Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Romney Campaign Staged Donations At Storm Relief Event


As the East Coast and parts of Ohio struggled to regroup in the devastating wake of “Superstorm” Sandy, the Romney campaign hastily transformed a scheduled victory rally in Dayton, Ohio into a non-political “storm relief event” on Tuesday. According to BuzzFeed, the campaign encouraged supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies and “deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman.”
Just to be safe, campaign aides reportedly spent $5,000 at a local Wal-Mart on supplies that could be put on display. When supporters arrived at the rally-turned-relief event, they were treated to the 10-minute video about Romney’s life, which was first unveiled at the RNC. The event ended with supporters lined up to hand over supplies and meet Romney. But according to BuzzFeed, this donation process was also staged:
Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”
The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.
Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”
The Red Cross, meanwhile, said they were grateful for the supplies but encouraged people to donate money or blood as a more efficient way to help the relief effort.

God-Like Mitt Romney Imparts Great Gift Of Lying To Grateful Wisconsin Poll-Watchers

Mitt Romney has a lot of skills you guys. Reading balance sheets! Being unemployed! Avoiding taxes! Running a business! Using an etch-a-sketch! Etc! But probably his BEST and most useful skillset is lying. Shamelessly lying, right in your face, and right in Candy Crowley’s face, and right in the President’s face. Is it therefore a big surprise that his campaign has been teaching poll workers how to lie? No, of course it is not. We expect this kind of crap from Mitt Romney and his campaign from now on because he is a horrible person.

Romney Camp: Ignore Auto Companies Calling Us Liars


Two auto companies made a surprise foray into the presidential campaign on Tuesday, bluntly calling out Mitt Romney for his deceptive Ohio ads that suggest they plan to ship local jobs to China. But according to the Romney campaign, there’s nothing to see here.

Romney Faces Scrutiny on Aid in Storm's Wake

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's nothing like a natural disaster to test the depth of politicians' preference for small government.
And so Mitt Romney found himself on the hot seat after superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast. Only last year, as Romney hewed to the right while battling for the GOP nomination, he appeared to suggest in a debate that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be shuttered and its responsibilities left to the states.
"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney said at a debate last year. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."
Asked by moderator John King of CNN whether that would include disaster relief, Romney said: "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids."
Now, a week before Election Day, in the wake of a massive disaster, Romney's campaign is reassuring voters that his administration wouldn't leave disaster victims in the lurch. The public's attention is locked on the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy at a time when Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a close presidential campaign. With Obama heavily involved in getting federal funds to those in trouble, the Romney campaign moved quickly to reassure the public it supports a strong program of storm relief.
"A Romney-Ryan administration will always ensure that disaster funding is there for those in need," said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "Period."
Romney's campaign says he's not interested in getting rid of FEMA, though Romney himself ducked a spate of opportunities Tuesday to clarify his position. The campaign instead issued a statement that essentially endorsed the current disaster aid system.
"Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions," Henneberg said. "As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA."
But what the campaign wouldn't do is say whether a President Romney would insist that help for disaster victims be funded by cutting other programs in the federal budget.
Running mate Paul Ryan is squarely on the side of cutting other spending to pay for disasters. Earlier this year, he tried but failed to scrap a new system, established in the 2011 debt ceiling-deficit cuts deal, that boosts disaster spending and budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur. House leaders rebuffed him, siding with Appropriations Committee members of both parties who like the new system.
What Ryan proposed is that when disaster strikes, lawmakers first scour the rest of the budget for savings to pay for rebuilding homes, roads and schools and helping small businesses.
That's easier said than done, especially since it can mean delays in getting aid out the door. Disasters like Hurricane Katrina — and perhaps Sandy — can prove so costly that it's simply impracticable to find cuts in other programs big enough to pay for the aid.
As has been shown time after time — especially as tornadoes and hurricanes rip through politically conservative states — even the sturdiest tea party supporters become fans of government when it's doling out money to storm victims for motel rooms and other temporary housing or helping with house repairs.
That role fell Tuesday to New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie, who was effusive in his praise for Obama and the federal government's initial response.
"The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA," Christie said on NBC's "Today."
It'll take several weeks to come up with damage cost estimates to determine whether FEMA's main disaster account will need more money.
FEMA has enough cash available to deal with immediate disaster relief, almost $8 billion, thanks to a six-month government funding bill passed in September and the new disaster financing system.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chrysler chief slams Romney for ‘inaccurate’ Jeep ad


