Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Yale Climate Opinion Maps.

Outstanding look at various opinions on global warming, as collected by various political/geographic entities.

I’d be interested to see this data weighted by income.  My assumption is that, if we did so, opinions would be very much tilted *against* the notion that this is happening.

My assumption goes that way because the legislature goes that way…so there’s the logic behind the illogical.

 

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Romney Stays True to Form, Blames Obama’s Habit of Helping People for Winning a Democratic Election

CNN Political Ticker 

“What the president, president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote,” Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.

Romney, who lost to Obama by 126 electoral votes, said the president courted voters by offering policies — some of them this election year — that appealed to key constituencies.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” Romney said, according to The New York Times. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women,” he continued. “And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.” The president’s health care reform plan, he added, also brought out support from African Americans and Hispanic voters.

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

Looks like Romney being “completely wrong” about his comments on the 47% were themselves completely wrong.  The sad fact here is that I don’t think Romney gets that his “I’ll give you a 20% tax cut that doesn’t affect the deficit” was his own cynical attempt at “buying” the electorate….by advocating policies he thought were right for the country.

This GOP notion that the entirety of the Obama electorate, or even a sizable portion of it, just wants free stuff, is what is costing the GOP support.  It’s a foolish notion, based on bloviating talkers on the radio, that was never based on any objective reality.  It’s always been a subjective opinion.  And a fairly unpopular one.

I think the thing that threw the GOP pollsters and faithful off was the this notion that the U.S. is a “conservative” nation (based on polls like this).  They think that because twice as many people self-identify as “conservative”, they are therefore going to be Republicans.  But when asked to self-identify, we find a greater number of people find themselves to be Democrats.

This is the GOP-Disconnect.  Yes, many more Americans consider themselves to be conservative rather than liberal.  But we also find more Americans consider themselves to be Democrats than Republicans.

Conclusion…Republicans assuming all Democrats are liberals is just flat out wrong.  Republicans assuming all Democratic voters are just poor commies wanting free stuff are just wrong.

Until the GOP (and more importantly, their loudest media representatives) can come to terms with this disconnect, expect more “candid” comments like the ones Romney made…it’s what the GOP faithful truly believe…and it’s just not true.

 

Even Fox News calling B.S. on “Ryan Math”

Paul Ryan To Fox News: ‘I Don’t Have The Time’ To Explain How We Will Pay For Our Tax Plan |ThinkProgress
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/09/30/931121/paul-ryan-to-fox-news-i-dont-have-the-time-to-explain-how-we-will-pay-for-our-tax-plan/?mobile=wp

WALLACE: So how much would it cost?

RYAN: It’s revenue neutral…

WALLACE: No no, I’m just talking about cuts. We’ll get to the deductions, but the cut in tax rates.

RYAN: The cut in tax rates is lowering all Americans’ tax rates by 20 percent.

WALLACE: Right, how much does that cost?

RYAN: It’s revenue neutral. […]

WALLACE: But I have to point out, you haven’t given me the math.

RYAN: No, but you…well, I don’t have the time. It would take me too long to go through all of the math. But let me say it this way: you can lower tax rates by 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class. For things like charitable deductions, for home purchases, for health care. So what we’re saying is, people are going to get lower tax rates.

$200,000/yr = Mitt Romney’s conception of where the middle class starts

The Associated Press: Romney: ‘Middle-income’ is $200K to $250K and less

“No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers,” Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.

“Is $100,000 middle income?” Stephanopoulos asked. “No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less,” Romney responded.

No wonder this guy makes $10,000 bets at the drop of a hat. Everyone knows that’s like a normal two-week paycheck for middle class folks.

Big Oil profits from high gas prices lead to attacks on Obama about high gas prices…sponsored by Big Oil

Fossil Fuel Industry Opens Wallet to Defeat Obama – NYTimes.com 

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

“Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled,” said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. “Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.”

Wasn’t Citizens United AWESOME?

Now our most powerful and wealthy corporate “people” can dominate the political landscape in a truly Randian paradise. We’re almost there, just another few years of tax cuts, attacks on unions, and a few more years of high gas prices and the future residents of Galt’s Gulch will finally have the firm grasp on the reins of power they’ve always known they should have.

 

GOP does nothing for employment for two years, immedialy blames Fed chairman for doing *his* job

Why Is the GOP So Furious at Ben Bernanke? – Atlantic Mobile 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t care about Capitol Hill or campaign-trail bullies. He has said repeatedly as the central bank has come under a political magnifying glass this year: The Fed bases its decisions on economics, not politics. On Thursday, the Fed chairman backed up that assertion with action.

The central bank acted boldly this week–about as boldly as it could have, kicking off an open-ended round of bond-buying, extending its commitment to keep short-term interest rates low, and pledging to do even more if the labor market doesn’t improve “substantially.”

The Fed has two goals, full employment and low inflation. Right now inflation in under control, employment is not. Had the GOP done something to improve the employment situation rather than try to make political hay out of it, we might not need the easing.

