Posts tagged ‘Republicans’

‘Fiscal cliff’ deal: After rush of relief, debt ceiling clash already looms



'Fiscal cliff' deal: After rush of relief, debt ceiling clash already looms (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Just 10 hours before the New York stock exchange opened on Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House passed the Senate's "fiscal cliff" bill, 257-167, marking the first time that Republicans have, effectively, voted to raise income taxes in 20 years. Markets from Tokyo to Wall Street surged at the news that…

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Democrats Pickup 8 Seats In Congress For A Total Of 201 Republicans Hold 234



Democrats sweep last undecided House races (via AFP)

Democrats claimed victory Monday in the final undecided House races of the 2012 election, as President Barack Obama's party picked up a total of eight seats to narrow the Republican majority. Two closely watched races in California saw Republicans Dan Lungren and Brian Bilbray concede defeat to Democratic…

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Exclusive: Tea Party, Fracking Industry Launch Astroturf Campaign Against Mansfield, OH Community Bill of Rights Referendum



Exclusive: Tea Party, Fracking Industry Launch Astroturf Campaign Against Mansfield, OH Community Bill of Rights Referendum (via Desmogblog)

Ohio is referred to as a "battleground state" due to its status as a "swing state" in presidential elections. But another important battle is brewing in the Buckeye State, also set to be settled in the voting booth. This battle centers around a "Community Bill of Rights" referendum in Mansfield, OH…

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Are the Koch Brothers Borrowing from the KGB?


The Koch Brothers Are Vultures

Are the Koch Brothers Borrowing from the KGB?.

re the Koch Brothers Borrowing from the KGB?

By: Adalia WoodburySeptember 21st, 2012see more posts by Adalia Woodbury

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In the name of fulfilling their number one priority of making Obama a one term president, Republicans dedicated millions of dollars (2 million in Texas alone) to suppress the vote. Manipulating the vote is nothing new, be it with flawed voting machines or circulating misinformation to deceive Democrats into staying home.

These pale in comparison to the Republican war on the vote through legislative measures that include restricting early and absentee voting, restricting registration drives; and new voter ID requirements . In some cases like Florida, Republicans have gone to the extreme of purging voter registration lists.

Civil Rights Groups and the DOJ have battled these vote suppression laws in the courts and some cases are still working their way through the judicial system. In most cases (exception being Pennsylvania) voter suppression tactics were struck down because they violated the Voting Rights Act.

All voters should confirm that you are registered to vote no matter what state you live in. You should also confirm that the information is accurated. Make sure that the name you are registered under is exactly the same as the name on the ID you present at the polls.

The ALEC designed new rules are meant to make voting harder and in some cases impossible. It is important that you know if there are changes in your state and what those changes are. This is especially true if:

• You’re married and changed your name

• You’re a student and want to vote where you go to school

• You’ve recently moved

• You don’t have a birth certificate and can’t afford to get one

• You’re a working parent, a small business owner, or a young professional who relies on weekend voting

Perhaps the most insidious tactic is the change in voter ID requirements which unsurprisingly adversely affect minorities, people who work for a living and seniors. Generally, states that have enacted these rules require government issued photo ID that is current.

The reasons for this begin with the fact that Republicans don’t like the vote because when people vote, Republicans don’t do very well.

There are other more insidious reasons, like racism, whereby there are some people who believe the vote is a privilege only to be enjoy by old, white men who are ideally rich and own property.

Of course, Republicans won’t come out and say any of these things. Rather they resort to disinformation and propaganda about voter fraud. When it comes down to it, however, voter fraud is statistically non-existent in the United States. When pressed to point to examples of voter fraud in their state or in others under oath, Republicans will finally admit they cannot point to one example in their state or in another state.

Lipstick Liberal http://www.politicususa.com/gop-holds… explains the possible source for the tactics Republicans are using in their war on the vote.

Video:

Transcript

Lipstick Liberal – KOCH Bros. Voter ID ENGLISH Dialogue

Tea-partier, Republican and Conservative American, Russia is very impressed with way your American KGB men, Take control of country!

(Envelope “KGB Tactics for Voter Suppression”)

Mind Control!

Disinformation!

Propaganda!

Smoke Screens!

Censorship!

Just like my KGB man.

Now to suppress Russian voters, he just paid little money to many people, so they knew who to show their love too!

But, I mean…Just look at him.

Your Two KGB Men, they pay many, MANY more money to little people…so they know who to show their hate too!

But, I mean, just look at them?

Now, their comrades scream, “We must…

Interrogate!

Ask for papers!

Limit their freedoms!

Give them a little hope!

Then CRUSH them!

So now mjority who do not want American KBG Men to have such power, become little minority with no power at all.

Yes, very impressed with way KGB men take control of country! Just like my KGB Man!

Lipstick Liberal – KOCH Bros. Voter ID Russian Dialogue

Tea-partier, Republican and Conservative American, Russia is very impressed with way your American KGB men, Take control of country!