DETROIT, Michigan — Chrysler’s chief on Tuesday joined a chorus of critics slamming Mitt Romney for an ad that implies Jeep is shipping American jobs to China as a result of President Barack Obama’s policies.
The ad is airing in the critical battleground of Ohio, where one in eight jobs depends on the auto industry and Chrysler is building Jeeps at a plant in Toledo.
It was produced after the Republican White House hopeful was roundly criticized for telling supporters in Ohio last week that Jeep was going to move “all” production to China.
Chrysler called the rumor “a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.”
Obama won a lot of support among Ohio’s blue collar workers by pushing through an $84 billion bailout of the US auto industry despite objections from Republicans — including Romney, who has taken heat for declaring “let Detroit go bankrupt” in the midst of the crisis.
With just a week to go before the November 6 election, Obama is currently up by 2.1 points in a Real Clear Politics average of recent Ohio polls.
Romney’s ad shows cars being crushed as a narrator declares that “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China,” while insisting Romney will “do more” for the auto industry.
Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne insisted that plans to build Jeeps in China are a sign of the company’s strength and that local production is the only way to expand in the world’s largest automotive market.
He also noted that Chrysler has tripled Jeep production in the United States and added more than 11,200 jobs since it came under Fiat’s stewardship in 2009. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand,” Marchionne said in a letter to employees.
“It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
The Obama campaign fought back Monday with an ad of its own calling Romney “wrong then… dishonest now,” interspersed with a clip of Romney saying “let Detroit go bankrupt.”
Romney has called his rival’s use of the quote misleading, insisting that that he was simply saying the private sector should take the lead and that Obama ultimately did as he suggested by restructuring General Motors and Chrysler under bankruptcy protection.
Critics and experts have noted that credit markets were essentially frozen due to the financial crisis and that GM, Chrysler and their suppliers would have simply collapsed without government help at a cost of about a million jobs.
Both companies have posted huge profits, expanded production, added jobs and repaid most of their loans since emerging from the government-backed bankruptcy.

Coleman: I Wasn’t Speaking For Romney When I Said Roe V. Wade Is Safe


Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) told the AP Tuesday that he wasn't speaking as a Mitt Romney surrogate when he told voters in Ohio that Roe v. Wade would be safe in a Romney administration. 
In an interview on Tuesday, Coleman told The Associated Press he had been speaking on his own behalf, and not for Romney.
He said he meant that the decision is longstanding precedent, and that Republicans would fight over issues like parental notification and partial birth abortion rather than Roe v Wade itself.
On Tuesday, groups on both sides of the abortion debate told TPM a Romney victory would hasten the reversal of Roe. Romney's website says "he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Mitt Romney’s Guide To Flood Management

As Click & Clack will tell you, it’s the stingy man who ends up paying most, and apparently it’s as true of governing as car repairs! And apparently also, Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, was quite the Scrooge when it came to building levees and other flood control for his state! Here is a nice find from our friends at Slog:
In the spring of 2004, Peabody, Mass., got drenched with rain, which flooded the downtown area. After the storm, then-Gov. Mitt Romney asked President George W. Bush to declare Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk Counties federal disaster areas, according to the Boston Globe.
That fall, the state legislature proposed spending $5.7 million on a flood prevention project to protect against future floods. Those funds would be matched by $22 million in federal money.
Romney vetoed it.
Haha, you guys are never gonna guess what happened just two years later, in 1996 2006. Go ahead, try. You’ll never … oh. Yeah, that was it. READ MORE »

Auto Companies To Romney: Stop Lying About Us Please


In the final days of the 2012 race, Mitt Romney’s campaign is really making good on its pollster’s August promise to ignore fact checkers. To close the deal in the Ohio, Team Romney is blitzing the state with a series of wildly deceptive statements and ads suggesting that Chrysler is moving local jobs to China.
The latest is an unannounced radio spot, audio of which was posted by the Greg Sargent on Tuesday. The spot asks whether Obama rescued the auto industry for “Ohio — or China?”
“Now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making Jeeps in — you guessed it — China,” the ad’s narrator says. “What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio — the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama’s auto bailout would help them?”
The radio spot is a supercharged version of an earlier television ad, also unannounced, that drew unusually widespread condemnation in the local and national press for tying a planned expansion of Jeep operations in China to the fate of Jeep workers in Ohio. And that ad jumped off similar statements Romney made earlier while campaigning in Ohio.
Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, has publicly condemned Romney’s claims as false, writing on its website that they have “no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China” and that any expansion in Asia is to serve Asian markets. In fact, they are adding over 1,000 jobs to their Toledo factory as part of a $500 million investment in upgrading its capacity.
After Romney continued to suggest otherwise in ads, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne personally called him out for “inaccurate” claims.
“Jeep is one of our truly global brands with uniquely American roots. This will never change. So much so that we committed that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio plant, will never see full production outside the United States,” Marchionne said on Tuesday. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand.”
GM didn’t take well to the ad either, bristling at the notion that the auto rescue — which the Center for Automotive research estimated saved 1 million US jobs — encouraged outsourcing.
“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin told the Detroit Free Press. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”
Detroit News reporter David Sherpardson reported some more choice words from GM over the ad, quoting a representative who said “At this stage, we’re looking at a Hubble telescope-length distances between campaign ads and reality….GM’s creating jobs in the US and repatriating profits back to this country should be a source of bipartisan pride.”

Things have been getting dicy in the fact check department in general this week in Ohio. In addition to Romney’s repeated claim that he’d have saved the auto industry largely with private funds, a scenario experts say would have been impossible during the financial crisis, one of his top surrogates suggested on Monday that a Romney administration would have little effect on abortion laws. Romney supporter Norm Coleman told a Jewish group in the state on Monday that Roe v. Wade would never be reversed under Romney, despite Romney’s frequent criticism of the decision.
In a blast from the past, the Romney campaign is also reviving ads (unannounced, yet again) that feature a debunked claim that Obama “gutted” welfare work requirements. Romney’s original welfare attack in the summer was savaged in the press as inaccurate, prompting Romney’s pollster Neil Newhouse to respond that “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
The Obama campaign, which has its own ad out countering Romney’s in the state, has tried to suggest that the campaign’s dismissiveness towards fact checks suggests they’re behind in the state and getting desperate. The Romney campaign insists that the race is a toss up and that they’re expanding the electoral map elsewhere to places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota as well.

