Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Why Is God Punishing The GOP With These Storms?
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “…we claim no special answers about the nature of ultimate reality or the Deity, much less the specifics of God’s preferred policy proposals. But here are three possible sources for all this windborne wrath: 1. The GOP’s anti-poor, anti-woman Poverty Plank … 2. That reported ban on Sharia law … 3. The Party would deny needed healthcare services to children…”
Ann Romney, Chris Christie Headline Convention Tonight
Ann Romney scheduled to speak tonight. McClatchy: “…she will deliver one of the most important speeches of the Republican National Convention, a potentially pivotal moment meant to help voters see her husband as she does and perhaps overcome one of the main challenges of his candidacy. Her remarks are considered so important to her husband’s prospects that the campaign shuffled the calendar to make sure her address would be televised on the broadcast networks.”
Keynoter Chris Christie’s speech tonight may highlight what’s gone wrong in NJ. State Sen. Barbara Buono in Politico oped: “On taking office, Christie cut state aid for education by $1.1 billion, slashed property tax relief for senior citizens and cut government worker pensions — breaking campaign promises in all three cases … Christie’s personal and political ideology has cost New Jersey billions of dollars in federal aid for education, transportation and women’s health funding … To prove that New Jersey can afford a big tax cut, Christie put out a budget that projects that the state will take in 7.3 percent more revenue this fiscal year – a wildly optimistic figure … When a highly-respected, veteran budget expert for the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services questioned those numbers, Christie did what he always does: He went on YouTube and attacked Legislative Budget and Finance Officer David Rosen as the ‘Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers.’”
Republican divisions show. Time: “Small groups of delegates brandished signs promoting Ron Paul … others advertised support for Todd Akin … And while Romney may not be beloved by the party faithful himself, his emergence from a crowded primary field speaks to the party’s thirst for a candidate capable of ousting Obama.”
Voucherizing Medicare is in the GOP platform, notes Paul Krugman: “…the draft Republican platform says of Medicare and Medicaid, ‘The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.’ That means that instead of Medicare as we know it, which pays your medical bills, you’d get a lump sum which you can apply to private insurance — they’ll yell when we call it a voucher, but that’s what it is. No doubt I and others will have much more to say about this, but let’s just ask the question: why is this ‘fiscally sound’?”
Today’s Republicans would call Reagan a socialist, says Bloomberg Insider : “During Reagan’s eight years in the White House, the federal payroll grew by more than 300,000 workers. Although he was a net tax cutter who slashed individual income-tax rates, Reagan raised taxes about a dozen times … he was willing to cut deals, working closely with Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts to overhaul Social Security and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois to revamp the tax code.”
Romney Can’t Stop The Race-Baiting
Chris Matthews elaborates why he took on RNC chair for denying Romney’s race-baiting campaign. Politico quotes: “…this is something I care passionately about: race was abused by white politicians in my lifetime, including Reagan. For someone to come on the program and deny that this is part of their process, I couldn’t take that.”
Romney says Obama’s state welfare waiver program is intended to “shore up his base.” NYT’s David Firestone calls Romney “ludicrous”: “…if Mr. Obama intended his welfare waiver as a political trumpet blast to his base, he had a very strange way of showing it. The actual waivers – which do nothing more than give states some flexibility in dealing with the work requirement, as long as they move 20 percent more people back to work – were never publicly announced by the administration. They were originally dug out of federal regulations by conservative welfare ideologues who smelled smoke where there was no fire … In addition, the waivers were actually a response to a request for flexibility by governors, including several Republicans. Not exactly a base that the president needs to shore up.”
NYT chronicles Romney’s shift from pro-government moderate to anti-government right-winger: “…a review of the positions that Mr. Romney has taken on economic issues during his two decades in politics reveals a recurring tension between his political commitments and his private sector experience at Bain Capital, which he often cited earlier in his political career in advocating a larger government role in the economy. Mr. Romney has propounded the benefits of expanding and enforcing regulations, including the minimum wage and environmental laws. He has argued that government spending, including public investments in private companies, can stimulate the economy and create jobs. And he has advocated tax penalties to shape public behavior, as in his successful campaign to penalize Massachusetts residents who do not obtain health insurance.”
Isaac Rains Down On Anti-Government Attack
Hurricanes complicate Republican anti-government message. LAT: “For all their budget-cutting ardor, most Republicans do not openly advocate the closure of, say, the National Hurricane Center or FEMA, though some have demanded that spending for disaster relief be offset by cuts elsewhere. But the budgets that Romney and Paul D. Ryan have advocated would force huge reductions in domestic programs, which would include those areas. The danger for them is that the response to Isaac will show government as less a problem than a solution.”
LA Gov. Jindal complains he won’t get enough federal dollars, despite federal emergency declaration. AP: “The White House said Obama informed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal of the emergency declaration in a phone call. The declaration makes federal support available to save lives, protect public health and safety and preserve property in coastal areas … ‘We appreciate your response to our request and your approval,’ Jindal wrote. ‘However, the state’s original request for federal assistance …. included a request for reimbursement for all emergency protective measures. The federal declaration of emergency only provides for direct federal assistance.’”
Isaac may prompt release of oil reserve reports Bloomberg.
President to rally students during GOP convention. Time: “As Republicans hold their party convention in Florida this week, the president will make a personal appeal to college voters in three university towns: Ames, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Charlottesville, Va … Democrats say Ryan’s budget would cut funding for Pell Grants, the federal need-based program for students, and Obama’s campaign is running television advertisements in battleground states trying to link Romney to that plan.”
Voter rights advocates win one in Ohio. W. Post: “A federal judge ruled Monday that Ohio must count improperly cast ballots this fall if the mistake is caused by an election worker rather than the voter … The decision could mean that thousands of votes that otherwise would have been rejected — most of them cast in urban areas where Democrats are concentrated — will have to be counted.”
Top official in Lubbock County, TX wants tax increase to fund armed insurrection against President Obama. NYT quotes: “He is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N.. O.K., what’s going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst-case scenario: civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe. And we’re not talking just a few riots here and demonstrations. We’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy … I don’t want [UN troops] in Lubbock County. O.K. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carriers and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’ And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him. I said, ‘You gonna back me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll back you.’”
58% say the wealthy don’t pay enough in taxes in new Pew poll.
OurFuture.org’s Robert Borosage talks to Charlotte’s public radio WFAE about what is destroying the middle class.