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Bloomberg

By Michael C. Bender –  Jun 21, 2012 1:46 PM MT

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won’t undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

“This is one of those situations where you could have it both ways and there’s enough truth in it that it would resonate,” Stipanovich said. “It would be better if everybody was singing from the same hymnal.”

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Rolling Stone feature discusses issues explored in The American Ruling Class

facebook July 16, 2009

by Alive Mind

The American Ruling Class has never been more relevant to the current news cycle or to the collective consciousness of the American public. Goldman Sachs is announcing record profits and it is the subject of a big Rolling Stone expose in which Matt Taibbi discusses “The Great American Bubble Machine,” stating, “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Does Goldman Sachs still rule the world? Find out the back story with the feature documentary, The American Ruling Class.

John Kirby , the director for this film, also posts on the Providence Journal and has done an article on “Building What”. The ad and “Geraldo-at-Large” spot can be seen on the family-members’ campaign Web site, .buildingwhat.org.

The movie, about an hour and a half, can be seen on HULU

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Senate Jobs Bill Vote Passed

ANDREW TAYLOR | 02/24/10 12:27 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — Companies that hire the unemployed would claim new tax breaks under a jobs-promoting bill the Senate passed Wednesday, delivering President Barack Obama and Democrats a much-needed victory.

The 70-28 vote sends the bill back to the House, which passed a far more costly measure in December. Many in the House consider the Senate bill too puny, but they may simply adopt it and send it to Obama in order to get a win. Democratic leaders promise more so-called jobs bills are on the way.

It’s the first major bill to pass the Senate since the Christmas Eve passage of a deeply controversial health care bill and the subsequent election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, which rocked Democrats by demonstrating their falling standing even among heavily Democratic voters.

The bill contain two major provisions. First, it would exempt businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and give them an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year. The Social Security trust funds would be reimbursed for the lost revenue.

Second, it would extend highway and mass transit programs through the end of the year and pump $20 billion into them in time for the spring construction season. The money would make up for lower-than-expected gasoline tax revenues.

The Senate’s $35 billion proposal is a far smaller measure than the $862 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago.

The measure cleared a key hurdle Monday when Brown and four other Republicans broke party ranks to defeat a filibuster. Republican leaders said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had used strong-arm tactics to bring the measure to the floor.

In all, 13 Republicans voted for the measure Wednesday. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Democrat in opposition.

Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, blasted the measure for increasing the budget deficit to fund highway and transit programs. He said the measure made a joke of Democratic promises to adhere to “pay-as-you-go” budget rules requiring new spending programs to not increase the deficit.

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Jobs Bill VOTE: GOP Filibuster Fails As Scott Brown And Others Break With Party

Huff Po- Ryan Grim  First Posted: 02-22-10 04:44 PM   |   Updated: 02-22-10 07:40 PM

Scott Brown was in and out of the Senate chamber and had voted against his party before most of his colleagues had even arrived.

“It’s a small step, but it’s still a step,” Brown told reporters after casting a procedural vote in favor of the Democratic jobs bill, bucking his party leaders and the strategy of opposition they have carried out since President Obama took office.

For Senate Democrats, it was much bigger step. Four Republicans followed Brown’s lead, giving the jobs legislation 62 votes, two more than needed to cut off a GOP filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thanked the newly-elected Republican from Massachusetts. “I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate. Whether this new day was created by the new Senator from Massachusetts or some other reason, I’m very, very happy that we were able to get this done. But there are some winners. Not any individual Senator, not Democrats or Republicans. The winners are small business people throughout this country.”

Brown was followed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who was followed by her home state GOP colleague Olympia Snowe.

Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who are retiring, also backed the bill.

Voinovich’s vote came after he was given an assurance from Reid that the surface transportation reauthorization bill that Voinovich prizes will be given high priority.

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It seems like just yesterday that Republicans, wingnuts and teabaggers suffered a collective schizoid embolism over the passage and signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

One year ago today, the president signed the bill amidst protestations from Fox News, talk radio and Rick Santelli about how the “porkulus” spending bill wouldn’t work — how it wouldn’t stimulate economic growth or create jobs. It was called generational theft, socialism, communism, Nazism and any other -ism that could be quickly plucked from the glossary of Glenn Beck’s fifth grade social studies textbook.

Nearly all Republican members of Congress voted against it — the first shot in their “trash and cash” strategy whereby they screech about the evil stimulus and how it’s an unmitigated catastrophe, while also gleefully celebrating the incoming cash in their districts, scores of Republican lawmakers outright begging various cabinet-level agencies for stimulus grant money. In all, 111 members of Congress have engaged in this hypocrisy. One of many reasons why they’re consistent only in their unapologetic self-contradictions.