Mitt Romney Joking about 'the rise of the oceans' far less funny now

Corrosion Of Conformity - Clean My Wounds

Mitt Romney Can Kiss Chris Christie’s Fat Ass

A harried-looking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie showed up on Fox & Friends this morning, and the concerned geniuses there immediately got to the important question, while he explained the massive destruction all around him: Would he be having a nice photo op of the devastation of his state with Republican standardbearer His Lord High Hairgel Mittens of Romney? “Hmmm,” said Chris Christie, “no, I think I would prefer it if ol’ Mittens ate a dick instead!” (Direct quote.) Then he gay-married Barack Obama for being awesome at government! READ MORE »

Monday, October 29, 2012

PBS Frontline: Documents connecting SuperPAC to GOP politicians found in Montana meth lab

October 29, 2012

The boxes landed in the office of Montana investigators in March 2011.
Found in a meth house in Colorado, they were somewhat of a mystery, holding files on 23 conservative candidates in state races in Montana. They were filled with candidate surveys and mailers that said they were paid for by campaigns, and fliers and bank records from outside spending groups. One folder was labeled “Montana $ Bomb.”
The documents pointed to one outside group pulling the candidates’ strings: a social welfare nonprofit called Western Tradition Partnership, or WTP.
Altogether, the records added up to possible illegal “coordination” between the nonprofit and candidates for office in 2008 and 2010, said a Montana investigator and a former Federal Election Commission chairman who reviewed the material. Outside groups are allowed to spend money on political campaigns, but not to coordinate with candidates.
“My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that WTP was running a lot of these campaigns,” said investigator Julie Steab of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, who initially received the boxes from Colorado.
The boxes were examined by Frontline and ProPublica as part of an investigation into the growing influence on elections of dark money groups, tax-exempt organizations that can accept unlimited contributions and do not have to identify their donors. The documents offer a rare glimpse into the world of dark money, showing how Western Tradition Partnership appealed to donors, interacted with candidates and helped shape their election efforts.
Though WTP’s spending has been at the state level, it’s best-known nationally for bringing a lawsuit that successfully challenged Montana’s ban on corporate spending in elections, extending the provisions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision to all states.
The tax code allows nonprofits like WTP to engage in some political activity, but they are supposed to have social welfare as their primary purpose. As reported previously by ProPublica and Frontline, when WTP applied for recognition of its tax-exempt status, it told the IRS under penalty of perjury that it would not directly or indirectly attempt to influence elections — even though it already had.
The group is now locked in an ongoing dispute with Montana authorities, who ruled in October 2010 that the nonprofit should have registered as a political committee and should have to disclose its donors. WTP sued. A hearing is set for March.
In the meantime, the group has changed its name to American Tradition Partnership, reflecting its larger ambitions. This month, it sent Montana voters a mailer in the form of a newspaper called the Montana Statesman that claimed to be the state’s “largest & most trusted news source.”
The front page accused the Democratic gubernatorial candidate of being soft on sex offenders.
Donny Ferguson, American Tradition Partnership’s spokesman and executive director, did not specifically address the documents found in Colorado or allegations of coordination made against WTP.
“American Tradition Partnership always obeys every letter of every applicable law,” he wrote in an emailed response to questions. “ATP does not, and never will, endorse candidates or urge voters to vote for or against candidates. … These false allegations are old hat.”
On its website, the group says its primary purpose is issue advocacy and combating radical environmentalists, whom it sometimes calls “gang green.” It describes itself as a grassroots group backed by a broad membership of small donors.
When asked about the documents found in Colorado, Jim Brown, a lawyer for the group, said he was unfamiliar with them.
After being shown some of the documents by Frontline, Brown, in a follow up email, said his review indicated that they appeared to belong to a company called Direct Mail. Direct Mail and Communications is a print shop in Livingston, Mont., run by a one-time key player in WTP and his wife.
Brown urged Frontline to turn over the documents. “If the documents are purported to be what you say they are, then you may knowingly be in possession of stolen property,” Brown wrote.
The records are in the hands of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, which considers them public and reviewable upon request.
In the anything-goes world of modern campaign finance, outside groups face one major restriction: They are not allowed to coordinate with candidates. That’s because contributions to candidates and parties are still capped to limit donors’ direct influence, while contributions to outside groups are unlimited.
The Federal Election Commission has a three-pronged test for proving coordination: Did an outside group pay for ads, phone calls or mailers? Did these materials tell people to vote for or against a candidate, or praise or criticize a candidate in the weeks before an election? Finally, did the candidate, or a representative, agree to the expenditure?
Many concerns have been raised about coordination in this election because of close ties between outside groups and campaigns. Super PACs supporting President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are run by their former staffers. Super PACs and campaigns have used the same consultants, who insist in interviews that they have firewalls.
Proving coordination is extremely difficult, however. Since 2007, the FEC has investigated 64 complaints of coordination, but found against candidates and groups only three times, fining them a total of $107,000, a review of FEC enforcement actions shows.
Montana, which has similar rules, also receives few complaints about such activity, Steab said.
The boxes from Colorado contained a mixture of documents from candidates and outside groups.
Folders labeled with the names of Montana candidates held drafts and final letters of support signed by candidates’ wives and drafts and final copies of mailers marked as being paid for by the campaigns. The folders often appeared to have had an accounting of what had been sent and paid for scrawled on the front.
Several folders included copies of the signatures of candidates and their wives. “Use this one,” someone wrote in red pen next to a cut-out rectangle on a page with five signatures from one candidate.
Steab, the Montana investigator, said she believed these cut-out signatures were then affixed to fliers from the candidates.
Besides material from the campaigns, the boxes also contained mailers on 2008 and 2010 races in Colorado and Montana from Western Tradition Partnership and six other groups. There were bank statements for several groups, including the Coalition for Energy and the Environment, the Alliance of Montana Taxpayers and the Conservative Victory Fund.
In all the documents, one name repeatedly popped up: Christian LeFer. Even though two Montana Republican politicians founded WTP, investigators determined that LeFer was the man behind the scenes.
LeFer, who is described as WTP’s director of strategic programming in memos in 2009, said in an email that the documents “appear to be stolen property” and that, as he’d had no access to them, he couldn’t respond to most of ProPublica’s questions, “which seem to be based on an erroneous and fanciful interpretation of what they mean.”
