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   PoliticsView from the Center and Left

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To: Sam who wrote (198429)8/24/2012 8:57:33 AM
From: epicure
   of 521971
Look, the reps have wiped their own minds. Who doesn't remember how passionately sure they were about Iraq? Turned out to be a bullshit war, a bad idea, and a colossal waste of money. Are they in the streets doing Mea Culpas? Nope. These losers, almost to a man, can't own up to their poor decisions- they just move on and expect you to ignore the smell on their shoes. No wonder they like the Mitten- he's a lying sneak, who will totally screw up our country, so he's just like them.

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To: Sam who wrote (198429)8/24/2012 9:04:48 AM
From: John Hinderaker
   of 521971
Actually, I supported Romney throughout the primary process. I also have written extensively about his record as governor, which was more conservative than most people realize.

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To: John Hinderaker who wrote (198432)8/24/2012 9:14:33 AM
From: epicure
   of 521971
If you are conservative, you don't belong here. Of course you can pick up a ban if you want one. You might want to read the introduction to the thread. It's pretty up front about who is welcome here.

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To: Sam who wrote (198429)8/24/2012 9:17:53 AM
From: Dale Baker
   of 521971
That's what happens when politics and economics are reduced to theology. The only requirement is blind belief in the icon in front of you. Facts, reason, history, logic.....nothing trumps the sacred beliefs in The Cause.

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From: epicure8/24/2012 9:18:55 AM
   of 521971
The Middle Class Is Broke: Pew Study Reveals Real Problem With EconomyBy Henry Blodget | Daily Ticker – 21 hours ago

Video Player ControlsOne of the most important stories in the U.S. economy these days is the rise of extreme inequality.

Over the past 30 years, a larger and larger portion of America's income growth has gone to those in the top 10% of incomes, and especially those in the top 1%. This is a major change from the prior 60 years, in which the top 10% and the bottom 90% shared in the income gains.

A stark and startling example of this trend is the fact that, adjusted for inflation, "average hourly earnings" in this country have not increased in 50 years.

[Related: The 'American Dream' Is a Myth: Joseph Stiglitz on 'The Price of Inequality']

A recent Pew study confirms that America's middle class has recently experienced a "lost decade."

Since 2000, the Pew says, "the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future." Pew cites statistics showing that middle class earnings and net worth have plummeted since the mid-2000s and that about 85% of the middle class say it is harder to maintain their standard of living than it was 10 years ago.

The reason the decline of the middle class is important is not just about fairness. It's about the health of the economy as a whole.

Collectively, the middle class represents enormous buying and spending power, and in the past 60 years this spending power has helped the U.S. economy become the envy of the world.

[Related: 'Unintended Consequences': Former Bain Exec Sparks Controversy Over Income Inequality]

But now, however, the middle class is increasingly strapped. And the resulting impact on spending is constraining the growth of companies that sell products and services to American consumers.

The causes of this middle-class decline are many, from globalization (jobs being shipped overseas), to the decline of private-sector unions, to the wholesale embrace of a "shareholder value" religion that values profit over everything else that companies produce. But the result of the trend can be seen vividly in two charts.

First, wages are now at an all-time low as a percent of the economy.

Second, corporate profits are now at an all-time high.

To truly "fix" the U.S. economy, corporations are going to have to be persuaded to invest more of their excess profits in their employees, both by hiring new employees and paying existing employees more. "Wages" to employees become spending money for those employees, and the spending produces revenue for other companies. If corporations can collectively be persuaded to reinvest more of their profits in their people, in other words, they will help restore their own revenue growth.

Henry Ford famously decided to pay his workers more than he had to to keep them. One result of this was that the workers made enough money to be able to buy Ford's cars, and this made Ford more successful. Another result, which is considered irrelevant in some business circles, is that Ford employees were able to live middle-class lives. This helped not only Ford, but the country.

Our current economic problem is not likely to be solved by the government, which possesses neither the power nor the competence to make it happen. The problem will have to be solved by the private sector. And one important part of that solution is for corporations to share more of their wealth with one very important (and often overlooked) corporate constituency: Their employees.

SEE ALSO: Here's How To Fix The Economy--In One Simple Chart.