End of Transcript

In Memory of Jannan W. Ransom who worked tirelessly throughout her life in the name of protecting our freedoms, including the right to vote.

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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They Only Help The Rich But What About Us The 99 Percent; we’re the invisible people.


The Fed steps in, and stocks soar: Dow climbs 206 – Yahoo! News.

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market staged a huge rally Thursday after investors got the aggressive economic help they wanted from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones industrial average spiked more than 200 points and cleared 13,500 for the first time since the beginning of the Great Recession. The average is within 625 points of its all-time high.

The Fed said it would buy $40 billion of mortgage securities a month until the economy improves. It left open the possibilities of buying other assets and of buying long after the recovery picks up.

The central bank also extended its pledge of super-low short-term interest rates into 2015, and extended a program to drive down long-term rates.

It was the package known as QE3 — a third round of quantitative easing, in market-speak. And it was just what investors were hoping for.

“They’re saying that the punch bowl, the fuel for the economy, isn’t going away — it’s going to be here as long as you need it,” said Tony Fratto, a former aide to President George W. Bush and managing partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy consulting firm in Washington.

The Dow closed up 206.51 points, the seventh-biggest gain this year, at 13,539.86, its highest close since the last days of December 2007, the first month of the recession.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 23.43 points at 1,459.99, also its highest since December 2007. The Nasdaq composite index, which has been trading at its highest levels since 2000, was up 41.52 at 3,155.83.

David Abuaf, chief investment officer at Hefty Wealth Partners, said he expects investors to keep shifting from safer assets like government bonds to stocks. That could push stock prices higher and start a cycle of increased wealth and spending.

“People will feel more confident, consumers will buy more goods, and GDP growth will increase,” he said, referring to the gross domestic product, or economic output.

The stock market had already enjoyed a summer rally, in part because investors were betting on more Fed action. The Dow has climbed more than 1,100 points since the start of June.

Still, stocks spiked Thursday in industries across the economy. Materials companies, which tend to do well when the economy picks up, enjoyed the biggest gain — 2.6 percent as a group. Bank stocks also surged.

This is the third round of bond-buying by the Fed since the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008. The goal is to lower long-term interest rates, get people to borrow and spend more and push investors into stocks.

If history is any guide, stocks could rally a bit more. In the three months following March 2009, when the Fed said it would expand its first round of buying, the S&P 500 rose 18 percent. In the three months after the central bank hinted at a second round of buying in August 2010, the S&P rose 14 percent.

Some economists and investors have warned that the bond-buying will have a limited impact because interest rates are already near record lows.

Critics of the stock rally say investors should focus on why the Fed is acting in the first place: The U.S. economy is weak. Economic growth in China is also slowing, and much of Europe is in recession and struggling with high debt.

Earlier this month, Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, said the central bank would buy the debt of countries that use the euro and are desperate to keep their borrowing costs down.

“I’m not buying anything,” Gary Flam of Bel Air Investment Advisors said as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at a press conference.

Flam added, referring to Draghi and Bernanke: “These two guys are propping up market in the hope it will trickle down to the economy, but after several years of this we haven’t seen a sustainable impact. The underlying problems of debt and deficits remain.”

The Fed also lowered its outlook for economic growth this year to no stronger than 2 percent. That’s down from its forecast of 2.4 percent in June.

In Treasury trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell slightly to 1.73 percent from 1.79 percent late Wednesday. It had spiked to 1.84 percent as investors sold bonds after the Fed announcement.

The dollar fell slightly against major currencies. It tumbled almost a penny against the euro, which rose to a hair under $1.30.

The price of gold climbed to its highest level since February — $1,772 an ounce, a gain of $38, or 2 percent. When the Fed buys bonds, gold often rises, both because investors fear inflation and because a weaker dollar makes gold more expensive.

The trading day didn’t begin well. European markets were falling and U.S. futures slid, suggesting stocks might fall when U.S. markets opened.

In addition to worries about what the Fed might do, investors were rattled by turmoil in the Middle East. Protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital earlier in the day, and there was violence around the U.S. mission in Cairo. The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed Tuesday.

Stocks rose after the open but barely. Then the Fed released a statement about its moves shortly after 12:30 p.m., and prices began to climb steadily. Some Fed watchers homed in on a pledge to keep stimulating the economy for a “considerable” time “after” it appears to have strengthened. That is stronger language than the central bank had used before.

Then Bernanke started speaking at the press conference at around 2:15, and stocks shot up. A few minutes into the conference, the Dow was up nearly 240 points.

“We are looking for ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market,” Bernanke told reporters. “There’s not a specific number in mind. But what we’ve seen in the last six months isn’t it.”

In other news Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in two months, though the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac.

The figures come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, far below the average 226,000 a month added in the January-March quarter.

The government also said that wholesale prices rose 1.7 percent in August, the most in three years. They were driven up by higher costs for gas and food. Removing the impact of energy and food, however, the increase in prices has been mild.