LeFer did not address whether WTP had coordinated with candidates. Although former employees and candidates said LeFer helped his wife run Direct Mail and Communications — the printing company that Brown, the lawyer, suggested was the owner of the boxes of documents found in Colorado — LeFer said he did not “run or direct the activities” there.
Direct Mail listed its principal office address in Montana filings as being the same Colorado address WTP initially used.
Two outside groups with documents in the boxes — the Montana Committee to Protect the Unborn and Montana Citizens for Right to Work — listed their addresses on bank statements as the same post-office box in Livingston used by LeFer and Direct Mail. LeFer was also the executive director of Montana Citizens for Right to Work, an anti-union group.
Former state Rep. Ed Butcher said LeFer and Western Tradition Partnership aided candidates with no experience.
“They’ll come in, if candidates want some help, they’ll come in and help them,” said Butcher, who described LeFer as “a Karl Rove type political strategist” who “stays in the background.”
Butcher’s file in the Colorado boxes was labeled “Butcher Primary ’08 mail samples.” It included an email from LeFer to Butcher with a survey about unions. There was a campaign donation form, and drafts of fliers and a letter from Butcher’s campaign.
A “wife questionnaire” for Butcher’s wife Pam said she met her husband “on a blind date arranged by his buddy that neither of us wanted.” The questionnaire listed her children’s names and that she had been taking care of her disabled mother for five years.
A letter on pink paper from Pam Butcher was in a file marked “wife letters.” The letter, which contained much of the information in the questionnaire, was marked as being paid for by Butcher’s campaign.
Butcher said his wife might have run her letter past LeFer. “He may have asked, ‘Do you need any help?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, I need to get this family letter out,’” said Butcher, who won the Republican primary in 2008 by 20 votes.
A folder for another successful candidate, Mike Miller, included a fax cover sheet from Miller to LeFer, forwarding Miller’s filled-out Montana candidate surveys for two outside groups, the National Gun Owners Alliance and the National League of Taxpayers. It also held a candidate survey asking Miller if he had any research about his opponent, including “any recent scandals.”
Miller confirmed to Frontline that LeFer was an unpaid adviser on his campaign, but would not elaborate further.
Trevor Potter, a former federal election commissioner who now runs the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group that advocates for more restrictions on money in politics, reviewed the documents found in the boxes.
“This is the sort of information that is, in fact, campaign strategy, campaign plans that candidates cannot share with an outside group without making it coordinated,” Potter said.
“You need to know more, but certainly if I were back in my FEC days as a commissioner, I would say we had grounds to proceed with an investigation and put people under oath and show them these documents, and ask where they came from and where they were.”
After the 2008 election, Montana started investigating whether WTP should have disclosed its donors.
The inquiry progressed slowly until 2010, when a former WTP contractor handed over internal fundraising records, saying she was worried about what the group was doing.
The documents showed that the group raised money specifically by telling people and corporations that they could give unlimited amounts in secret.
“The only thing we plan on reporting is our success to contributors like you who can see the benefits of a program like this,” said one document, a 2010 election briefing to read to potential donors. “You can just sit back on election night and see what a difference you’ve made.”
A target list of potential donors included an executive at a talc mine, the Montana representative of an international mining group and a Colorado executive for a global gold-mining company.
One note about a potential donor advised: “Married rich, hard to get a hold of. Have a beer with him.” Another said: “Owns big ranch, signed a hit piece I wrote on cty cmms’r last year (don’t mention), should give $$ $10,000 ask.”
Other notes suggested that solicitors “See Christian” or “Talk to Christian,” apparently references to LeFer.
The documents cited the group’s success in 2008, saying in a confidential grassroots membership development proposal that 28 Montana state legislators “rode into office in 100% support of WTP’s responsible development agenda.”
By 2010, the partnership was active in state races in Montana and Colorado.
That October, Montana authorities said Western Tradition Partnership had violated campaign-finance law and should be fined. They said the group’s purpose in 2008 was “not to discuss issues, but to directly influence candidate elections through surreptitious means.”
The Montana investigation also said the evidence was overwhelming that WTP had established the Coalition for Energy and the Environment, known as CEE, as a “sham organization” to act as a front for expenditures actually made by WTP.
But the investigation also found that “sufficient evidence has not been disclosed to establish coordination between WTP/CEE and any candidate. Concern and healthy skepticism is warranted, however.”
That was before the boxes from Colorado turned up.
A convicted felon named Mark Seibel said he stumbled on them inside a known meth house near Denver at some point in late 2010.
It’s not clear how they got there. Seibel said a friend found them in a stolen car. After reading through some of the documents, he reached out to people he thought might be interested in them — primarily Colorado candidates attacked by Western Tradition Partnership. A lawyer married to one of the candidates shipped the boxes off to Montana investigators.
By that time, however, the Montana probe into the group’s activities in the 2008 election was over. Steab also said that there was no way to determine for certain where the documents were from and who owned them. There was no whistleblower, and no information about how the records ended up in Colorado.
Despite this, Steab said, she found the documents very telling.
“It looks to me that there was a lot of coordination—but I don’t know that it’s coordination that everyone is aware of in all cases,” she said. She said she spoke to one candidate who told her he was upset about all the negative mailers against his opponent.
This year, American Tradition Partnership is as active as ever. It’s suing to try to overturn contribution limits in Montana, so far unsuccessfully. The group sent out mailers attacking candidates before the June primary in Montana, reporting none of them to the state as political expenditures. It later put out a press release saying that 12 of the 14 candidates it backed had won.
For the general election, the group appears to be targeting Montana’s attorney general, Steve Bullock, the Democratic candidate for governor. As attorney general, Bullock fought the partnership’s lawsuits against the state, including the one that ended up in the Supreme Court.
The first issue of the partnership’s Montana Statesman newspaper, dated Oct. 7, which a group press release said was sent to 180,000 voters, featured four photographs on the front page: Three of registered sex offenders, and one of Bullock, accusing him of allowing one in four sex offenders to go unregistered. “Bullock admits failure,” the headline announced. A full-page ad accused Bullock of taking illegal corporate contributions and of “criminal hypocrisy.”
The Statesman’s editor and publisher is none other than Ferguson, the partnership’s executive director, described as an “award-winning newspaper veteran” who has been “commended by other newspapers for his ‘honest, intelligent and issue-oriented’ approach.”
Ferguson didn’t respond to a question about his journalism credentials.
“Conservative group American Tradition Partnership now one of nation’s biggest media outlets,” said a press release on the group’s website, adding that the newspaper would publish “several” editions through Election Day and into 2013.

