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Friday, June 8, 2012

To boldly go.... (From George Takai / Sulu)


CNN loses its direction of non-bias reporting

  • Margaret Hoover, who we noted is now at CNN after many years at Fox News, takes to Facebook to explain to her fans directly why the move was made: “Executives at CNN have been looking for fresh faces and new talent with conservative perspectives, and in the end, offered me an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Indeed, competition, that sturdy pillar of capitalism, is alive and well in the cable news industry.”


www.politicususa.com
CNN’s abandonment of news to climb in bed with the tea party has turned into an epic disaster as the network has lost 52% of its viewers from one year ago at this time.

Broken Promises: Romney's Massachusetts Record

Ralph Nader on returning US Workers to 1968 Pay Levels.

Don’t 30 Million Workers 

Deserve 1968 Wages?

 
Thirty million American workers arise, you have nothing to lose but some of your debt! 
From left: Ralph Nader, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), and Rep. john Conyers (D-MI) introuced the "Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012" this week, which presses for a federal minimum wage of $10 per hour.


Wednesday morning, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) introduced the “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012” (H.R. 5901) – legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour. The present minimum wage is $7.25, way below the unrealistically low federal poverty definition of $18,123 per year for a family of three. Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage today would be a little above $10 per hour.

Together with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, I was pleased to be with Rep. Jackson at a news conference to explain this long-overdue necessity for millions of hard-pressed, working Americans of all political persuasions.

The policy behind the minimum wage, first enacted in 1938 under President Franklin Roosevelt, was to provide a minimally livable wage. This implied at least keeping up with inflation, if not with new living expenses not envisioned seventy-five years ago. While businesses like Walmart and McDonalds have been raising their prices and executive compensation since 1968, these companies have received a windfall from a diminishing real minimum wage paid to their workers.

The economics behind the Jackson bill are strongly supportive of moral and equitable arguments. Most economists agree that what our ailing economy needs is more consumer demand for goods and services which will create jobs. Tens of billions of dollars flowing from a $10 minimum wage will be spent by poor families and workers almost immediately.

A debate over the minimum wage throws a more acute spotlight on the gigantic pay of the big corporate bosses who make $11,000 to $20,000 per hour! Their average pay was up another 6 percent in 2011 along with record profits for their companies.

Historically, polls have registered around 70 percent of Americans favoring a minimum wage keeping up with inflation. That number includes many Republican workers who can be consoled by learning that both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, during their political careers, have supported adjusting the minimum wage.

Were the Democrats in Congress to make this a banner issue for election year 2012, their adversaries, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senator Mitch O’Connell (R-Ky.), would not be able to hold 100 percent of their Republicans on this popular issue. That means the bill’s backers could override these two rigid ideologues – so-called public servants – who make nearly $200 per hour plus luscious pension, health insurance, life insurance and other benefits.

President Obama, who has turned his back on many worker issues, can champion his promise in 2008 to press for a minimum wage of $9.50 by 2011 as well as benefit his campaign by helping people who have lost trust in government and their enthusiasm over Obama’s “hope and change.” Getting the attention of 30 million potential voters can change the dynamics of a tediously repetitive Obama-Romney campaign.

A debate over the minimum wage throws a more acute spotlight on the gigantic pay of the big corporate bosses who make $11,000 to $20,000 per hour! Their average pay was up another 6 percent in 2011 along with record profits for their companies.

If the Democrats want intellectual heft to rebut the carping, craven objections of the corporatist think tanks and trade associations, headed by bosses making big time pay themselves, they cannot do better than to refer to Alan Krueger, the former Princeton professor and now chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers to President Obama, who is the leading scholar behind inflation-adjusted minimum wages producing net job growth.

Moreover, there is no need to offset an inflation-adjusted minimum wage with lower taxes on smaller business. Since Obama took office there have been 17 tax cuts enacted for small businesses.
Many organizations with millions of members around the country are on the record, if not on the ramparts, as favoring an inflation-adjusted increase in the federal minimum wage. They include the AFL-CIO and member unions, especially the nurses union, the NAACP and La Raza, and the leading social service and social justice nonprofits.

In 2007 at the “Take Back America” conference, then Senator Obama delivered a ringing oration making “the minimum wage a living wage (tied) to the cost of living so we don’t have to wait another 10 years to see it rise.” Even Ontario, Canada’s minimum wage is $10.25 per hour.

So why aren’t all these supporters of the minimum wage inside and outside of Congress making something happen? Because they’re either out of gas and need to be replaced, or they are waiting on each other to make the first move.

