Nel's New Day

February 7, 2013

Cantor Works to Rebrand the GOP

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:30 PM
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cantor-capitolSo I’m gone for a few days, and when I get back the GOP has turned into a kinder and gentler rendition. Really!? “Over the next two years, the House (Republican) majority will pursue an agenda based on a shared vision of creating the conditions for health, happiness and prosperity for more Americans and their families,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.

For this speech, he must have saved money in not hiring a speech-writer. Instead he copied his words from President Obama’s Kansas speech in 2011.

Fair Shot at Success

President Obama: “Well, it starts by making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. The truth is we’ll never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to who’s best at letting their businesses pay the lowest wages, who’s best at busting unions, who’s best at letting companies pollute as much as they want.”

Cantor: “Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams. In America, we do have higher expectations for our nation. Since our founding, we believed we could be the best hope to mankind. That hope led generations of immigrants to risk everything, to endure a tough journey to our shores, looking for a better future.”

Innovation

President Obama: “The world is shifting to an innovation economy and nobody does innovation better than America. Nobody does it better. No one has better colleges. Nobody has better universities. Nobody has a greater diversity of talent and ingenuity. No one’s workers or entrepreneurs are more driven or more daring.”

Cantor: “A good education leads to more innovation. Throughout our history, American colleges and universities have served as the crucible for the world’s innovation. They are a big part of why the United States remains the destination for the world’s best and brightest. Investment in education leads to innovation, which leads to more opportunity and jobs for all.”

Skills and Training

President Obama: “We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training at community colleges so they can learn how to make wind turbines and semiconductors and high-powered batteries.”

Cantor: “As job markets are changing, more skills training and education are needed. Federal jobs training programs ought to make it easier for Americans who are out of work or who are changing careers to get the skills they need.”

The difference between the two speeches? The president followed up his statements with examples; Cantor did not. This is what they intend:

School Funding: “Students, including those without a lot of money or those with special needs, would be able to access the best available school, not just the failing school they are assigned to.” The House GOP budget calls for a $2.7 billion cut in spending for disadvantaged students.

Higher Education: “Over the course of this Congress, we will also work to reform our student aid process to give students a financial incentive to finish their studies sooner. We will encourage entrepreneurship in higher education, including for-profit schools.” The House GOP budget eliminates Pell Grants for more than one million students while for-profit corporate schools take huge amounts of taxpayer money that leave students burdened with debt and facing bleak job prospects.

Working Mothers: “Federal laws dating back to the 1930s make it harder for parents who hold hourly jobs to balance the demands of work and home. An hourly employee cannot convert previous overtime into future comp-time or flex-time…Imagine if we simply chose to give all employees and employers this option. A working mom could work overtime this month and use it as time off next month without having to worry about whether she’ll be able to take home enough money to pay the rent.” Because of the GOP, the U.S. is the only developed country with no paid sick leave policy and one of just three without required paid maternity leave.

Tax Reform: “Loopholes and gimmicks benefitting those who’ve come to know how to work the system in Washington, are no more defensible than the path of wasteful and irresponsible spending we’ve been on for decades. Working families should come first. Everyone agrees a fairer, simpler tax code would give us all more time.” The House GOP refuses to close loopholes and deductions for the wealthy and corporations that allow them to pay less tax than the middle class.

Immigration: “It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home…. I’m pleased that many of my colleagues in both chambers of Congress on both sides of the aisle have begun work in good faith to address these issues.” In 2010, Cantor and 160 other Republicans voted against the Dream Act, a measure that “would offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who attend college or serve in the military.”

Obamacare: “The new medical device tax in ObamaCare makes it harder for researchers to develop these innovative devices in the U.S…. ObamaCare has unnecessarily raised the costs of our health care.“ The GOP refuses to place a tax on the medical device industry–which will benefit from health care reform—to fund coverage expansion, without undermining innovation.

Medicare: “We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services. We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans….” The president has included these efficiency reforms in his budgets, but the GOP wants to change President Obama has included many of these efficiency reforms in his budgets transform Medicare into a voucher or premium-support program, making seniors pay far more than they do now.

Medicaid: “We can provide states more flexibility with respect to Medicaid that will allow them to provide better care for low-income families in a way that ultimately lowers costs…. And we must make it faster and simpler for states to gain approval of federal waivers to modify their Medicaid programs.” The Democrats support this flexibility, but the GOP, including Cantor, voted to slash federal funding for Medicaid by 1/3 and shift some of the burden of Medicaid’s growing costs to the states, forcing states to reduce enrollment by more than 14 million people, or almost 20 percent—even if they are were able to slow the growth in health care costs substantially.

Charles Schumer, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, said, “If House Republicans can adapt their agenda to match Leader Cantor’s words, this Congress could surprise people with how productive it can be.” We’ll keep checking on the GOP votes. They may have noticed these polls: A Washington Post-ABC News/Washington poll last month found that 67 percent of Americans say that Republicans are doing “too little” to work with Obama. Republicans in Congress have an approval rating of 24 percent, compared to a 37 percent rating for Democrats. Obama’s approval recently hit a four-year high of 60 percent.

It appears that the GOP private retreat at a former Southern plantation brought out a new approach toward getting Republican votes from minorities (like those whose ancestors were slaves in the South), women, and anyone making less than the top 2 percent. GOP directions: Smile, say positive things, and keep the policies continuing the damage during the past few decades.

October 31, 2012

Romney Desperate in Last Few Days

Mitt Romney’s campaign was headed downhill after President Obama’s two successful debates, but the tragic storm on the East Coast has required the Republican candidate to frantically think up a new strategy.

First, Romney campaigners admitted that they would try to look sensitive by not campaigning so they changed the name of their events to “storm relief events.” As a businessman, Romney is big on rebranding. If the public doesn’t like what he’s doing, he just changes directions and calls it something else.