And, at the end of the day, they can get away with it because of annoyingly common misconceptions about the bill. Chief among these misconceptions is the mixing up of the stimulus and the bailout. A recent CNN poll shows that only 25 percent of Americans think the stimulus helped the middle class, while a majority think it helped bankers. Of course the stimulus had nothing to do with bankers.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland: “It’s possible that the belief that the stimulus bill helped bankers and CEOs is due to the public confusing the stimulus bill with the various bailout bills that were passed at roughly the same time last year.”

So let’s clear this up.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is “the stimulus.” Those signs you see along the highway just before driving onto super-smooth new asphalt? That’s the stimulus. The recovery act. When you hear “stimulus,” it references this $787 billion spending bill, and it contains the following key provisions.

(more…)

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Obama State Of The Union Speech Will Focus On Economy

BEN FELLER | 01/27/10 09:49 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — Facing a divided Congress and a dissatisfied nation, President Barack Obama will unveil a jobs-heavy agenda in his State of the Union address Wednesday, retooling his message more than his mission.

His goal: Get the economy, the confidence of voters and his own presidency on surer footing.

Obama will offer fresh details about how he wants to salvage an overhaul of health care, rein in the national debt and help businesses hire again. He will call for education reform and more money for schools, take responsibility for mistakes in his first year and follow up his speech with a dash to Florida to announce $8 billion in awards for high-speed rail.

Two themes will underpin the entire address – reassuring millions of Americans that he understands their struggles and convincing people that he is working to change Washington even as he finds himself working within its old political ways.

Yet for all the new wrinkles he offers, Obama’s moment will be measured largely by how well he reconnects with the public.

“In this political environment, what I haven’t always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people,” Obama conceded to an interviewer last week. This is his chance – speeches like this one can draw 30 million to 50 million viewers, sometimes more.

The White House knows the 9 p.m. EST address has enormous stakes. Obama rode a tide of voter frustration into office and now is getting smacked by it himself.

Change is working against him.

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>>>FULL TEXT HERE<<<

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Watch Obama Live: Streaming Video, Twitter Reaction

The Huffington Post
First Posted: 10-31-08 12:49 PM   |   Updated: 12- 8-09 10:31 AM

Whenever President Obama is speaking publicly, you’ll find live streaming video on this page, along with latest Twitter commentary from reporters and pundits.

VIDEO HERE

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Obama Jobs Speech: Help For Small Businesses, Transportation, Energy-Efficient Homes

PHILIP ELLIOTT | 12/ 8/09 12:02 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama outlined major new government stimulus and jobs proposals on Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to “spend our way out of this recession.”

Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.

“We avoided the depression many feared,” Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. But, he added, “Our work is far from done.”

For the third time in a week, Obama sought to focus on job creation, noting that the jobless rate continues in double digits and that “a staggering” 7 million Americans have lost jobs since the recession began in December 2007.

While his proposal did not include the kind of direct federal public works jobs that were created in the 1930s, he said government could set the stage for more job creation by private businesses.

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Obama In Allentown, Pa. To Discuss Jobs, Economy

AP/Huffington Post
First Posted: 12- 4-09 10:46 AM   |   Updated: 12- 4-09 12:00 PM

President Obama travels to Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday to discuss jobs and the economy, one day after his jobs summit in Washington, D.C. and in the wake of news that unemployment decreased slightly last month. He is speaking at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

“This is good news, just in time for the season of hope,” Obama said. “But I want to keep this in perspective. We’ve still got a long way to go. I consider one job lost one job too many.”

The full remarks as prepared for delivery:

It is good to be back in the Lehigh Valley. It’s been about a year and a half since I last visited Allentown and Bethlehem when I was running for this office. And while it was a pleasure to be here as a candidate, it is an honor to be here as your President.

Pennsylvania, you helped put me in office. But even on the most trying days, I want you to know that I’m grateful – grateful for the opportunity to serve you in these challenging times for America; and grateful for this chance to get out of Washington and spend the day in the Lehigh Valley, talking with folks about this very tough economy.

I’ve just come from Allentown Metal Works, where I had a chance to visit with workers there. They were working hard – and not just to forge the heavy machinery that makes this country run. Like so many others across America, they’ve been doing the best they can to stay afloat in a brutal recession that has hit folks like them hardest of all.

In the two years since this recession began, too many members of our American family have felt the gut punch of a pink slip. Eight million Americans have lost their jobs. Every one of us knows someone who has been swept up by this storm: neighbors who have lost their homes or their health care; friends who have used up their savings and put off their retirement; relatives who have downscaled their dreams – or dropped them entirely.

I’ve heard these stories in every corner of America, and I see them in the letters I read each night.

So as we come to the end of this very tough year, I want to do something I haven’t had a chance to do often during my first year in office; and that is to share some encouraging news on our economy.

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I seldom cross-post from Reconstitution, but this is important enough that I would like to get it as much attention as I can give it.