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From: Suma8/24/2012 9:29:02 AM
   of 521971

Published on Alternet (
Home > Romney's New Energy Plan Would Doom Humanity

AlterNet [1] / By Tara Lohan [2]

Romney's New Energy Plan Would Doom Humanity

August 23, 2012 |

Let's not mince words -- we're on thin ice. And it's getting rapidly thinner. We're breaking records faster than Usain Bolt but unfortunately we're running top speed toward the endgame. Our place in the record books is beside titles like "hottest" and "driest" and "most rapidly warming." This is the hottest year on record [3] so far and today we learned that, "The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth at the moment." This comes from an international team [4] of climate scientists and the findings are just the latest in a stack that don't bode well for a livable planet.

As Bill McKibben wrote [5] in Rolling Stone last month, "Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I've spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we're losing the fight, badly and quickly -- losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in."

Nowhere is that denial playing out more clearly than with the Romney-Ryan ticket. Here's a look at their energy plan and their past record on the environment.

An Energy Plan for the 19th Century

The crux of Mitt Romney's newly unveiled energy plan is "energy independence" -- a phrase so bandied by politicians that it has lost all significance. In fact, according to Foreign Policy [6], it has been promised by every president since Nixon. So what's different about Romney's plan? Well not much, it's mostly more of the same from the GOP "drill, baby, drill" crowd.

Before we get to the details of where exactly Romney hopes to drill (spoiler altert: watch out Virginia), here's a crucial tidbit. As Philip Bump writes [7] for Grist, "Romney pledges energy independence by 2020. It's important to note, though, that he doesn't pledge American energy independence by that date; rather, he proposes North American independence."

This roughly translates to "you can't build the Keystone XL pipeline fast enough." (The plan [8] also calls for instituting a "fast-track regulatory approval processes for cross-border pipelines and other infrastructure.") And the unfortunate thing about calls for energy independence is that it's a sham. Just because coal, gas and oil are mined and drilled on US soil (or under its waters), it doesn't mean it will stay in this country. Just ask the group of folks in Montana who were arrested last week [9] protesting the coal that's being blasted from the mountains there only to be shipped to China. Then there is the new 25-year deal for West Virginians and Kentuckians to send their coal to India [10].

You know what type of energy is really hard to export? Solar and wind. But sadly, there's not too much love for that in Romney's plan, which is mostly stuck in the 19th century. There is no mention of cutting the billions of dollars in subsidies for Big Oil. What Romney does want is to be able to open up more federal (read: public) lands for fossil fuel extraction and he wants the federal government to have little oversight in this matter. Individual states should be able to handle the permitting, according to Romney. Apparently Romney's energy advisors have failed to realize that pollution doesn't stop at state borders. In perhaps the most radical part of his plan [8] Romney he spells out that:

    States will be empowered to establish processes to oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands within their borders, excluding on lands specially designated off-limits; State regulatory processes and permitting programs for all forms of energy development will be deemed to satisfy all requirements of federal law; Federal agencies will certify state processes as adequate, according to established criteria that are sufficiently broad, to afford the states maximum flexibility to ascertain what is most appropriate; and The federal government will encourage the formation of a State Energy Development Council, where states can work together along with existing organizations such as STRONGER and the IOGCC to share expertise and best management practices
So, the faster we can drill and mine, and with the least regulatory oversight is best. Daniel J. Weiss wrote [11] for Think Progress that, "a similar proposal was too radical even for arch conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed a bill turning all federal lands over to her state."

Or as RLMiller summarized [12] on Daily Kos:

Frack up federal lands, drill for polar bears, and trample sage grouse habitat! North Dakota can permit a gas well in 10 days because state regulators have been thoroughly captured and held hostage to Bakken field operators, isn't that awesome? Because nothing says "federalism" like the state of Utah telling the federal government that it has no right to tell the state what to do on federal lands!

Don't worry, all the drilling won't just be taking place on land -- offshore drilling is great, too, and we don't need to go all the way to Alaska when we can begin by drilling right off the East coast. The plan calls for establishing, "A new five-year offshore leasing plan that aggressively opens new areas for development beginning with those off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas."

And of course all the drilling we do on the homefront still won't protect us from higher gas prices. "As various energy experts have argued, there's no such thing as 'true' oil independence," writes [13] Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. "Oil is traded on the world market. If tensions in the Middle East cause prices to spike, everyone is affected, regardless of where they get their crude. The easiest way to observe this is to look at Canada. Canada is a net oil exporter, a bona fide oil-independent nation. But gasoline prices in Canada still rise and fall in accordance with world events, just as they do in the United States or Japan or Europe."

It seems that Romney is not all that good at math. He has a few more problems with numbers in his plan. As David Lazarus writes [14] for the Los Angeles Times:

Following his plan, Romney says, would create 3 million new jobs, $1 trillion in government revenue, a stronger dollar and lower energy prices.