Intrade and Nate Silver significantly upgrade Obama’s odds for victory

By: Ryan Witt

As Election Day draws near millions of Americans are looking up the latest polls to see whether Mitt Romney or President Obama will win in November. In addition to the polls, two other projections have gained significant notoriety over the last year. One is a market called Intrade, and the other is projective model developed by statistician Nate Silver of The New York Times. Both of those predictive measurements have significantly upgraded President Obama’s odds for victory over the last 72 hours, likely in response to Obama’s improving poll numbers.
For those unfamiliar with Intrade, it is a trading market in which people to make predictions by buying stock in a particular event. For instance, someone can buy “stock” in the prediction that President Obama will win re-election vote count on November 6. Currently that “stock” for President Obama winning is selling a $6.29 a share. If the trader is right and the event happens they can sell each shares for $10. If the trader is wrong, and the event does not happen, their shares go down to $0. Shares can also be sold before the event happens for a profit or loss.
With the “Obama re-election stock” currently selling at $6.29, traders are essentially betting that Obama has a 62.9% chance of winning. That number is a significant upgrade from Obama from Wednesday morning, when Obama was trading at just $5.60. What this essentially means is that people who have actual money riding on the outcome increased Obama’s odds for victory by 10 percent.
The second projection is much more complicated. Nate Silver has developed fame for a website called which incorporates all the polling data, and more, in order to project elections. Silver’s model is much more complex than a simple average of the polls. Silver takes into account the demographics of each state, the direction of the economy, and he also weighs each pollster differently based on their past performance.
According to Silver’s November 6 forecast, President Obama currently has a 73.1% chance of winning the election. Over the last 72 hours Silver has increased Obama’s odds by over 5%. Two weeks ago, on October 12, Silver had President Obama’s odds down all the way to 61.1%.
So while many in the media are continuing with the narrative that Mitt Romney has the momentum, Obama is trending up with the people who are putting their wallets where the mouth is, and with the statistician who has made a name for himself in projecting elections.

