Tag Archives: 2012 elections

Nearly Absent in the Campaign – Climate Change – NYTimes.com

25 Oct

For all their disputes, President Obama and Mitt Romney agree that the world is warming and that humans are at least partly to blame. It remains wholly unclear what either of them plans to do about it.

Even after a year of record-smashing temperatures, drought and Arctic ice melt, none of the moderators of the four general-election debates asked about climate change, nor did any of the candidates broach the topic.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney have seemed most intent on trying to outdo each other as lovers of coal, oil and natural gas — the very fuels most responsible for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Yes, well, climate change IS 800 pound gorilla in the room, isn’t it? The interesting thing is that, at long last, it really IS the 800 pound gorilla. Enough people are sufficiently convinced  that real attention from the presidential contenders would make it seem like, you know, a REAL issue.

via Nearly Absent in the Campaign – Climate Change – NYTimes.com.

Is Your Boss Going to ‘Mine’ Your Vote? More Corporations Step Up Coercion | The Nation

20 Oct

I remember my father telling me that his company, the now defunct Bethlehem Steel Corporation, pressured him to contribute to the Republican Party. This was back in the 60s. They also discouraged their employees from buying foreign cars, such as Volkswagons, which is perhaps why Dad got one.

In recent weeks, a flurry of news coverage has focused on an undemocratic trend in workplaces around the country: employers telling their workers which politicians they should vote for. CEOs for Murray Energy, Koch Industries, ASG Software and Westgate Resorts have pressured their employees to vote for particular political candidates, like Mitt Romney.

The Nation has found that the phenomenon appears far more wide-ranging that previously known. Businesses throughout Washington State, along with a loose network of hundreds of coal and mining companies, are preparing to urge employees to vote for specific political candidates. Meanwhile, lobbyists in Washington are working furiously to encourage more corporations to adopt these tactics.

One of the lesser-known consequences of the Citizens United decision is how corporations gained the power to explicitly recommend candidates to their rank-and-file workers. Before, corporations were limited to mostly encouraging civic participation. Now, managers can make political appeals for a candidate in the workplace.

via Is Your Boss Going to ‘Mine’ Your Vote? More Corporations Step Up Coercion | The Nation.

Open the Presidential Debates! | The Nation

31 Aug

This year, the case for reform is being made by a number of credible third-party candidates who have secured ballot status in multiple states, including the Green Party’s Jill Stein, a physician and noted environmental health activist; the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor; the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson, a former Salt Lake City mayor; and the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, a former Virginia Congressman. All have claims to debate spots; under more open formats, Stein debated Mitt Romney when they both sought the Massachusetts governorship in 2002, and before he switched parties, Johnson faced Romney in the 2012 GOP presidential debates.

The commission is disinclined to open things up this year, or even to tinker with the format. It’s still vital to keep the pressure on, however. The best way to do that is by backing the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Open Debates, which is calling on the commission to release the details of its negotiations with the Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as its agreement to implement the campaigns’ debate plan. Transparency poses the greatest threat to a commission agenda that Open Debates decries as “more concerned with the partisan interests of the two major-party candidates than the democratic interests of the voting public.”

But citizens should do more than just pressure the commission. After all, its oversight is not required by law. Only back-room deals engineered by the major parties and their candidates give the commission its power. Why not pressure the parties and candidates to open things up? “Debates have the potential to be the most interesting, unscripted and definitional part of the campaign,” Nader says. “So why ration them? Instead of three presidential debates, why not have twenty-one spread across the fall? Why not have debates all over the country? In inner cities and rural areas? Various formats? Debates that focus on specific sets of issues? Why not let activists ask questions based on their knowledge and experience? Why not have moderators who challenge candidates, who ask follow-up questions, who encourage candidates to go at it?”

via Open the Presidential Debates! | The Nation.

His Supporters Treated “Atrociously,” Ron Paul Refuses to Back Romney | The Nation

29 Aug

GOP = Gutless Old Plutocrats:

As Santorum spoke, not on the message of the night but on a deeper message of outreach to working-class voters delivered the language both parties once employed, the crowd that packed the great hall roared with approval — if not entirely for the political point then surely for the relief from the drab repetition that defined “We Built It” night. This was not the empty rhetoric molded by the mandarins who have managed the life out of the 40th Republican National Convention.

The only speech that might have been more engaging would have been the one that wasn’t delivered — by Ron Paul.

Paul was the Romney challenger who stayed in the race longest, and who won almost 200 delegate votes (193 by the Seattle Times count) during the Tuesday night roll call that nominated Romney.

Once upon a time, that might have guaranteed him a convention speaking slot.

But Paul was not allowed near the podium. And the party brass engineered a rewrite of the rules for the 2016 nominating process in order to assure that neither Paul — not anyone else as interesting, or dissenting — will ever again be able to beat the establishment at its own game and win substantial numbers of delegates. The Paul delegates, many Tea Party conservatives and a number of renegade Romney delegates objected, creating the only real drama of the day, and the convention.

via His Supporters Treated “Atrociously,” Ron Paul Refuses to Back Romney | The Nation.

