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Archive for February 2nd, 2012

Politicususa- February 1, 2012

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It is early, but an analysis of state by state polling data reveals that President Obama may be heading for a huge victory over Mitt Romney.

Although President Obama’s polling numbers have been trending upwards for a few months now, the right wing media is claiming that the president is heading for a huge defeat based on a state by state analysis of an average of his 2011 Gallup approval ratings. The analysis assumed that any state where the president has an under 50% job approval rating would go Republican in fall. There are three obvious problems with this conclusion. First, Obama’s national job approval rating is a tick or two under 50%, so that under the right wing analysis, Obama would lose most of the states in the country. Second, what a year long average can’t reflect is that President Obama’s approval ratings are trending up.

Third, President Obama isn’t running for reelection against his own approval rating. He will be running against Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. The more accurate way to measure Obama’s reelection chances is by looking at how he matches up with Mitt Romney in each state. When Obama and Romney are matched up on a state by state basis, guess what? Obama’s huge defeat becomes a huge victory.

For instance the Republican analysis has Obama losing Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, but a PPP poll released today found that President Obama is leading Mitt Romney, 49%-42%. Romney’s favorability rating in the state has fallen to 28%. In North Carolina, the latest PPP poll found that Obama leads Romney by 1 point, 46%-45. A December, a Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania found Obama leading Romney, 46%-43%. The latest Quinnipiac poll of Florida found Obama and Romney tied in Sunshine State, 45%-45%.

The Republican analysis had Mitt Romney getting 323 Electoral College delegates to Obama’s 215, but a January PPP state by state analysis of the head to head match up found the opposite. Obama finished with 337 Electoral College delegates compared to 195 for Mitt Romney.

Relying on an average of 2011 job approval numbers was not accurate way to project an Electoral College map. The general consensus is that if Obama wins any one of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina, he will win reelection. The snapshot of the national mood today suggests that Romney is trending down and Obama could be headed for a big reelection win, but we are still more than nine months out from Election Day.

With so much time before the election, it is foolish to predict any result with certainty, but Republicans see their frontrunner falling apart before their very eyes, so they are doing their best to try to convince America that Obama is heading for a major defeat.

They are living in a delusion, and now they are inventing Electoral College maps to provide themselves comfort in their unreality.

Image: Poz Blogs

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Huff Post – First Posted: 02/ 2/2012  1:25 pm Updated: 02/ 2/2012  5:09 pm

By- John Celock

Arizona could become the next Wisconsin as plans for protests, Capitol sit-ins and a potential effort to recall the governor get underway in an effort by progressives to block the passage of sweeping legislation to ban collective bargaining.

State Democrats and union leaders said that plans are in place to launch Wisconsin-style measures in an effort to block the collective bargaining ban measures currently headed to a vote in the Republican-dominated Senate. Among the plans being considered are rallying large groups of public employees around the Capitol complex in Phoenix, lobbying moderate Republican legislators and potentially exploring a recall campaign against Gov. Jan Brewer (R). With Republicans’ large majorities in both legislative chambers, Democrats believe rallies and public pressure may be the only way to block the passage of the bills.

“You may wake the sleeping giant of Arizona, between attacks on the schools, unions and the Latino population,” state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) said.

Republican lawmakers have proposed bills that would prohibit all public employees — including police and fire personnel — from collectively bargaining, ban the automatic deduction of union dues for public employees and prohibit the compensation of public employees for work done with the union. The bills were approved by the Senate’s government relations committee Wednesday.

“These bills are an all-out assault on workers and the middle class,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira (D-Tempe).

Arizona AFL-CIO Executive Director Rebekah Friend said the unions are currently planning the rallies, but did not give a timeframe for when the events would actually take place. She said the labor movement was prepared for the payroll deduction bill and Brewer’s previous announcements on collective bargaining, but were surprised by the scope of the current bills, including the addition of public safety workers.

“They over-reached this time,” Friend said of the state’s Republican leadership. “The people who have been their friends are against them.”

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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STEPHEN BRAUN  02/ 2/12 02:08 PM ET AP

WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised in 2007 he would shed any investments that conflicted with Republican positions on hot-button domestic and foreign policy issues. But Romney’s family trusts kept some of those holdings and repeatedly bought new ones until 2010, when they were finally sold off for more than $3 million, according to a detailed review of Romney’s financial records by The Associated Press.

Recently disclosed tax returns for three family trust funds for Romney, his wife, Ann, and their adult children show scores of trades in companies whose business operations are inconsistent with Republican Party stances that Romney favors on Iran, China, stem cell research, abortion and other issues.

A Romney campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said the former Massachusetts governor has no control over the investments made by his blind trust, but the trustee has tried to manage the trades “in a manner consistent with Gov. Romney’s publicly expressed positions.”

The continual trading between 2006 and 2010 raises questions about why the investments continued for three years, even after Romney said in 2007 that the trust would sell off any conflicted holdings. Those trades came during a period when Romney has sought to convince voters of his conservative Republican values. The trades also raise questions about whether any of the transactions were vetted for possible conflicts or political perception before they were made.

“Financially, these would seem to be completely legitimate investments,” said Thomas B. Cooke, a professor of business law at Georgetown University and former president of the National Society of Tax Professionals. “But for someone running for president, there’s also a smell test.”

Romney’s spokeswoman would not respond to questions about the timing or vetting of his investments in his blind trust. She said, however, that the lawyer running the trust occasionally makes adjustments in holdings with Romney’s positions in mind.

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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TPM Muckraker- Nick R. Martin

February  2, 2012, 11:47 AM

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) launched a special fundraising political action committee in October, pledging to use the money to fight illegal immigration and take on other issues she believes in. But based on financial disclosures filed this week, she has so far used it to do little more than buy copies of her own book.