Congresswoman Accuses Obama Of ‘Harming’ Auto Company That Went Defunct In 1988


A Republican congresswoman accused the Obama administration of promulgating regulations that are undermining job creation at an auto manufacturer that has been defunct since 1988. She was responding to a question on Monday about Mitt Romney’s dishonest claims regarding Jeep moving its production overseas.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) dodged a question about Romney’s debunked Jeep claims and instead attacked the Obama administration for issuing regulations that are harming workers at American Motors Corporation, a company once headed by George Romney. AMC was sold to Chrysler during the Ronald Reagan administration and its brands were then discontinued:
CHIRS JENSING (HOST): Let me ask you about some of the things going on on the campaign trail, and there’s a controversy about Mitt Romney telling voters that jeep is going to move production to China. According to the company that’s entirely false. Is he lying about that?
BLACKBURN: Oh, well, I don’t know. I haven’t talked with with the campaign staff about that. I will say this. For workers in the auto industry, across the board, whether it is GM, whether it’s Nissan, whether it’s American Motors, individuals are very concerned about the impact of regulation that the EPA and OSHA and other federal agencies are heaping on our manufacturers.
Since the auto rescue, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are experiencing increases in sales of 10, 13, and 14 percent, respectively. Obama’s approach, which Romney vehemently opposed, helped save as many as 1.3 million jobs and the administration’s new fuel efficiency standards and incentives included in the 2009 stimulus are driving American-made cars to be become more competitive in an international market.

Mitt Romney - Wrong then, dishonest now

Mitt Romney: Why Can’t Amercia Be More Like China?

Oh goody, more incriminating audio from a Mitt Romney fundraiser. This one is  from a fundraiser he and his wife attended at the Irvine, California, home of David Horowitz (a different David Horowitz) back in March, and although Mittens didn’t insult half of the nation, he DID say that Obama considers businesspeople “a necessary evil” and his wife said that the president is not a “grown-up.” Also, did you know that China is a better place to do business than the U.S. (which surely has nothing to do with all those young women who are locked into Romney factories at night)? And that Obama wants half of the economy to be “controlled by government”? Well, now you do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Did Mitt Say He’d Shut Down FEMA


Back when he was severely conservative during the GOP primaries, did Mitt Romney say he’d shut down FEMA and have the states take responsibility for disaster relief? Not quite in one declarative statement. But he certainly seemed to say that disaster preparedness and relief should be taken from the federal government and turned over to the states.
Ryan Grim over at Huffpo just wrote up a passage from a June GOP primary debate in which Romney seems pretty clearly to say we should shut FEMA down and send disaster relief as a responsibility back to the states.
(Less dramatically, though perhaps just as important, this MoJo piece from August notes that the Ryan budget, which Romney has embraced, almost certainly requires big cuts in various disaster preparedness and relief programs.)
He links a video which was uploaded back on September 21st of last year but seems to have been viewed by virtually no one until tonight.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tyre, U.S. Naval Veteran: "President Obama is the first Democratic president that I will vote for."

Romney Administration Failure Tied to Meningitis Deaths

Rochester, MI. October 25, 2012. Alyson Oliver, a Michigan attorney representing several injured victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak and the lead attorney in the effort to consolidate the fungal meningitis cases nationally, announced today a new website,, designed to educate the public about the what Oliver believes to be the apparent failure of the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services to adequately address deficiencies at the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the source of contaminated drugs linked to deaths and widespread injuries. Oliver has uncovered what she terms ‘serious concerns’ about how Governor Mitt Romney’s administration responded to complaints against NECC.
Oliver’s investigation of NECC, the supplier of the contaminated drugs in question, led her to carefully examine the history of NECC’s disciplinary actions and enforcement under then Governor Romney’s Health and Human Services Department. Oliver found that NECC had a history of violating accepted pharmaceutical industry standards and that, during Governor Mitt Romney’s tenure, the Massachusetts state government consistently conceded to requests by NECC’s counsel for more lenient treatment rather than the initial requested penalties according to correspondence between NECC and the State of Massachusetts. Oliver, in collaboration with Crivella West Incorporated, an advanced analytics and investigational research company, is providing public access to these important records at
Massachusetts state records reveal that NECC and its Manager of Record, Barry J. Cadden, were the subject of six complaints between 2003 and 2006. At least one of these complaints alleged that NECC and Cadden failed to comply with accepted pharmaceutical standards in compounding methypredinsolene acetate. Methypredinsolone acetate is the same drug that has been recalled by NECC and linked to the outbreak of fungal meningitis resulting in numerous deaths. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month advised medical professionals to discontinue use of any products manufactured by the New England Compounding Center.
Initially, the Office of Health and Human Services Department of Public Health and Board of Registration in Pharmacy (BRPh) offered to enter into a consent agreement with NECC to resolve the complaints relating to methypredinsolone acetate. The initial proposal required disciplinary action, public reprimand, and a three year probationary period. NECC rejected the proposed consent agreement and, according to the documents of the BRPh, negotiated a more lenient penalty with the Romney administration’s BRPh. Ultimately, the NECC was required to serve one year of probation and pay for a private consultant to monitor compliance. Further, according to these same records, the BRPh agreed that the non-disciplinary agreement would not be reported to the National Association of State Boards of Pharmacy or other outside agencies. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, NECC could avoid the one year probation if additional conditions were met.
Oliver’s investigation of the public records uncovered little evidence that Governor Romney’s agencies diligently monitored or scrutinized NECC’s compliance activities. Effectively, the BRPh records establish that NECC was left to self-report completion of compliance requirements.
The Oliver Group, P.C. filed the first lawsuit in Michigan involving the meningitis outbreak from the tainted steroids sold by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Oliver Law Group has also filed a petition before the Joint Panel on Multi District Litigation. This petition seeks consolidation and coordination of the various meningitis lawsuits pending nationally to one court. The Oliver Law Group is an aggressive and effective consumer advocate law firm, currently involved in many of the biggest national cases against pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
  • Alyson Oliver (800) 939-7878
  • The Oliver Law Group
  • 950 West University Drive
  • Rochester, MI 48307

