ninth generation Granite Stater; she was born in Missouri.  Seeking a challenger to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, the GOP is eyeing former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown. 

*North Carolina, Several Republicans, including the speaker of the state house and the state senate majority leader, could run against freshman Sen. Kay Hagan. North Carolinians elected a GOP governor and big GOP legislative majorities last year.

*New Jersey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker formally announced he's in the race to finish the U.S. Senate term of the late Frank Lautenberg.
* Oklahoma – Jim Inhofe has won 3 straight elections with exactly 57% of the vote. But he will be 80 in 2014. He is safe if he runs again, and the GOP has a number of options if he retires.
* South Carolina – Lindsey Graham won by 16-points in 2008. His name often pops up as a target for a GOP primary challenge given his past and on illegal immigration, climate change, and his role in the “gang of 14” that helped prevent conservative nominees from being nominated to various judicial benches.

* South Carolina Special Election – When Jim DeMint retired to head the Heritage Foundation, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott to the seat. With so many seats to defend themselves, this will probably not be a major target for Democrats.
* Tennessee – Lamar Alexander has announced he will run for re-election after winning by a hefty 32-point margin in 2008.
* Texas – John Cornyn is serving in his second term and should be safe for the GOP whether he runs or not. The Democrats view Julian Castro as their future in Texas and may push him towards a run either here or in the race for Governor.  But Mayor Juli├ín Castro of San Antonio has said he doesn’t think 2014 is the right year for a Democrat.
* Wyoming – Mike Enzi won by 52 points in 2008 and would be a lock should he run again. He would be 70. If he were to retire, Liz Cheney recently moved to Washington and might be interested in competing for the seat.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Loose Lips Might Sink Ships - I Am The 47%

As Forest Gump would say "Stupid Is As Stupid Does."  That's Mitt Romney's story.  Every time he opens his mouth, something dumb and stupid falls out of it.  This collection of facebook posters allows me to tell this story.  The 47% found their voice and tells Mitt Romney that they are not moochers and they will not be voting for him on Election Day.

The firestorm over Romney's remarks has already hurt his standing in swing states.

“I am one of 47%, even though I pay income taxes,” said Michael, a 27-year-old sandwich shop manager in Indianapolis. “I don’t make $100,000 to $250,000 a year that he thinks is middle class. I feel like Romney is so far disconnected from what the average American actually is. It’s like he doesn’t care.”
Michael, who is married to a dog groomer and has a 1-year-old, said he typically votes Republican but can’t get past what he viewed as Romney’s contempt for half the population.
“He was in this room with all these other fat cats just like him and you heard all this snarky laughter from all these guys who have no idea what it’s like to spend 50 or 60 hours a week on your feet, working with your hands, trying to get ahead.
“I don’t want the presidential candidates to be average Americans,” he concluded, “but I at least want them to understand what exactly … I am going through so they don’t look like a ... in front of everyone.” Michael used a word to describe Romney we don’t publish at The Times.

Mitt Romney's '47%' comment alienated voters

Samuel L Jackson says: "Wake the F*** Up!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ann Romney: Stop It! This Is Hard

1    Facebook posters are once again used to tell a story set to the song "I Look To You" by Whitney Houston. Willard Mitt Romney looks to the Koch Bros, Sheldon Adelson and "Mr. Birther" Donald Trump for his campaign finance. He panders to an all white audience and when that doesn't work, he uses wifey Ann Romney. John Boehner cries at the idea of the party falling apart and Ann tells us to "Stop It." Michelle Obama has something to tell Ann.                                                    

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mitt Romney - The History of Romneyhood

A special thanks to all of my friends here on Facebook who spend countless hours making posters.  Your pictures are worth a thousand words.  I hope this video does your work justice.  As activists, we have been telling the Romneyhood story in bits and pieces.    Now, look at that story unfold.     

Mitt Romney Movie 0001 from Jo Ann Brown on Vimeo.