Among stocks making moves, Pall Corp. rose $4.63, or 8 percent, to $62.80. The company, which makes filtration equipment, posted net income that beat Wall Street predictions.

Apple climbed $13.19, or 2 percent, to $682.98. On Wednesday, the company unveiled an iPhone with a bigger screen and faster download speeds.

On Wednesday, the Dow rose to a four-year high after Germany’s highest court rejected calls to block the creation of Europe’s rescue fund for indebted governments.

The Fed action combined with the Middle East turmoil pushed crude prices up to above $98 a barrel of the first time in more than four months. Oil rose $1.30 to close at $98.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

There were nearly four stocks rising for every one falling. Volume was high, 4.5 billion shares.

___

AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode contributed to this report.

Florida primary saw early voting surge across state – Tampa Bay Times


Florida primary saw early voting surge across state – Tampa Bay Times.

TALLAHASSEE — More people took advantage of early voting in last month’s Florida primary than in any primary before it, despite Democratic fears that fewer days of early voting would suppress turnout.

According to state elections officials, more than 367,000 people went to early voting centers, or about one of six voters who showed up. That compares to 363,000 in the 2010 primary and 240,000 in 2008 (Florida has had early voting since 2002).

Even more voters cast absentee ballots through the mail.

Kate Graves of Brandon voted at the Bloomingdale branch library six days before the primary, one of more than 20,000 Hillsborough residents who voted early.

“It’s the convenience factor,” the 79-year-old retiree says. “At my age, I don’t like standing in line. As soon as they opened up the voting, I took advantage.”

Graves has something else in common with other early voters: like the majority of them, she’s a Democrat.

In the five counties with the most early voters in the primary, Democrats made up 51 percent of voters and Republicans 39 percent, with the rest not affiliated with a party.

Many factors influence turnout from the weather to voter interest in primary races to the date of the election. The primary on Aug. 14 was two weeks earlier than usual, and the statewide turnout was 20.5 percent.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature’s decision to cut early voting days from 14 to eight in 2011 remains highly controversial. Democrats accuse Republicans of seeking to manipulate, for partisan advantage, a type of voting favored by Democrats, especially African-Americans, while Republicans say the new scheme adds flexibility.

Many more people are expected to vote early in the presidential election in November, and elections officials are emphasizing the convenience of voting early due to the unusually lengthy ballot, with 11 proposed state constitutional amendments.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice gave final approval to the eight-day early voting schedule in five counties that are under U.S. civil rights oversight. All five will offer 12 hours of early voting from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3, as a panel of federal judges had proposed.

In the primary, those five counties — Hillsborough, Monroe, Collier, Hardee and Hendry — offered 12 days of early voting instead of eight because they were still bound by the old election laws.

Early voting turnout in those counties in the primary was greater, said University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith.

Smith compared early voting in the five “covered” counties with the rest of the state and found that early voting was higher in counties with more early voting days. He said that shows that longer early voting periods boost voter turnout.

Smith and a fellow researcher, Michael Herron of Dartmouth College, found that 18.96 percent of voters voted early in five counties with more early voting days, compared with 15.39 percent who voted early in the rest of the state.

The largest of those five counties, by far, is Hillsborough.

The story of early voting is vastly different on the other side of Tampa Bay.

The only urban county where early voting remains very unpopular is Pinellas, where Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark emphasizes the ease of absentee voting by mail instead.

Voters are heeding Clark’s message: Fewer people voted early in Pinellas last month than in comparatively tiny Monroe County in the Florida Keys.

A mere 1,612 Pinellas voters cast ballots at one of three early voting sites, while 102,341 cast absentee or mail ballots. A total of 140,000 people voted county-wide, a 23 percent turnout.

The mail-in voters included William Ott, 67, of Clearwater, a Largo High School graduate who has been voting in Pinellas since 1966 and who remembers a bad experience with long lines in a past election. That and health issues changed his method of voting.

“I finally gave up and said, ‘Okay, I’m going to vote absentee,” Ott said. “I didn’t want to do it. I enjoyed the experience of going down to the polls on Election Day.”

Ott likes a feature on the Pinellas elections website that allows him to track his ballot to be sure it’s counted. “Now that’s kind of cool,” he said.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at bousquet@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

EARLY VOTING TOTALS

These five counties had the most early voters in the Aug. 14 primary election:

Miami-Dade 38,670

Hillsborough 20,213

Orange 17,818

Duval 17,697

Broward 16,335

State total 367,205

Source: Department of State

DEMOCRATS FAVOR EARLY VOTING

A breakdown by party in the five counties that had the most early voters:

County Democrat Republican Other

Miami-Dade 20,477 12,824 5,369

Hillsborough 8,463 10,503 1,247

Orange 8,702 7,290 1,826

Duval 8,260 8,476 961

Broward 10,735 4,288 1,303

Sources: County supervisors of elections