As Mitt Romney spoke at a campaign rally in Virginia on Thursday, a protester began shouting, “What about climate? That's what caused this monster storm!” The protester, holding a sign that said “END CLIMATE SILENCE,” was escorted out, as the crowd booed and broke out into chants of 'USA, USA.' Romney looked on with an odd, half-smirk on his face.
Undeterred by the interruption, Mitt Romney urged the crowd in Doswell, Virginia to back his bid for the White House, saying he was the candidate offering to take the country in a new direction.
"I don't believe status quo is the right course for America, I believe that America finally needs real change. It was promised and we are going to give it to the American people," he said.
"We are going to give it to the American people," yeah, that's what we're afraid of, Mitt.
Mitt Romney has stated publicly that he likes being able to fire people. But Big Bird? Yes Big Bird was put on notice, as was the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer of PBS and the entire PBS network.
Debate moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS asked each candidate to describe the difference between his plan to attack the deficit and his opponent’s.
“I’m glad you raised that,” Romney said. “I think it’s frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing that those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation. They’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives, and the amount of debt we’re adding -- at a trillion a year -- is simply not moral.”
Cutting the deficit, said Romney, can be done by cutting taxes, cutting spending and growing the economy. And finally, after being accused continually of failing to give specifics about things like which loopholes he would close in the tax code to offset the tax reductions he’d like to make, Romney spelled out some cuts he’d enforce. “Obamacare is on the list,” Romney said. “I apologize, Mr. President. I used that term with all respect.”
If Romney was trying to throw Obama onto the defensive, it didn’t work. “I like it,” the president interjected.
“OK, good. So I get rid of that.”
Then, looking at moderator Lehrer, Romney said, “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS…. I like PBS, I love Big Bird -- I actually like, you too -- but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Romney vowed to return the control of some federal government programs to states, though he didn’t specify which programs, and reduce the number of government agencies and departments, and the number of federal employees, though he hastened to add that would be through attrition.
And finally, he slapped at the president for promising to reduce the deficit and instead presiding over a massive increase.
“The president said he’d cut the deficit in half,” Romney said. “Unfortunately, he doubled it -- trillion-dollar deficits for the last four years. The president has put in place almost as much debt held by the public as all presidents combined.”
Whoa...Mitt Romney needs to spend a little more time with his budget reports. It seems that Romney not only likes to fire people, he seemed to really enjoy tossing out bogus "facts." The statement above on the deficit and public held debt? Romney’s claim is close to true, though he’s using a different debt measure than the one his party used at his nominating convention. On the day Obama took office, the total public debt was $10.6 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s website. Today, it’s $16.2 trillion. That $5.6 trillion increase is a bit more than half of the debt incurred by the chief executives who preceded Obama in the White House. Looking only at the debt held by the public, the measure quoted by Romney, Obama has added about $5 trillion while the presidents who came before him ran up a $6.3 trillion tab.
Of course, a truly honest debate over the deficit and debt reduction can't be had without mention of the pattern of obstructionism on the part of the Republican congress, largely influenced by Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan:
Mr. Ryan’s enormous influence was apparent last summer when Representative Eric Cantor, the second most powerful House Republican, told Mr. Obama during negotiations over an attempted bipartisan “grand bargain” that Mr. Ryan disliked its policy and was concerned that a deal would pave the way for Mr. Obama’s easy re-election, according to a Democrat and a Republican who were briefed on the conversation.
When President Obama pointed out that Ryan’s budget plan offers a “deeply pessimistic” vision for America that would cut crucial investments in the middle class and jeopardize health care for seniors, Ryan took the criticism personally and said it “definitely damage[d]” the chances that he’d accept a bipartisan grand bargain on debt reduction.
And back to Big Bird, someone in the Twitterverse responded to Romney's threat to terminate the beloved Sesame Street Character by creating a @FiredBigBird account, which, as of this writing had almost 23,000 followers.