You gotta wonder why President Obama hasn't figured all this out for himself.

Wait, what's this? It's a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which says that 70% of the nation's oil and gas reserves are already available for drilling.

Opening the rest for drilling, it says, would increase government receipts from an estimated $150 billion under current policy to $175 billion to $200 billion over the next 10 years.

Gosh, kind of makes you wonder where those millions of jobs and additional $800 billion in cash will come from.

The faults with Romney's plan aren't just with what he said, but it's also with what he doesn't say. There is zero mention of climate change. This isn't surprising of course, because of the GOP's politicizing of science, but it is still a shame. There is also no mention of the drought, which has affected half of the country this summer, and no mention of the critical role that freshwater plays in our every part of our lives -- energy, included.

Partners in Crime

Like John McCain, Romney's stance on environmental issues has gotten worse the higher he has climbed in the GOP. As Andrew Schenkel wrote [15] last year for Mother Nature Network, "As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported a carbon-trading pact among Northeastern states that, like his health care bill, served as a potential model for a national version. Romney even said of the plan, 'I am convinced it is good for business.'" Is candidate Romney supporting anything close to that these days? Heck no!

He has even started to waffle and dodge on the issue of climate change's mere existence. This has prompted Bill McKibben's to issue a petition [16] calling for Romney to come clean on his position on climate change and what he'd do solve the climate crisis.

All this is not too surprising considering his company these days. As Weiss wrote [11]:

Romney's energy team is comprised of oil and coal industry insiders, from oil billionaire Harold Hamm, the chair of Romney's energy policy team -- and $1 million donor to the conservative Restore Our Future Super PAC -- to coal lobbyist Jim Talent, as well as retreads from the George W. Bush administration. Politico described it as "Bush energy advisors going to Romney."

The tapping of Koch favorite Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate leaves little to chance on how this ticket stacks up for the environment. Weiss again [11]:

Both Romney's plan and the House-passed Ryan budget would retain $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks for the big five oil companies -- BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell -- that made a record $137 billion in profits last year, and over $60 billion so far in 2012. Perhaps more outrageous is that the Romney-Ryan proposed cut in the corporate tax rate would provide a $2.3 billion tax cut for the big five oil companies. With the existing tax breaks, the big five companies would skim over $4 billion annually from the U.S. Treasury. ...

The worldwide market for clean energy technologies will be $2 trillion by 2020. Yet Romney and Ryan would cede this market to other nations by opposing incentives to help emerging technologies grow to scale. Romney and Ryan oppose the extension of the Production Tax Credit to encourage wind energy. The PTC helped the U.S. double its wind electricity generation over the past four years, and ending it could cost at least 37,000 jobs this year. An American Wind Energy Association analysis predicts that New Mexico and Texas could lose up to 5,000 and 20,000 jobs, respectively, if the PTC expires.

Ryan solidifies the plan for helping Big Oil cronies. Over the 7 terms he has served in Congress, Ryan's scorecard [17] with the League of Conservation Voters has fallen from 27 percent to a dismal 3 percent. He has voted [18] to deauthorize critical habitat for endangered species, is in favor of drilling in the Alaska's prized Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, thinks we should sell off more federal lands. He doesn't believe that the EPA should regulate greenhouse gases, or that we should have enforceable limits on global warming pollution. He has also voted against tax credits for renewable energy but also is against removing subsidies for oil and gas exploration.

So what does a Romeny-Ryan ticket look like for the environment? It looks like we'll be on the fast-track to the top of the list for more "hottest" and "driest" records for our climate, while making sure Big Oil continues to top the "richest" lists as well. And the feeling's mutual -- the AP reported [19] that Romney pocketed $7 million just this week from industry executives in Texas.

See more stories tagged with:

romney [20],
ryan [21],
energy [22],
election2012 [23]

Source URL:

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To: Cogito who wrote (198425)8/24/2012 9:33:23 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 521971
He's not happy about giving to the church, either.

The Romneys on tithing [the Mormon practice of giving 10 percent of one’s income to the church]:

I love tithing. When Mitt and I give that check, I actually cry.

MR: So do I, but for a different reason. …

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To: epicure who wrote (198427)8/24/2012 9:35:05 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 521971
"Other presidents have tithed, and managed to cough up their tax records."

His father? Not pres, but did release 12 years.

Willard gives weasels a bad name.