Romney promised he would take a hard line against China over its currency manipulation. He said his response to the United States' losing its share of manufacturing jobs to other countries would be to adopt policies favorable to both manufacturing and as well as engineering and development.
"Some people say, that's fine, we'll just do the engineering and the high end things," Romney said. "But let me tell you, ultimately the engineering and high end things go where the manufacturing is because ideas and engineering are associated with manufacturing. We have to have manufacturing here and my policy will be to bring it back."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

4 Republican Senators Writes Bipartisan Veterans Bill Then Vote NO!

The Veteran Job Corps Act of 2012

Hire The Veteran!
The White House responds:
No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job at home, but Republicans in Washington are blocking a common sense plan to create the Veterans Jobs Corps and put tens of thousands of veterans back to work.

Working with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, the Obama Administration has already made real progress to help veterans find jobs. We passed tax credits to encourage employers to hire veterans and released new tools to connect veterans with employers. And thanks to the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative, more than 2,000 businesses have hired or trained more than 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year. But we can do more and Senate Republicans should not block legislation that includes many of their ideas and stand between veterans and good jobs protecting and preserving America.

What kind of men are they?  The Rachel Maddow Show tell us about 4 Senators who wrote a “Veteran’s Bill designed to put tens of thousands of veterans back to work.  But subsequently turn their backs on U.S. veterans and kill a bill designed to help them.”  

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Just 2 votes short

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It's Always a Bad Idea to Disparage Voters

"And what I said on election night was, even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president." ~ President Obama

"I'm not going to get" votes from Americans who believe government's job is to redistribute wealth." ~Mitt Romney 

A huge swath of the people who don’t pay federal income taxes live in the Deep South or are elderly.

President Obama is unpopular with both groups.

And, both groups will likely vote for Mitt Romney.

"Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him." ~ Bill Kristol

“In 1969, Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr announced that 155 households with incomes over $200,000 paid no income tax. Outrage spawned the birth of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to ensure that rich Americans paid their fair share.  We established the Alternative Minimum Tax to ensure that the rich pay taxes, like the rest of us.  Today we have thousands of millionaires paying no taxes, and this is with the Alternative Minimum Tax in place. If these people are acting legally, then they have every right to lawfully reduce their tax burden. But we worry about all these people who are zeroed out.  There are as many people making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year as there are with incomes in the $20,000s.  One third of the country makesunder $20K. Half the country makes between $20K and $100K. If you report cash income in the triple digits, then congratulations! Your cost-of-living notwithstanding, you're in the top sixth of earners.” 

You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.
But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

Conservatives like the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan continue to question Mitt Romney’s choice of words in discussing the 47 percent.  

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The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.   There’s no way thecountry will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.   

Poetic Justice

Now How Did This Happen?

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Thanks to numerous tax breaks and loopholes, corporations rarely pay the full corporate income tax rates.  Many of the nation’s largest companies are paying little or no federal taxes at all.  Corporations have been paying a lower share of our nation’s total taxes.  Corporate taxes fell from 26.4 percent of total tax revenue in 1950 to just 7.4 percent of total tax revenue in 2010.  During this same period, personal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes increased from 51.4 percent to 83.8 percent of total tax revenue.  A 2011 report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that 78 of 280 of the nation’s largest and most profitable companies paid no federal income taxes in at least one of three years.  

Consider the 76 million people who don't legally owe individual income taxes in 2011 (please, please note: does not include payroll, excise, state and local taxes). The vast majority of this group was poor. They didn't owe individual income taxes because they didn't owe a lot of money to start, and various exemptions, like the earned income.  There are three buckets of factors that can bring taxable income down from $1 million to zero. One is tax tricks. The IRS should crack down more. Two is relying heavily on investments. The administration can try to level taxes for earned income and investment income. Third is great misfortunes. When investments lose significant income, a house or business is destroyed (i.e. a casualty loss), or a family member gets sick and incurs high medical costs for the self-insured, all these things chop away at taxable income and eventually bring a millionaire's income taxes to zero. tax credit, wiped out the rest.  