Relevant Documents

These documents were obtained from The Official Website of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) of the State of Massachsetts.

follow the story as it develops


Steelers Game Notes

Casino Mogul Tells Workers That Voting For Romney Would ‘Protect Your Job’


Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has donated more than $50 million to Republicans, is now pressuring his casino employees to vote for Mitt Romney. According to the Huffington Post, Adelson’s Management at Las Vegas Sands Corp. “has been distributing voter guides friendly to Republican nominee Mitt Romney and critical of President Barack Obama to its casino employees in Las Vegas.”
While the so-called Nevada “issues guides” don’t specifically endorse Romney, the pamphlets strongly imply that Obama’s policies could cause workers to lose their jobs. “Too much of big government doesn’t just affect our company; it affects our employees, our customers, and our shareholders,” the guide says. “Voting is an important way for you no only to do your civic duty, but to protect your job.” It goes on to misrepresent Obama’s health, tax, and energy policies — while painting Romney’s proposal in a favorable light:
HEALTH CARE: “The federal government requiring all U.S. citizens to buy or otherwise obtain health insurance coverage as a condition of their citizenship is not good for America, our company, and our employees….Gov. Romney favors reform that encourages competition and brings down costs.”
TAXES: “The President would increase many types of taxes, including those on businesses that file taxes as individuals…The governor supports a flatter, simpler and fairer tax code for all Americans that will help businesses and families to prosper.”
ENERGY: “[Obama's] administration restricted the expansion of leases for oil and gas exploration on government lands and opposed the Keystone XL pipeline that will produce more jobs and lower energy prices….The governor supports energy independence and immediate expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Adelson’s efforts to elect Romney would greatly bolster his bottom line. A report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that Romney’s tax proposals, which call for massive tax cuts for the rich, corporate tax reforms that will encourage the offshoring of profits, and the elimination of certain investment taxes, could save Adelson more than $2 billion in taxes.
Romney’s corporate tax reforms would also provide Adelson’s casino company approximately $1.2 billion in tax breaks on overseas profits and $565 million from Romney’s proposed shift to a territorial tax system. Adelson’s share of that, the report says, would be upward of $900 million.
And while Adelson would benefit from Romney’s reforms, the workers receiving his brochures could see a $2,000 tax increase if Romney were to keep his plan to maintain current levels of revenue.
Since the Supreme Court expanded the rules governing corporations’ and unions’ ability to promote political speech in the Citizens United case,several CEOs have been pressuring employees in swing states (like Nevada) to vote for Romney, a practice the GOP presidential candidate himself has endorsed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

‘Anti-Business’ Obama Is Best President For Corporate Profits Since 1900


Since he came into office, Republicans have consistently attacked President Obama for supposedly being anti-business. As ThinkProgress noted last week, the data shows that this charge is nonsense.
In fact, as the financial website Motley Fool noted today, President Obama is far and away the best president for corporate profits since 1900:
Even if corporate profits under Obama are compared to the 2008 peak — in order to erase the effect of the financial crisis — “average annual corporate profit growth under President Obama is 6.8%,” or nearly three times as large as it was under President Reagan. Both Presidents Bush actually oversaw corporate profit declines during their terms. Meanwhile, real GDP growth per capita is far higher under Obama than it was under either Bush administration.

Romney wrongly claims Chrysler may move all Jeep production to China

LANSING, MI - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting heat for wrongly claiming in an Ohio rally Thursday night that Chrysler may move all Jeep production to China.
He apparently was referring to a recent Bloomberg story about Fiat, Chrylser's majority owner, returning Jeep output to China for the first time in at least a few years.
Chrysler now builds all Jeep SUV models in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, according to Bloomberg. In the story, the reporter wrote that Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia, "referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China."
Romney, however, told supporters in Defiance, Ohio, that he had read a story that Jeep "is thinking of moving all production to China" - prompting groans from the crowd. He may have been referencing conservative blogs or other stories that incorrectly concluded from the Bloomberg story that Jeep might close U.S. plants, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported Friday.
A Chrysler spokesman criticized those interpretations on Thursday even before Romney's made his comments.
"Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation," Gualberto Ranieri said.
Obama's Michigan campaign spokesman Matt McGrath told the News that Romney's comments were "blatantly false" and "speaks to how Romney will say absolutely anything to win votes."
The Romney campaign had no immediate comment Friday.