Portland, Ore., resident Sam Chapman responded to the buzz by creating an indiegogo.com campaign to "Save Big Bird." All funds from the campaign go to PBS, according to the indiegogo site. "Let's show PBS some love," the webpage read.
It’s only Tuesday, but this week has already packed some punches for Mitt Romney. A new poll found that Southern whites -- long considered one of the linchpins of the Republicans’ so-called Southern strategy -- are bothered by the GOP candidate’s wealth and religion. According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted over several months in 11 states from Virginia to Texas, 38 percent of Bible Belt voters said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who is “very wealthy” than one who isn’t, and many viewed Mormonism as a cult.
Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday showed that a majority favored having dinner with the president over Romney by a 13-point margin. In a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, Obama led Romney by 6 points, buoyed by a 4-point bump from the Democratic National Convention.
An explosive article from Salon this week highlights the attitude of corporations that profits rule, above all else.
But what if that corporation is a for-profit health care company that values profits over the health and safety of its patients? You may say that's just how corporate America rolls in these times, and I'd have to agree. But now what if the corporation that owns the for-profit health care provider is Bain capital -- founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney -- reportedly sees about 1 death per year on average in its facilities due to neglect, abuse or the use of under-paid staff with inadequate training? And what if Mitt Romney, a man who is running for the highest office in our nation based on his business acumen, is also profiting from that health care provider?
"Corporations are people, my friends." No, no they're not. Also, their profits are absolutely not more important than the troubled teens who were sent for "treatment" at the Bain Capital owned CRC Health centers who didn't live to return home.
When the morning staff arrived at 7 a.m., they discovered Brendan face down on the floor of the Purple Room, his body already stiff with rigor mortis. The state’s chief medical examiner later determined that Blum had died of a twisted-bowel infarction, which requires emergency surgical intervention.
The failure at Youth Care was not due simply to the carelessness of a few workers — a point underscored when a Utah court found that the threshold needed to pursue criminal negligence charges against the two monitors in 2008 wasn’t met and the charges were dismissed. And it wasn’t the only example of alleged negligence or abuse at treatment centers for adult addicts and “troubled teens” that are owned by Aspen’s parent company, CRC Health Group, according to a Salon investigation based on government reports, court filings and official complaints by parents and employees, along with interviews with former clients and staff.
Court documents and ex-staffers also allege that such incidents reflect, in part, a broader corporate culture at Aspen’s owner, CRC Health Group, a leading national chain of treatment centers. Lawsuits and critics have claimed that CRC prizes profits, and the avoidance of outside scrutiny, over the health and safety of its clients. (We sent specific questions on these basic allegations to CRC and owner Bain Capital. CRC would answer only general questions; Bain did not reply.)
And CRC’s corporate culture, in turn, reflects the attitudes and financial imperatives of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney. (The Romney campaign also did not reply to written questions.) Bain is known for its relentless obsession with maximizing shareholder value and revenues. Indeed, this has become a talking point of late on the Romney campaign trail; he bragged to Fox in late May that “80 percent of them grew their revenues.” CRC, a fast-growing company then in the lucrative field of drug treatment, was perhaps a natural fit when Bain acquired it for $720 million in 2006. In conversations with staff and patients who spent time at CRC facilities since the takeover, there are suggestions that the Bain approach has had its effects. “If you look at their daily profit numbers compared to what they charge,” Dana Blum said of CRC’s Aspen division in 2009, “it’s obscene.” That point, ironically enough, was underscored by the glowing reports in the trade press about its profitability.
Also noteworthy, of the three Bain managing partners who sit on CRC’s board, two, John Connaughton and Steven Barnes, along with his wife, gave a total of half a million dollars to Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. They also each donated the $2,500 maximum directly to his campaign.