The governor had raised only about $22,000 for Jan PAC by the end of 2011 and spent nearly a quarter of the cash buying books from Amazon and paying a bill at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel in Orlando, Fla. The rest of the money is still in the bank.

Brewer spent $3,423 on books and shipping from the online retailer, according to the financial reports. On her fundraising website, she offers a signed copy of her book “Scorpions for Breakfast” to every donor who gives $100 or more.

In early December she also spent $624 for a night at the swank Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, which her financial disclosures repeatedly misspell as “Orlanda.” Another $513 went to airfare on Southwest Airlines.

A message left for representatives of Jan PAC was not returned.

In October, the governor launched the PAC with several goals: fighting illegal immigration, defeating the president’s healthcare plan, creating jobs and reducing the size of government.

The financial disclosures represent a time before Brewer’s now famous encounter with President Obama on an airport runway in Phoenix last week. Sales of “Scorpions for Breakfast” spiked on Amazon after the event and the governor used her renewed notoriety to encourage people to donate to Jan PAC.

Among the donors revealed in the financial disclosures were former US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, who lives in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria and gave $250, and wealthy real estate developer Mike Ingram, who gave $1,000.

Brewer’s final term as governor ends in 2014 and she has not said whether she plans to run for another office after that.

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Think Progress- By Josh Israel  on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

In recent years, billionaire oil magnates David and Charles Koch have bankrolled the Tea Party movement, Republican candidates, and efforts to deny the existence global warming.  But less noticed have been their series of twice-yearly strategy coordination meetings for wealthy right-wing donors.  These secret confabs have attracted Republicans like Govs. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as former Fox News Channel talker Glenn Beck, Supreme Court JusticesAntonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and executives from the oil, banking, and health insurance industries.

The most recent meeting attracted two newcomers: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.  Between them, the Las Vegas casino-owner and his wife have reportedly plowed $10 million into a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC and have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican party committees and candidates already this cycle.

A Center for Public Integrity report suggests this may just be the beginning:

Adelson has recently indicated strong interest in backing other GOP allied groups, say fundraisers familiar with his giving. In 2010, Adelson wrote a seven figure check to Crossroads GPS, a non-profit advocacy group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors publicly which was co-founded by GOP super consultants Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

The story quotes unnamed fundraisers “familiar with Adelson,” the American Crossroads super PAC and the 501(c)(4) Crossroads GPS, as expecting Adelson to “pump a few million dollars more” into one of the Crossroads groups this year, to help defeat President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. They also say Adelson is also considering writing a check to the American Action Network, former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)’s non-profit, to help preserve the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

Between the Kochs and the Adelsons, voters around the country should expect to see what voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida have seen in recent weeks: a seemingly unending stream of dishonest attack ads, paid for by billionaire-funded super PACs and tax-exempt organizations.

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Think Progress- By Pat Garofalo  on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

Back in November, the Occupy Wall Street movement inspired “Bank Transfer Day,” a day for Americans fed up with the actions of the nation’s biggest banks to move their money to a different institution. Initial estimates of the impact of Bank Transfer Day placed the number of accounts moved at around 600,000, but later estimates revised that downward to around 200,000.

However, new estimates from Javelin Strategy and Research, a research and consulting firm, show that the original numbers were closer to the truth. Javelin found that 5.6 million people have moved their bank accounts in the last 90 days, with 610,000 citing Bank Transfer Day as their reason:

Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy Movement have received tremendous attention, and for the first time we have market research data to measure the impact on the financial services industry. Javelin’s research estimates that 5.6 million U.S. adults with a banking relationship changed providers in the past 90 days. Of those switchers, 610,000 US adults (or 11% of the 5.6 million) cited Bank Transfer Day as their reason and actually moved their accounts from a large to a small institution.

Javelin noted that this pace of account closing is three times the normal rate. While 11 percent of people moving their accounts cited Bank Transfer Day, one quarter said they moved their money because their old institution charged too many fees. Account closures at Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank, actually jumped 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, potentially driven by the bank’s ill-fated decision to implement a $5 monthly fee for its debt cards.

According to the consulting firm cg42, the nation’s 10 biggest banks could lose as much as $185 billion in deposits this year due to customer defections. Of those banks, “Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits.” (HT: Business Insider)

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Wall Street Executives Thrive Under Obama But Still Won’t Support Him

Huff Post- First Posted: 01/30/2012  4:43 pm Updated: 02/ 2/2012  8:48 am

By- Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON — They bristled when he called them “fat cats.” They fought every step of the way, unsuccessfully, to prevent his financial reform bill from becoming law. And some who supported him in 2008 are now throwing their money at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

But for all their grumbling, Wall Street executives have fared exceptionally well under President Barack Obama. In fact, some of Wall Street’s highest earners are making as much now, if not more, than they did under President George W. Bush.

Take Wells Fargo president and CEO John Stumpf. He made $18.9 million in 2010, compared to $21.3 million in 2009, $13.8 million in 2008 and $12.6 million in 2007. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has also watched his paychecks fatten over the past three years: He took home $20.8 million in 2010, compared to $1.3 million in 2009 (when some bank executives took a pay cut because of the financial crisis), $19.7 million in 2008 and $27.8 million in 2007.

The list goes on. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein made $14.1 million in 2010, compared to $862,657 in 2009, $1.1 million in 2008 and $70.3 million in 2007. Bank of America president and CEO Brian Moynihan earned $10 million in 2010, compared to his predecessor Ken Lewis, who made $4.2 million in 2009, $9.9 million in 2008 and $24.8 million in 2007.

Even Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup who worked for two years for just $1 a year as a symbolic gesture after the financial crisis, was awarded a $23.2 million retention package in May 2011.

MORE HERE

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