Archive for September 17th, 2012

Obama hits China on trade and Romney on China | The Ticket – Yahoo! News


Obama hits China on trade and Romney on China | The Ticket – Yahoo! News.

Campaigning Monday in the pivotal battleground of Ohio, President Barack Obama hit China over allegedly underhanded competition that hurts American workers, and knocked Mitt Romney as being for unfair trade practices before he was against them.
Equality Armando Olmos

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“We don’t need folks who during election time suddenly are worrying about trade practices, but before the election are taking advantage of unfair trading practices,” Obama told a crowd of some 4,500 cheering supporters in Cincinnati.

The Republican presidential nominee has recently redoubled his attacks on the president over China as both men court blue-collar workers who blame Beijing’s rise for the decline of American manufacturing. It’s a sentiment with overwhelming support in Congress, where many accuse the rising economic power of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar—a move that helps keep its exports cheaper relative to American competition.

The former Massachusetts governor has promised that, if elected, he will formally designate China a currency manipulator, a step that could trigger retaliatory sanctions—and, many experts warn, precipitate a trade war.

Obama, who has sometimes struggled to reach white working-class voters, accused Romney of benefiting personally from seeing American manufacturing jobs flow to China. The president charged that, as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital, his rival invested in firms that moved jobs to Asia.

“He made money investing in companies that uprooted from here and went to China,” Obama said. “Now, Ohio, you can’t stand up to China when all you’ve done is sent them our jobs.”

The Romney campaign vigorously disputed that allegation, with spokesman Ryan Williams accusing the president of “recycling false and debunked attacks.”

“He can’t tell the people of Ohio about his record of fewer jobs, more debt, and lower incomes,” Williams said in a statement. “And even members of his own party have loudly condemned his inaction toward China.”

(The Republican National Committee also blasted out a series of quotes from Democrats, including Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, which had criticized the Obama administration for not designating China a currency manipulator. Obama aides say the yuan is artificially cheap, but that the issue is best addressed either at the World Trade Organization or through bilateral negotiations—even though such talks have yielded little progress. Legislation meant to escalate the pressure on Beijing has stalled in the Republican-held House of Representatives in the face of opposition from potent sectors of big business.)

Obama’s trip came as the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced new steps to challenge China’s allegedly improper subsidies to its auto and auto-parts sectors.

The Obama administration is also escalating another trade enforcement action, begun in July, against what it says are unfair anti-dumping and countervailing duties on some $3.3 billion in U.S. automobile exports to China.

“You can talk a good game, but I like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” Obama said.

Romney’s tough rhetoric on China reflects how a challenger can use foreign policy issues to his or her advantage: Candidate Obama did the same thing on China in 2008, pushing then-President George W. Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics. In 2000, candidate Bush hit the Clinton administration’s record on China and described the rising Asian power as a strategic competitor. And in 1992, candidate Bill Clinton accused then-President George H.W. Bush of accommodating the “butchers of Beijing.”

Each time, the candidate turned president muted his more strident criticisms and worked to bring Beijing into international institutions and get its cooperation on a range of thorny issues, like nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. Advisers to Romney insist that he would keep his pledge.
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U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney pauses as speaks to reporters in Los Angeles, California

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/David McNew)

Republican presidential candidate and …

Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney Speaks To Hispanic Business Owners

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U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, California

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Fighting Back Against Voter Disenfranchisement:1,000,000 New Voter IDs Or Bust! | Addicting Info


Fighting Back Against Voter Disenfranchisement:1,000,000 New Voter IDs Or Bust! | Addicting Info.

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Fighting Back Against Voter Disenfranchisement:1,000,000 New Voter IDs Or Bust!
September 17, 2012
By Deborah Montesano

Activists in Pennsylvania aren’t waiting for the state Supreme Court to issue a decision on the new voter ID law, which was recently upheld by a lower court. They’re rolling up their sleeves and getting to work to put 1,000,000 new state-issued ID’s into the hands of voters.

Although there has never been a prosecution for voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and though the state estimates that 758,000 people lack the required identification, a Commonwealth Court concluded that no one would be disenfranchised by the law. The requirements of the law are for citizens to produce a social security number, a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, plus two items showing their name and current address. Those without the latter can bring someone to verify their residence.

The state projects that they will issue only a few thousand IDs before the election, but that doesn’t fit with the plans of the activists. While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments on the law on Thursday and could still overturn it, activists aren’t willing to waste time waiting for their decision. In Philadelphia alone, an estimated 200,000 citizens lack the necessary ID. An organization called The Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition is conducting a widespread information and transportation effort in Philadelphia and beyond to help people understand what they need and to get them to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to get the identification.