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (198438)8/24/2012 9:40:05 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 521971
Romney Energy Plan Would Let States and His Oil Donors Drill On Public Lands

By Public Lands Team on Aug 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

By Jessica Goad

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today released his energy plan with a speech in New Mexico. One of the most controversial pieces of the plan would give states control over energy development on federal public lands, a policy that would likely allow energy companies more access to them, allow bypassing of federal public health and environmental safeguards, and decrease certainty for companies and the public.

It is an extreme proposal, especially from a candidate who admitted that he did not know the “purpose of” public lands. But an analysis of Romney’s top energy advisers, donors, and the ideas of the American Legislative Exchange Council may shed some light on the origins of this proposal.

A number of advisers and donors close to Romney own oil and coal leases on public lands, showing their business interest in opening these places to development:

- Romney’s top energy advisor is oil baron Harold Hamm, who made his $11 billion fortune developing shale oil in North Dakota. His company, Continental Resources, has permits to drill for oil on public lands, some of which were approved as recently as this month in Montana and North Dakota. Hamm also has given $1 million to Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super-PAC.

- Another Romney energy advisor is ex-Senator Jim Talent (R-MO), a lobbyist who has Peabody Energy, one of the nation’s biggest coal producers, amongst his firm’s clients. Peabody and its subsidiaries have coal leases on federal lands in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, and just yesterday paid only $0.25 per ton, or $750,000, for the rights to mine more than 3 million tons of publicly-owned coal.

- Bill Koch, brother to Charles and David Koch, has given at least $2 million to Restore Our Future. A subsidiary of Koch’s company, the Oxbow Corporation, owns and operates the Elk Creek coal mine on public lands in Colorado which is expanding its operations.

Romney’s plan to turn over decisions about energy development on federal lands to the states also recalls similar proposals promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing corporate front group that designs pro-corporate legislation for state legislators and is funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Koch Industries.

By way of comparison, this year ALEC endorsed legislation in Utah that would turn 30 million acres of federal public lands to the state. Documents from show that as early as 1995, the group had penned the “ Sagebrush Rebellion Act,” a model law “designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of unappropriated lands from the federal government to the states.”

Additionally, ALEC has frequently touted the superiority of state regulations over those of the federal government. For instance, it developed a model bill that would prevent states from complying with federal safeguards unless they are consistent with state law. As the Center for Media and Democracy put it, this bill is “ largely at odds with Supreme Court jurisprudence.”

The desire for more access to public lands for drilling is nothing new for the oil and gas industry, which has been relentless it its push for opening more acres to oil and gas production. This is despite the fact that drilling is alive and well on public lands—indeed, the Bureau of Land Management held three of its five biggest oil and gas lease sales in the agency’s history in 2011.

The idea of turning public lands that belong to all American over to the states was too extreme even for conservative Republican and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who said upon her veto of a bill mandating this that she is “… concerned about the lack of certainty this legislation could create for individuals holding existing leases on federal lands. Given the difficult economic times, I do not believe this is the time to add to that uncertainty.”

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (198439)8/24/2012 9:48:11 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 521971
GOP Rep Tipton Won’t Acknowledge Human-Caused Climate Change Because It Would ‘Divide America’

By Scott Keyes on Aug 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)

FORT GARLAND, Colorado — Man-made climate change may be helping to devastate the western half of the country with droughts and wildfires, but acknowledging its existence is problematic because it would “divide America,” according to a leading Tea Party congressman.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Scott Tipton (R-CO) conceded that climate change exists, but argued that it’s caused by natural climate cycles rather than humans. “Here in the state of Colorado as our tree rings demonstrate, we’ve had droughts long before there were very many people here,” the Tea Party freshman argued. Acknowledging that humans can affect the climate is futile because it would “divide America,” said Tipton.

KEYES: The drought’s obviously been a huge issue not only in Colorado but the western half of the country. Is this something that you think is evidence of human-caused climate change or is this something that’s just normal weather?

TIPTON: Is there climate change? I live in the shadow of some of the greatest climate change the world has ever seen. It’s called the Rocky Mountains. When the glaciers went back.

KEYES: Human-caused climate change.

TIPTON: I think we need to be very cautious in trying again to divide America. You’re either for or against. Let’s do things responsibly. Let’s make sure we’ve got great technology now that we’re able to take advantage of. Do we have cycles that we’ve gone through? The rings on the trees tell us so. That does not absolve us of the responsibility of just being responsible and making good, common-sense decisions. Here in the state of Colorado as our tree rings demonstrate, we’ve had droughts long before there were very many people here.

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