Mitt Romney’s mother discusses George Romney, his dad, 
being on welfare.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney Insult: Another "No Apology"

So, is this what Mitt Romney discusses in those quiet rooms?  Or, is this a sales pitch to rich campaign donors?   

On May 17th fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., at the  home of investment banker Marc Leder - Romney tells millionaire donors at a closed-door, $50,000-a-person fundraiser what he really thinks of Obama voters.     

Romney’s campaign began letting reporters into his fundraisers in early May, but members of the press aren’t allowed to watch unless he has “prepared remarks.” Romney fundraisers normally include three parts: those who pay $2,500 are admitted to a reception that reporters are allowed to attend.  Those who give more often $25,000 are allowed to have their photo taken with Romney before the event.  At most evening fundraisers, those who donate $50,000 are allowed to attend a dinner where Romney takes questions, often held at the home of a supporter separate from the reception. Reporters are not permitted to watch that portion of fundraisers.  Based on the description of the video posted by Mother Jones, that is where Romney appears to be speaking to guests at an evening fundraiser.  Someone invited to the fundraiser provided the videos--perhaps Romney's comments were too shocking even for some Republicans donors.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.  My job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them.  They should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” ~ Mitt Romney

Finally! The first time I have heard Romney being honest!  The reason this article and these clips are news worthy is because Willard Mitt Romney actually said something he believes. In a moment he thought he was safe he decided to expound on what he really thinks. Fascinating to hear what Willard thinks when he is behind closed doors. For a man who is running to be president of the entire country, there seems to be a large portion of the country he views with disdain.  What I find interesting is not so much what he says, but the way he speaks in the videos. This is the real Mitt – crass, uncaring, borderline sociopathic, dollar driven with little compassion for anyone other than those who are just like him. The condescending tone of the speech is, while not that shocking, at the same time it is alarming.   This is the real Mitt Romney, like him or not. You can hear him speaking very candidly and very comfortable, unlike how he is on the stump or has been throughout the primaries.   Truth is we spend more on corporate welfare than we do on social welfare. If it wasn't for corporate welfare, Bain wouldn't exist.

For those shocked at the claims about the 47% uttered by Romney, this has been a battle cry for the right-wingers for several years.  Romney falsely claimed that 47 percent of all Americans are complete freeloaders is just plainwrong.   Poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes that go toward Medicare and Social Security than in income taxes.   If you're a senior citizen, he was including you. Half of the 47% who don't pay federal income taxes are on social security and don't earn enough to hit the threshold for collecting taxes.  Yes, these households owe no taxes because these households receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.   For all the people who complain about 47% of the people not paying federal income taxes, consider this, they are filing and paying according to the tax rules. They are paying everything they are legally obligated to pay, just like Mitt Romney. It is not their fault that the tax rules are the way they are.  47 percent has become shorthand for the notion that the wealthy face a much higher tax burden than they once did while growing numbers of Americans are effectively on the dole. 

Dr Paul Krugman on Mitt Romney’s statement that 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes and only support President Obama because they want a government handout:  “Many of the people in the no-income tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job – that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future.  The idea that half of Americans are just grafters is grotesque.”
Mitt Romney:  Another “No Apology”

“I am sure I can state it more clearly and effectively than I did in a setting like that,” he told reporters assembled quickly at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts before attending a fundraiser.

Romney said the video didn’t fully capture his views or his entire comments about personal responsibility and the role of government in society.  “I am talking about a political process of drawing people in my campaign. … My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility,” Romney said.  “This is ultimately a question about the direction of the country. Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits? Or do you believe instead in a free-enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?”

I don’t have a prancing pony to deduct from my taxes.  I don't care how much money he has, how many elevators he has for his cars, or what his tax returns says. He simply doesn't understand America enough to be President.  “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” ~ Jim Messina

I found this SNL too funny.  Enjoy!