Many of us have been screaming for YEARS that we are killing people in the name of “free” trade, and the pollution and deprivation it visits upon the underdeveloped world. It appears that maybe some of that is coming back to visit us, with a vengeance.

One of my main criticisms of “free” trade as practiced by American corporatists is the willful blind-eye we turn to what these corporations do to the countries they offshore our jobs to. They willfully subcontract work to firms that are more or less (and sometimes EXACTLY, as in the case of KBR) slaveholders. But there is so much more that “free” trade brings to other countries, in the form of toxic pollution that would never be tolerated in most Western countries (except for Texas, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alabama, of course.)

The President promised to address the environmental tsunami that NAFTA turned loose on Mexico, and then he backed off, after some pressure from American corporatists who are interested in nothing but profits. Without a doubt, some of those who pressured the President happen to be corporate “factory” farmers, who can find dealing with the waste that animal husbandry produces to be difficult, to say the least. In Mexico, of course, they’ve never had to worry about any of that; they’ve turned vast swaths of Mexico into toxic wastelands, without regard for either the population near where they set up shop, or the environment.

Do you suppose that maybe NOW, the President might consider actually keeping that promise?

Sewage-filled lagoons at a pig farm in eastern Mexico – a product of the North American free trade deal – are suspected of creating ground zero conditions for swine flu in this country.

Environmentalists argue lax regulations in the factory farming that boomed in Mexico right after the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and the U.S. are making people sick – and not just with swine flu.

“You might call this the `NAFTA flu,'” said Rick Arnold, co-ordinator of Common Frontiers, a Canadian coalition focusing on Latin America and issues of economic integration.

He argues multinationals are getting away with dire conditions not allowed north of the border.

Environmental groups three years ago began protesting against operations at the Carroll Farms in Veracruz, jointly operated by U.S. pork giant Smithfield Farms.

The first confirmed case of swine flu originated with a 5-year-old boy from the town of La Gloria, near the farm. He recovered.

Medical officials have not pinpointed where the outbreak began.

And from its Virginia headquarters, Smithfield officials insist there is no evidence linking their operations to the disease.

Smithfield Farms, the world’s largest pork producer with $12 billion in annual sales, opened Carroll Farms in 1994, calling it a “joint venture.

At home, the company was fined $12.6 million (U.S.) in 1997 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed it was dumping raw pig sewage into a river flowing into Chesapeake Bay.

The health ministry, which earlier said 168 people were believed killed by swine flu in Mexico, yesterday would confirm only 12 of those deaths as being from swine flu and would not say how many more cases were suspected.

The air in Mexico City, once called the “most polluted” by the World Health Organization, is loaded with human fecal matter, gases, dust and other toxic materials.

“The pollution affects our eyes, throats and lungs,” said Dr. Erendira Gallardo Lobera, a general practitioner. She said the Mexican government should take stronger measures to ensure residents of the capital aren’t breathing in rat and dog feces with their oxygen.

For 30 years, the proponents of “free” trade have been extolling its many wonders. Among those wonders are a steady slide in Western living standards, small farmers in much of the developing world driven to suicide, slavery, pollution… and now, brand new (and lethal) diseases.

What’s not to LOVE about “free” trade?

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Well, as you probably already know, Fox News makes me feel like losing my groceries, but I had to show this video attack on Congressman Alan Grayson. This repulsive dude, Neil Cavuto, is attempting to take on the appearance of authority to trick him into giving him an absolute number on an argument that doesn’t really call for anything but a relative example.

What Alan is dealing with here is known as The “Cavuto mark”. Following a satirical segment proposing it on The Daily Show on September 13, 2006, the word “Cavuto” is sometimes used to refer to a question mark “used to turn any statement, no matter how outrageous, into a simple, seemingly fair, question.”

Barney Frank: “This is presumably a psychological disorder”

Huffington Post

April fools day, 2009

House Republicans did their best Wednesday to battle Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on the House floor and wound up on the receiving end of some classic Frank jabs.

The bill at issue, authored by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), would cap executive compensation at bailed-out financial institutions and it puts the GOP in a tough spot: after expressing outrage over the AIG bonuses, it’s tough to vote against the bill.

In announcing their opposition, Republicans such as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) took to the floor to decry the fact that the stimulus allowed the bonus payments to be made. They excoriated Democrats for not reading the full stimulus bill but said they objected to the bill on the floor that would fix the loophole that had been in the stimulus.

Frank had a field day with it.

“This is really extraordinary,” he said. “What you have just heard is a denunciation of something the Congress did a few weeks ago and a refusal to undo it. I’ve never seen people, Mr. Chairman, so attached to something they hate. This is presumably a psychological disorder which I am not equipped to diagnose. The objection of the gentleman from Texas was that when the recovery bill was passed, it was passed too quickly [and it] included a provision that shouldn’t have been in there. This bill takes it out.”

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