As it stands, it seems evident someone needs to do something. With the GOP blocking everything else, this is about the only rational way to make some progress.

Post RNC-Mid DNC Desktop Clearing Link Dump

Let’s get this stuff out of here…another backlog of articles that were interesting but didn’t find the time…

First up, we start in conservative media fantasy-land.

THR: Does the media tie mistakes made by Democrats to President Obama as readily as they tie Republican mistakes to Romney?

Wallace: Yes, the mainstream media is terribly unfair to Obama, and they have to stop their bias in favor of Romney.

[Note: the funny part…Wallace was joking…and doesn’t consider the network that got the highest ratings for the RNC to be part of the mainstream media.]

Next up we see what is driving ratings for Fox News.

From : Fear of a Black President

Obama is not simply America’s first black president—he is the first president who could credibly teach a black-studies class. He is fully versed in the works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X. Obama’s two autobiographies are deeply concerned with race, and in front of black audiences he is apt to cite important but obscure political figures such as George Henry White, who served from 1897 to 1901 and was the last African American congressman to be elected from the South until 1970. But with just a few notable exceptions, the president had, for the first three years of his presidency, strenuously avoided talk of race.

Next we move onto folks in black-face being using as political props…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

We need to develop a “canary in the convention” that falls over dead when the b.s. gets too deep.

Speaking of b.s. at the convention, here’s the Rolling Stone piece that looks a bit deeper into how Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital made its start, and how it was saved in the early years by a taxpayer bailout.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he 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.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz25c4gDbu1

In the background, quietly crying, you’ll find our environment.

Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.

It also appears that Paul Ryan is quickly creating lots of jobs in various fact-checking departments…

•Accused President Obama‘s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.

•Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

•Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.

•Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.

•Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.

And there’s more….

The next statement Ryan made was that in 1980 “330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy. Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses field for bankruptcy.”

This is not true. According to American Bankruptcy Institute, under Carter 331,264 businesses and non-businesses filed for bankruptcy. That number includes not just businesses, but personal bankruptcies as well. In 1980, there were 43,694 business bankruptcies and 287, 570 non-business bankruptcies.

Ryan also got it wrong with regard to the number of business bankruptcies last year. In 2011, there were 1, 410, 653 total bankruptcies. Of that number 47,806 were business bankruptcies and 1,362,847 were non-business bankruptcies.

and just to keep it in perspective, Paul Ryan is being sold as the gold standard in Republican honesty and integrity when it comes to numbers.  Really.

Here’s a bit of the “liberal” media conspiracy…in that we have an actual liberal calling out the media for keeping certain things from the eyes of the public.

When Mitt Romney walked down the aisle toward the stage Thursday night, among the people whose hands he shook was the conservative billionaire and major political donor David Koch. But it was a moment missed by the tens of millions of viewers at home. While Democracy Now! was there on the floor and captured the handshake on video, the networks cut away just before the handshake to show footage of two enthusiastic young women supporters and then an overhead shot of the convention center.

You can even see Mitt’s face light up when he sees the Koch.

Heading back to that Rolling Stone story about how firms like Bain avoid paying taxes on their income…the NY State Attorney General (the one after the whore-monger) is now looking into the practice of treating wealthy and connected people’s labor as if it were capital (and thus getting a 20% tax break, from 35% down to 15%).

The New York attorney general is investigating whether some of the nation’s biggest private equity firms have abused a tax strategy in order to slice hundreds of millions of dollars from their tax bills, according to executives with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has in recent weeks subpoenaed more than a dozen firms seeking documents that would reveal whether they converted certain management fees collected from their investors into fund investments, which are taxed at a far lower rate than ordinary income.

According to financial statements, Bain partners saved more than $200 million in federal income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.

[full story]

Thus goes the “secret to his success”.

And finally we see a Business Insider story that hits the nail on the head.

Lots of things are wrong with the economy, but the main problem can be summed up with two simple facts:

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

The following charts clearly illustrate that problem.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-ford-salary-increase-2012-8#ixzz25cGRYdou

I repeat…

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

This is the natural results of 30+ years of supply-side economics.

History of Supply Side Experiment

Here we see the real world effect of “supply side” economics.

And there you have it.  Links dumped.

Oh…one final note…it appears that some of the rich, if eaten, might actually sustain us for a while.  Just a thought…

Just in case you were beginning to think rich people were deeply misunderstood and that they feel the pain of those who are less fortunate, here’s the world’s wealthiest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, with some helpful advice.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Yeah, let them eat cake.

Rinehart made her money the old-fashioned way: She inherited it. Her family iron ore prospecting fortune of $30.1 billion makes her Australia’s wealthiest person and the richest woman on the planet.

 

I guess using every tax avoidance loophole in history is “hard work”, but doesn’t it disqualify one from being realistically considered for public service?

Washington Post 

“Carried interest was intended to motivate managers going forward,” said Victor Fleischer, an expert in carried interest at the University of Colorado law school. “In cases like the Romneys, it just shows it is really all about fancy tax planning. It’s not motivating managers going forward.  Not only is Mitt not providing any future services, Ann never did.”