I can't imagine the pain Brendan Blum's family must feel when they hear Mitt Romney droning on about profits, stock options, and tax shelters in the Caymans as they grieve in silence. They can no longer speak publicly about Brendan’s death, according to the terms of a settlement reached last year in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Journalist and livestreamer Tim Pool attended the HOPE9 conference in New York City over the weekend, and crossed paths with Vermin Supreme, so naturally an interview ensued. Many of you may know, or know of Vermin, the satirical candidate for president in 2012 whose platform is based on free ponies, mandatory tooth-brushing, and zombie preparedness.
“I have become one of the more well-known ones [candidates] by utilizing humor, absurdity in my presentation and in my appearance,” explained Vermin. “I’m all about simple, elegant, and effective, and when I wear the rubber boot on my head, it draws a lot of attention.”
I'll have to agree, that rubber boot does draw a lot of attention!
“Free speech is very important,” Vermin stated sincerely, “and I am exercising it to the fullest of my abilities by putting myself on the front line. My candidacy, it may be farcical, but I am there in the real life, interacting with real life people, real life police, real life Secret Service agents, real life candidates, and I am doing it because I am representing my constituencies.”
It would be interesting to hear if there are actually any write-ins voting for Vermin Supreme in November.
Cenk's guest Friday on the "Aggressive Progressive" segment was Darcy Burner, who is running in Washington's first district in the Democratic primary for that seat. She has also been a guest at CrooksandLiars, and is also listed on our "Blue America" page.
Cenk began with "I love this Aggressive Progressive segment and usually I do it, but I've got an even more aggressive progressive for you. Now you think, "come on, really." Well, it's Darcy Burner. You know what she advocates for, let me show you a quick little list here":
--"First of all, "suing the bejesus" out of corporations for wage discrimination,"
--"Then targeting boycotts against conservative funders"
--"And a campaign to "cast off the shame and embarassment" of women who've had an abortion"
"To which I say, "about damn time." So Darcy's going to join us now and not only is she running in Washington's first district in the Democratic primary for that seat, she also used to run ProgressiveCongress.org, and the Progressive Congress Action fund, and the list goes on and on."
Cenk: So Darcy, what are you doing? I'm told that Democrats aren't supposed to ruffle feathers; you not supposed to be an actual progressive."
Darcy: Well, you know, I think that's a big piece of the problem the Democratic Party has and maybe we should elect more Democrats with actual values.
Cenk: Shocking. Alright, now you've gotten into some quote-unquote trouble by the press there because they say that you're stridently pro-choice. Well, given that the country is 72% in favor of legalized abortion, wouldn't that seem to play to your advantage?
Darcy: One would think. One would think. But there's this culture around the idea that we should all be timid and meek and not actually stand up for the things that matter. I disagree.
Cenk: Now, Darcy, in your district they say well, look now, this is an important swing district and if we have someone clearly on the left here, it might hurt our cause. Now that's conventional wisdom, why do you disagree with that.
Darcy: That isn't what any of the actual numbers show. First, I've been polling ahead of all of the more timid, conservative, 'other' Democrats in this primary. Second, if you look at what happens around the country when you have progressives running and conservative Democrats running, progressive candidates consistently do better than the more conservative candidates. It turns out that American voters like people who will actually fight for them.
Cenk: Shocking! Republicans succeed. Why? They fight, right? They might be wrong, but they fight. Now, Elizabeth Warren also getting a ton of donations in Massachusetts, I just read a story today, they're like...wow, why? Well, it's because she fought the banks. For example, what would you do with the banks, Darcy?
Darcy: We have a huge number of bankers who have broken the laws and they should go to jail. It's long past time the people who brought down the economy for personal profit paid for it.
On Sunday, July 8th, over 200 protestors crashed the Koch Brothers' $50,000 a ticket fundraising party for their candidate, Mitt Romney. Since the Kochs are giving over a billion dollars to buy Mitt Romney the presidency, should we be worried about who Romney would represent if he takes office? Hmmmmmm.
This action was a collaboration between MoveOn.org, Occupy Huntington, Occupy the Hamptons, Occupy Wall Street, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, United NY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, and Art Not War.com.....thanks to all 200 activists who braved the hot sun!