Part of the event was to collect items for clothing, food, and bottled water. By doing this, Romney showed that he knows nothing about the Red Cross. Because it takes more effort to clean clothing and package all these items, the Red Cross always requests just money and blood donations. But that didn’t stop Romney.

Always prepared for contingencies, Romney sent out his campaign aides to a local Wal-Mart on the night before the event with $5,000 to buy granola bars, canned foods, and diapers for camera ops. Supporters who wanted to greet the candidate were told, “You need a donation to get in line!” Empty-handed potential voters were told, “Just grab something.” Two teenage boys each picked up a jar of peanut butter, handed their “donations” to Romney, and were given a warm “Thank you” by the candidate.

To show how prepared he was to take care of a similar disaster, Romney compared the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with “rubbish and paper products.” He then talked about how Hurricane Katrina survivors were given food and television sets by people in Cape Cod.

Romney has also got his nineteenth “pants on fire” from Politifact, this time for his collective lies about the automobile industry including the falsehood that the Jeep factory was leaving for China.

Romney’s “sensitivity” in not campaigning was short-lived. Today he was back in Florida with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, still bashing the president. New Jersey governor Chris Christie is one person, however, who has stopped bashing President Obama as the president works tirelessly to help storm victims. Of course, Rush Limbaugh is spouting trash about President Obama blackmailing Christie to get his support.

Despite appearances, Romney refuses to take interviews or answer questions from the media. DailyKos reports that it’s been nearly three weeks since Mitt Romney’s last interview (if you count sitting down with Newsmax to be an interview) and more than a month since he last answered a question from his traveling press pool.

In comparison, President Obama has sat down for interviews with NBC’s Brian Williams, at least seven local news stations, and the Des Moines Register editorial board—just in the last two weeks. The president also took a question from a White House reporter following his Hurricane Sandy statement and agreed to interviews with The Tonight Show’s Jay Leno, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and MTV’s Sway Calloway. Somehow he managed to do this while he continued with his more-than-fulltime job.

Another highly questionable tactic from the Romney campaign is training that Romney Poll Watchers in Wisconsin have received. Their document gives guidance that can send these observers to jail if they follow them:

Any “person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery” is not eligible to vote. [State regulations permit people in Wisconsin to vote after they have served their sentences and probation.]

If a handicapped voter is unable to come into the polls to vote, an assistant can deliver the ballot to the voter if the CEI verifies the elector’s proof of residency. [The CEI does not have to verify the elector’s proof of residency.]

Election Observers should not assist [voters]. [The law allows voters to request assistance from anyone, including poll observers.]

“The ONLY Acceptable Forms of “Proof of Residency” omits a multitude of options.

At a training session for poll watchers, a woman who just graduated from law school last year gave lots of bad advice: for example, if observers cannot see or identify the proof of residence, the observers are to ask the poll worker about this. The law: Observers do not have the right to inspect proof of residence documents, and they do not have the right to ask poll workers what the documentation is. 

The Romney campaign PowerPoint states that in order to register to vote a “WI driver’s license number or WI ID number is required (whether current, revoked, expired or suspended).” The law: “If you have been issued a WI driver license and it is current and valid, you must provide the number and expiration date. If you have not been issued a WI driver license you must provide either your WI DOT-issued ID number OR the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.” The same PowerPoint cell states that the “last four digits of the social security number are only to be used if the citizen has never been issued a driver’s license or WI ID.” The law: it’s either one or the other. 

The presenter also worked hard to get observers to force voters to use provisional ballots because they tend to be trashed. The presenter said that “A first-time voter who registers by mail and but has failed to to provide proof of residency” and omitted the end of the sentence “and is unable to provide proof of residence at the polling place.” The presenter also said a provisional ballot would be required for “An individual who registers on Election day who has a Wisconsin driver’s license but is unable to provide the license number.” The law: in a circumstance in which a person does have a valid license and is absolutely unable to get that number as a last resort they will accept the last 4 digits of a social security number.  

Training also recommends a level of intimidation. According to the presenter, voters who have not produced valid Wisconsin driver’s licenses should also be followed and photographed. All this pressure makes me very happy that I live in Oregon and vote by mail.

A Wisconsin election official has confirmed that information in the Romney document is false. Reid Magney, a spokesman for Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, also criticized the Romney campaign for instructing their poll watchers not to disclose any affiliation with the campaign when they sign in at the polls. They were told to list themselves as only a “concerned citizen” instead. “We would hope that people would accurately represent who they are with,” Magney said.

The Obama campaign has sent a letter to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requesting he open an investigation into the trainings. “These acts of willful misinformation to individuals sent to polling locations to enforce the law raise serious concerns under Wisconsin law,” Bob Bauer, general counsel for the Obama campaign, wrote. “I ask that your office review this matter urgently, and take all necessary steps to protect the rights of our state’s voters.”

Vote revisions have already started in Florida. In Broward County, a Democratic Party stronghold, the vote total was dropped by 536 votes, just two fewer than the number of votes that decided the entire state in the 2000 presidential election. Votes across the country can also be manipulated by computer hacking, as shown after the Arizona primary.

In Florida, Virginia and Indiana people are getting calls falsely telling them they can vote early by phone and don’t need to go to a polling place. In  Broward County (FL),  elderly voters who requested absentee ballots say they were visited by unknown people claiming to be authorized to collect the ballots. Mailings to voters in at least 23 Florida counties raise questions about the voter’s citizenship and provide a form that supposedly must immediately be filled out and returned to elections officials to keep the voter’s name from being purged from the rolls.

Only six more days to hold our breath about voter fraud changing the results of the election—for this year.

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