In recent years, the carried-interest deduction has proved controversial on Capitol Hill. There have been several unsuccessful efforts to eliminate the tax break, which critics say improperly treats profits like capital gains, and tax these earnings as ordinary income at 35 percent.

Some tax experts worry that the arrangements Romney benefits from set a bad precedent for a president. “He looks for every tax angle to a degree that is unbecoming in someone who would be the executive in command of the administrative apparatus that enforces the tax law,” said Lee Sheppard, a tax lawyer and contributing editor for Tax Analysts, a publication for accounting and legal professionals.

Only the rich and connected get to treat their labor as if it were capital (and thus get a 50%+ “motivational” tax break) . This is *the* problem, not a solution.

I’d love to see this kind of spending stopped immediately

Where have all the protesters gone?
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/02/politics/rnc-protest-vermin-supreme/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

“This RNC has been so over-militarized, even attendees were complaining about the level of security,” said sociology professor Sarah Sobieraj. “They were ready with everything — unscalable fences, bomb-sniffing dogs, even long-range acoustic devices, which are nasty.”

The unmistakable message to the protesters: Don’t mess with Tampa.

“It is clear that these extreme measures were not intended to prevent a terrorist attack, they were for protesters,” Sobieraj added. “There has been a shift toward a criminalization of dissent that is a real problem.”

Looks like they spent about $50,000,000 between the city and the Feds.  Up to and including those freaky-ass acoustic deterrents.  I guess it really is the 21st century.  Hrmmm..

Romney revives tax discussion with admission of tax avoiding history and expertise

Romney Says Corporations Familiar With ‘Low-Tax Havens’ – Businessweek 

The newly released Bain records show that Romney took advantage of investments with the firm that achieved a low tax rate, for example, by engaging in what are known as management- fee conversions or fee waivers. Bain Capital Fund VII LP disclosed in a 2009 report that the general partner in the fund had in the past waived management fees and converted those fees into an interest in the fund called a “priority profit share.” That had the effect of turning fees that would be taxed at ordinary income rates, as high as 35 percent, into capital gains, taxed at a rate of 15 percent.

So by using this loophole he is essentially cutting his tax rate from 35% to 15%.   A 20% reduction.   Considering he made $20M last year, 15% is $3m.  35% is $7M.   So he is getting a roughly $4m/yr tax loophole.

Multiple this by 10 years, and you find the $40M he used to run for President in 2008.  You’ll also find that the U.S. ran a budget deficit this whole time, so a good portion of Mitt’s tax loophole money was replaced with borrowed from China money.

The thing about this is…it only takes 300,000 people paying that extra $4M/yr to make up our $1,200,000,000,000/yr deficit.

300,000,000 million people in the country, divided by 300,000…is the top 0.1%.  I.e. the top 10% of the top 1%.

In 2005 (seven years ago), the top 0.1% averaged nearly $1.7M each.

So while closing this loophole doesn’t completely close our budget gap in and of itself, it closes a good portion of it…and does so in a responsible manner.

Right now we are borrowing from the wealthy to pay our bills rather than taxing them.  The same folks are then turning around and using that money to “job create….” in the sense that Mitt Romney is using that money to run for President…again (he took the $17m he spent in 2008 as a loss on a personal loan to himself on his 2009 tax returns…one would assume…since he is hiding them and it makes sense to do so).

Far from being the petty thoughts of small minds, wondering how much folks like Mitt pay in taxes, and how they have avoided them in a very relevant discussion in 2012…at least if anyone knows how math works.

When does Paul Ryan support multiple stimuli and sending free money to every American? Take a wild guess…

Paul Ryan Defended Stimulus — When George W. Bush Wanted It In 2002 (VIDEO) – The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/08/19/paul-ryan-bush-stimulus_n_1803761.html?icid=hp_politics_art_more

“What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” Ryan said, in comments unearthed by MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” and provided to HuffPost. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they’ve passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work.”

Paul Ryan…actually a perfect fit for Mitt on the “Blatant Hypocrisy 2012” Ticket

After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.

Ryan had denied doing so as recently as Wednesday, when he spoke to ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, in Ohio.

“I never asked for stimulus,” Mitt Romney’s new running mate said. “I don’t recall… so I really can’t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work.”

“I’m not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money,” the congressman answered.

In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce “energy consumption” in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.


Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.

“After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,” Ryan said in a statement. “This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.

“Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

via Presented With Letters, Ryan Admits Requesting Stimulus Cash – ABC News.

[all emphasis added]

So you see…despite him claiming not to have requested funds…he actually did…and despite him claiming it was  failure…it actually helped create jobs in his district.

Then…he turns around and claims he didn’t remember doing this becausehe wrote those letters a regular, concerned citizen…not as a Representative of the United States.

See…ta-da!    Issue retroactively retired.

UPDATE: As suspected…he issued these “concerned, regular, citizen” requests on Congressional letterhead.