Ron Paul Rallies His Supporters in Tampa – NYTimes.com

27 Aug

TAMPA, Fla. — In a speech that was part motivational, part valedictory and at every opportunity critical of the mainstream Republican Party on the eve of its convention here this week, Representative Ron Paul declared his “liberty movement” alive and well on Sunday before a crowd of nearly 10,000 supporters who were eager to testify to that claim.

Mr. Paul said that he had recently read in newspapers that the so-called Ron Paul Revolution was over, and that whatever enthusiasm voters had shown toward his presidential campaign in the Republican primary season was gone.

“They only wish!” Mr. Paul thundered to an audience that seemed to become more energized with his every word, their roars of approval reaching a deafening level inside the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida.

via Ron Paul Rallies His Supporters in Tampa – NYTimes.com.

On the Stump, Romney and Ryan Avoid Real Medicare Debate | The Nation

21 Aug

All Romney/Ryan are doing is trying to hide from the American public just how badly they would shred the social safety net in order to pay for giving themselves giant tax cuts.

Ryan actually included the savings from cuts to wasteful private subsidies in the Medicare Advantage program that the ACA enacted—the same ones he now inveighs against in every speech—in his own budget. The reason he kept them in his budget, even while he votes to repeal the ACA and therefore would lose them, is because it gives him more breathing room. Take away those savings, and Ryan would have to come up with even more cuts to other popular programs.

The Obama campaign is understandably aggravated by their opponents’ cowardly refusal to stand and fight.

I’ll bet that Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party and Jill Stein, Green Party, would have a good and useful debate on Medicare.

via On the Stump, Romney and Ryan Avoid Real Medicare Debate | The Nation.

Romney’s Incredible Extremes | The Nation

8 Aug

Mitt Romney’s tax and spending plans are so irresponsible, so cruel, so extreme that they are literally incredible. Voters may find it hard to believe anyone would support such things, so they are likely to discount even factual descriptions as partisan distortion.

The pro-Obama New Priorities PAC stumbled across this phenomena early in 2012 in its focus group testing. When they informed a focus group that Romney supported the budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and thus championed ending Medicare as we know it while also championing tax cuts for the wealthy, focus group participants simply didn’t believe it. No politician could be so clueless.

via Romney’s Incredible Extremes | The Nation.

Report: 2012 Election Likely To Be Decided By 4 Or 5 Key Swing Corporations | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

25 Jul

I know that The Onion is a satirical publication, but, alas, this doesn’t read like satire.

WASHINGTON—With polls this week showing the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tightening even further, a growing number of political experts have declared this year’s election will almost certainly be decided by a small handful of swing corporations.

“While most publicly traded companies are solidly red or blue, there are four or five major corporations that are complete tossups right now, and any one of them could prove decisive come November,” said Nate Silver of The New York Times, noting in particular that Procter & Gamble, a traditional bellwether for the country as a whole, remained a “total wildcard.” “Both candidates will have to focus almost exclusively on these swing businesses in order to gain the upper hand.”

“And given how close this race is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing comes down to undecided executives at Dow Chemical or Disney,” Silver continued. “Let’s not forget 2000, when Philip Morris International single-handedly put George W. Bush into office.”

via Report: 2012 Election Likely To Be Decided By 4 Or 5 Key Swing Corporations | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

Tougher Voter ID Laws Set Off Court Battles – NYTimes.com

20 Jul

Incensed, and spurred on by liberal groups, Ms. Applewhite and others like her are suing the state in a closely watched case, one of a number of voter-identification suits across the country that could affect the participation of millions of voters in the presidential election.

“They’re trying to stop black people from voting so Obama will not get re-elected,” Ms. Applewhite said as she sat in her modest one-bedroom apartment in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, reflecting a common sentiment among those who oppose the law. “That’s what this whole thing is about.”

Whether true or not, the focus on what Democrats call “voter suppression” is accelerating as the Nov. 6 election looms. Last week, Texas took the Obama administration to federal court because it blocked a voter identification law there on racial discrimination grounds. In Florida, officials successfully sued for access to a federal database of noncitizens in hopes of purging them from voter rolls, a move several other states plan to emulate.

via Tougher Voter ID Laws Set Off Court Battles – NYTimes.com.

For the Ron Paul Wing, Now What? – NYTimes.com

22 Jun

There are now

two significant competing visions of what the Republican Party will be, a struggle, by the way, that is no longer between a vast majority and a tiny fringe. Paul people consider themselves not weird outsiders, but the true conservatives who actually want to rein in government within affordable, constitutional limits. Ron Paul’s campaign spokesmen are quick to distance themselves from any hint of the Paul movement being an angry, raucous anti-establishment rabble — the words “respect” and “decorum” flow from their lips as much as “limited government” and “end the Fed now.”

via For the Ron Paul Wing, Now What? – NYTimes.com.