Top Romney Adviser: If You Own A Microwave, You Aren’t Really Poor


A top adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign denied the nation’s income inequality gap in a Wall Street Journal editorial on Thursday, brushing off the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of the very wealthy by arguing that lower-income Americans are buying more consumer goods.
“Today we hear that the gains from economic growth accrue to the highest-income earners while the standard of living of the poor and middle America stagnates and the gap between the richest and the poorest grows ever wider,” Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur argue. “That portrait of the country is wrong“:
Yet the access of low-income Americans—those earning less than $20,000 in real 2009 dollars—to devices that are part of the “good life” has increased. The percentage of low-income households with a computer rose to 47.7% from 19.8% in 2001. The percentage of low-income homes with six or more rooms (excluding bathrooms) rose to 30% from 21.9% over the same period.
Appliances? The percentage of low-income homes with air-conditioning equipment rose to 83.5% from 65.8%, with dishwashers to 30.8% from 17.6%, with a washing machine to 62.4% from 57.2%, and with a clothes dryer to 56.5% from 44.9%.
The percentage of low-income households with microwave ovens grew to 92.4% from 74.9% between 2001 and 2009. Fully 75.5% of low-income Americans now have a cell phone, and over a quarter of those have access to the Internet through their phones.
But this argument, a favorite of conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, is highly misleading. Appliances and commonly used consumer gadgets like cell phones are necessities in the 21st century and are significantly cheaper today than they were just decades earlier. In fact, were families to sell their appliances in order to help pay for food and other basic necessities, many would still struggle — for while prices on microwaves and air conditioners have fallen, “the real everyday basics such as quality child care and out-of-pocket medical costs” are “squeezing the budgets of the poor and middle-class alike.”
Hassett argues that safety net programs like “unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid” help families afford basic needs, further shrinking the nation’s income gap. But these programs are already failing to keep up with need and Romney and Ryan have proposed massive cuts to the safety net in order to pay down the deficit and finance a tax cut plan that is heavily skewed towards the rich.
Their approach would only exacerbate the differences between the rich and poor — a gap that has grown dramatically since the late 1970s. Indeed, compared to the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States has a Gini coefficient — a number that measures the distribution of income on a scale of 0 (perfectly equal) to 1 (perfectly unequal) — of 0.47 and ranks near the very bottom in inequality. America also suffers from the absolute highest “percentage of national income that went to the top 1 percent” and “has seen income inequality increase at a much faster rate than most other countries.”
This trend is already devastating the American democratic ideals of equal opportunity and upward mobility. Unfortunately, neither Romney nor his advisers can see the problem or offer the kind of tax and economic policies that will help solve it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Romney Plan: Bad For Iowans


CAP Action Releases New Report: “The True Cost of Romney-Ryan Plan to Iowans”
Washington, D.C. —The Center for American Progress Action Fund launched Romney University this summer to inject facts and policy into the national debate. Over the past month, CAP Action has been touring the country – traveling to 9 states, reaching over 25 cities and meeting with community leaders – releasing state specific reports taking a close look at the costs each American will pay for Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) policies that ask the middle class to pay more so the wealthiest Americans and huge corporations can pay less.
“Iowans are tired of the ads and hungry for facts, and this report lays out the evidence behind the fact that Romney’s plan would mean higher taxes, tuition, and health care costs for middle class families,” said Tom Perriello, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “This report highlights the fact that the Romney-Ryan plan will under-fund transportation and research, reward outsourcing, and ask struggling families and seniors to pick up the tab. Iowans deserve a just-the-facts tour that avoids the personality debates to focus on the practical impacts at the kitchen table.”
CAP Action today released “The True Cost of Romney-Ryan To Iowans.” Key findings of the report include:
Middle-class Iowans would pay more in taxes while millionaires pay less. Millionaires in the state would receive an additional $87,000 in tax breaks under the tax plans of Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan while middle-class families would pay up to $1,900 more in health care taxes and $1,066 more in taxes on their mortgages.
Jobs would decline across Iowa. Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan plan to provide extra tax incentives for corporations to outsource jobs and are pushing policy proposals to cripple the clean energy industry, jeopardizing 40,000 jobs across the state.
Drastic cuts to federal spending would shrink Iowa’s middle class. The state stands to lose more than $23.6 billion in federal funding from 2013 through 2022, an average of more than $2.3 billion a year, from cuts to schools, law enforcement, highway repairs, job-training programs and more.
These cuts would fall predominantly on middle-class and low-income families, especially cuts to education programs that would result in nearly $73 million in reduced federal support for education and job training in the state in 2013 and $169 million in 2014 alone.
Seniors in Iowa would lose health care benefits and pay more. Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would force seniors in the state to pay at least $585 more
for their prescription drugs each year. At the same time, the Romney-Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher would cost current seniors at least $11,000 more out of pocket.
Women in Iowa would pay more for health care but receive less. Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would once again allow insurance companies to charge women more than men while taking away preventive care from 520,000 women in the state.
Young adults in Iowa would lose access to their families’ health insurance. Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan promise to dismantle Obamacare, which would directly result in 20,000 young adults in Iowa losing the insurance they have today due to the Affordable Care Act.
CAP Action will be traveling to Des Moines, Mason City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City on the “True Cost of Romney-Ryan to Iowans” Tour.