Other activists are self-appointed, out of concern for the integrity of the voting process. According to National Public Radio (NPR), one resident of a low-income senior housing complex has helped about 80 residents who no longer drive get their identification. Another woman, Audrey Traynham, provided information to a crowd outside of the DMV. She said, “I wasn’t recruited by anyone. I just feel like it’s my civic duty to make sure … everybody has their chance to vote.” What a pity when the courts don’t feel the same!

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Republicans Accidentally Vote To End Welfare-To-Work Requirements | Addicting Info


Republicans Accidentally Vote To End Welfare-To-Work Requirements | Addicting Info.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act, a bill spearheaded by Republican Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joseph J. Heck, (R-NV), and Buck McKeon (R-CA), would allow states to group state and federal employment/training programs, such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), into a single fund. However, this has an apparently unforeseen side effect–it would take away federally mandated requirements for the programs.

That is the result found, at least, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The CRS is sometimes known as “Congress’ think tank” because of their nonpartisan policy and legal analysis services.

The funny thing here is that it is generally the conservatives in the government that are screaming about leftists all wanting a free lunch. By trying to accomplish their government-consolidation aims, they have, in effect, done exactly what they try to accuse President Barack Obama of. Talking Points Memo points out the irony:

“I don’t think the TANF work requirements were what they had in mind when they were working on the Foxx bill,” says Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “But it is sort of a collateral consequence.”

According to a brief written by CLASP, for the House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on the bill in June, the bill also “eliminates many of the requirements and mandates that governed the now consolidated streams.” The committee cleared the bill anyway.

That, of course, is exactly what Republicans are falsely claiming the Obama administration’s state waivers would do. In reality, those waivers are only on offer to states that can demonstrate that they have or will increase the number of people transitioning from welfare to work by at least 20 percent.

They go on to point out that, “The GOP’s legislation has no such safeguards. According to the Congressional Research Service analysis of the bill published this month, ‘[I]f TANF funds were consolidated into the [Workforce Investment Fund], TANF program requirements (e.g., work requirements) may no longer apply to that portion of funding because the TANF funding would not exist (i.e., it would be part of the WIF and thus subject to WIF program requirements).’”

A humorous situation indeed.

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Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States


Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States.

By Tara Culp-Ressler on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney
Republican lawmakers are continuing to delay setting up the state-run health insurance exchanges required under Obamacare as an act of resistance against President Obama’s health reform law. Even though the federal government will be forced to step in to implement exchanges for the states that don’t turn in their exchange plans for approval by November, some Republican governors are refusing to work on exchanges until after the election in case Mitt Romney wins and repeals Obamacare. However, despite the political battle over health care reform, not all Republican officials are convinced that refusing to set up health exchanges is the best course of action.

Reuters points out that some GOP officials like Mike Chaney, Mississippi’s insurance commissioner, have quietly worked against their party to take steps toward creating state-level insurance exchanges. Although his state’s lawmakers are deeply opposed to Obamacare — Mississippi was one of the 26 states that sued the administration over the health reform law — Chaney explained that resisting Obamacare’s health care exchange will force state officials to scramble after the November election:

Insurance officials like Chaney, however, want a better contingency plan in case the Republicans lose, as the 10-day window between the election and the exchange deadline will not give them enough time to prepare an exchange.

“They can’t just leave this to the will of the wind,” Chaney said in an interview.

“This isn’t about politics. It’s about following the law,” he added. “And I think I’m better equipped to operate an exchange in my state than the federal government.”

Chaney is not the only Republican to take this stance. Reuters interviewed half a dozen other Republican state health officials who agreed they would prefer to plan for state-run exchanges now rather than accept a federally-run exchange when the clock runs out, and some are working to do so. However, the contentious political climates in their states don’t always make this possible. Although Chaney said he worked “under the radar” to prepare for an exchange in Mississippi, mounting pressure from conservatives in the state curbed his work in mid-July, and he has since released a statement promising to hold off on any further work toward establishing an exchange until after the election.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has already urged Republican governors to embrace health care reform and take the necessary steps to set up exchanges in their states. As Frist and Chaney both point out, state-run exchanges are actually consistent with conservative federalist ideals. If Republican legislators continue to block them, they could help prove Chaney’s assertion that “this isn’t about politics” very wrong.