The nonprofits and the labor unions are waiting on a signal from senior legislator, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Caucus are also waiting for Miller, who has not introduced a bill increasing the minimum wage since Obama took office (the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was the last, with increases to $7.25 ending in July 2009). Of course, in turn, Obama is waiting on the Democratic leadership in Congress who, though firmly behind the increase, is waiting on Obama and, of course, Miller, who hails not from Dallas, Texas, but from the progressive San Francisco Bay area of California. Go figure.

So maybe this cycle of insensitive lethargy by the Democratic Party can be broken by the congressional stalwarts who have joined with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. in supporting his proposal (H.R. 5901) for a modest increase in the minimum wage to help tens of millions of downtrodden workers catch up with 1968!

For more information on efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, see: TimeForARaise.org.
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

Boy Scouts may lift ban on gay scouts and leadership

Some great news: The Boy Scouts of America announced it will be “considering” in its 2013 national meeting the lifting its discriminatory policy of excluding gay scouts and troop leaders. It's about time. In my teen years, I was a proud member of Troop 379 in LA's Little Tokyo and played the bass bugle in the troop’s drum and bugle corps.

What is the truth? Politics and facts.

Romney dodged the draft

First he didn't "desire" to serve, 

but didn’t evade it. Then he "longed" to go.  

 

The truth: He got four deferments

Romney dodged the draft

 
 Saloon.com (click here)



Mitt Romney looks over at veteran Nick Popaditch during a Memorial Day ceremony in San Diego. (Credit: Reuters/Denis Poroy)
 
Mitt Romney changed his story on poverty in St. Louis Thursday. Where in February, during the GOP primary, he said “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” today he called rising poverty rates “a moral failure” – and blamed it on President Obama. But Romney supports Paul Ryan’s budget, which would slash food stamps, Head Start, Medicaid, nutrition programs for pregnant women and their children, and his tax plan would raise taxes on the poor and working class while giving himself an extra $5 million or so. Mitt, you got it right the first time: You’re not concerned about the very poor.

But Romney’s shifting stories on his Vietnam status could have real political consequences, as an Associated Press expose revealing that he sought and got four deferments from military service during the Vietnam War gets more play. It’s not the deferments that will hurt – Dick Cheney got five. It’s the fact that over the years, Romney has lied about it.

AP politely says his story has “evolved,” but tracks the puzzling changes. Running for president in 2007, Romney told the Boston Globe, “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”

But in 1994, running against Ted Kennedy for his Massachusetts Senate seat while in his “I’m not a typical Republican” phase, he admitted “it was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.” Fair enough: His father, George Romney, turned against the war, and so did a lot of Republicans (even if party hawks would later try to hang the “loss” of Vietnam on the antiwar left and their Democratic enablers). Indeed, in 1970, at 23, Romney told the Globe, ”If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t know what is.”

But while telling the truth about his lack of “desire to go off and serve” in 1994, Romney lied again, telling the Boston Herald he didn’t “take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” That’s absolutely not true. He got his first deferment while at Stanford University, where in his prep-school prankster phase he counter-protested a Vietnam draft protest. That’s another lie, in a way: While posing as pro-draft and pro-war, he was evading the draft with an “activity in study” deferment. After his freshman year, he got deferment status as “a minister of religion or divinity student,” which he’d keep while working in France as a missionary for his Mormon church.

Yet the AP reveals that other young Mormons were denied that deferment. And since the church itself strongly supported the war, its leaders eventually limited such deferments, but Romney kept his.
After his religious deferment, he got another academic deferment to finish school. By the time he was draft eligible, troop numbers were declining, and his lottery number was never called.
As Rachel Maddow noted last night, this story got eclipsed by post-Wisconsin coverage, but Romney’s dissembling here, all captured in newspapers in real time, should be a real problem for him. Especially since he’s getting the old George W. Bush band back together and backing the Bush-Cheney neocon foreign policy that never saw a war it didn’t like.  His campaign refused to comment on the AP story. Let’s see if Romney has to answer for his Vietnam deceit in the days to come.

I talked about the story on MSNBC’s “Bashir Live” today. As a bonus, you can see me tell Bashir I can’t answer a question, when he asks me why veterans are supporting Romney over Obama 66-34 percent. I started to BS, and then decided to keep a promise to myself that I won’t make things up when I really don’t know the truth. A little cringe-making, but better than faking it.

 
 Saloon.com (click here)