Tag Archives: Think Progress

Romney: I’m Not Looking To Put Money In People’s Pockets

Governor Mitt Romney of MA

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The following video shows Romney claiming that he wants to relieve the tax burden of middle-income Americans by lowering their tax rates.  But…is that his priority?  Watch his rambling statement below…

Think Progress

Part of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) plan to boost economic growth, he says, is a tax cut that comes in the form of repealing certain taxes on investments for the middle class. As ThinkProgress has noted, however, those cuts won’t actually benefit most middle-class individuals. Romney may now be aware of that fact, as he told one local resident in Des Moines, Iowa today that he isn’t “trying to put money in people’s pockets. That’s the other party.”

Watch it:

Despite what he says, Romney is indeed trying “to reduce the tax burden…that’s paid by the top one percent.” His tax plan, in fact, gives a $6.6 billion tax cut to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

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Santorum: Americans Should Suffer

The Crazies are at it again…

So, let me see if I understand Santorum on this issue…it’s ok to coddle the rich and give them all sorts of “welfare for the rich” benefits, but poor people must suffer in the “Christian tradition”.

Think Progress

During a town hall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa Friday afternoon, Rick Santorum argued that Americans receive too many government benefits and ought to “suffer” in the Christian tradition.

If “you’re lower income, you can qualify for Medicaid, you can qualify for food stamps, you can qualify for housing assistance,” Santorum complained, before adding, “suffering is part of life and it’s not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life.”

However, almost all states have curtailed their aid programs, just as the economic downturn is expanding the pool of eligible applicants.

Watch it:

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Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 A Minute For Phone Calls While They Work For $1 A Day

I understand that corporations exist to make profits, but at least pay your “employees” enough to pay for things that you charge them.

Five days of work gives them enough for a one minute phone call.  That’s absurd.  Essentially, the inmates are slaves, based upon that calculation.

Think Progress

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America(CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

Watch this report on the conditions Stewart detainees face:

CCA’s abuse doesn’t stop at outrageously priced phone services. One woman reported that her diabetic husband does not receive enough food, so she has to deposit money for him to buy more. Occupy Nashville recently protested outside of the company by holding a “human auction” to illustrate how CCA profits off of human suffering.

As Alternet points out, in the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million “lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going.” Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia keep their facilities full and CCA profits high.

Since more prisoners translate into more profit, private prisons like CCA continually push lawmakers to enact harsher policies and longer sentences, according to a report by Justice Policy Institute (JPI).

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Rep. Joe Walsh Explains His ‘Don’t Blame Banks’ Rant: I ‘Was Working On An Empty Stomach’

Yeah right Joe…

Think Progress

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported on a testy exchange between Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and a group of his constituents during a meeting. At several points during the discussion, Walsh lost his temper, screaming and threatening to eject participants in the meeting. “Don’t blame banks,” yelled Walsh, who disagreed with a constituent who correctly noted that banks use the revolving door and campaign contributions to dominate government.

After our story, the Capitol Fax, an Illinois political website, contacted Walsh for a response. Walsh wrote in an e-mail that he was “working on an empty stomach and had a quicker fuse than normal.” Despite the fact Walsh’s biggest campaign benefactors come from the banking industry — $132,329 in campaign contributions from the finance industry and $18,400 from bank employees — the freshman congressman claims that he’s “no pal of the big banks.” He also reiterated, “but [banks] didn’t get us into this mess — government policy” did:

I do these cup of joe’s every wkend, I show up at a coffee shop or restaurant anywhere in district and anyone can come meet with me and talk to me about anything. They are fun, engaging sessions, I often get people who disagree w me on issues at these events and the conversation can be very spirited. I am very passionate at these events as well as at my town halls. This was no different except I was working on an empty stomach and had a quicker fuse than normal.

The woman I had the heated exchange with was great and she appreciated how open and unusual these events are. I apologized to her for getting a bit to passionate and she smiled and didn’t mind at all. Regarding the substance rich of what I was trying to say – I’m no pal of the big banks and I wouldn’t have voted to bail any of them out. If they’ve abused their charters they need to be prosecuted fully. But they didn’t get us into this mess – goverment policy which has dictated for years that everyone should own a home got us here. The banks only followed the rules government set. And further government meddling will only exasperate the problem.

View the full video and Walsh’s rant here.

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The 1% Have a Stranglehold on Politics: New Al Jazeera Documentary Sheds Light on the Koch Brothers

Why won’t our media expose the Koch Brothers for what they are?

Oh never mind, the corporate media is part of the problem in this country.

Think Progress

Al Jazeera released a new mini-documentary yesterday on the Koch Brothers — the multi-billionare energy tycoons who have spent over $50 million on campaigns to tear down the science of climate change and clean energy policy.

The documentary features a lengthy interview with our colleague Lee Fang, an investigative reporter with Think Progress, who has played a major role in uncovering the strong “web of influence” of the Koch Brothers on state and federal politicians. The film touches on the Koch role in everything from health care to energy policy. It’s worth the watch. (Note: much of the energy and climate stuff is in the second half, after about 15 minutes.)

This is exactly why “the other 99%” of Americans are protesting in the streets.

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GOP Rep: ‘We can’t allow’ more coverage of Occupy Wall Street | The Raw Story

The Raw Story

Add another Republican to the growing list that loathe the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is upset at the growing movement and the media’s coverage of it, hoping that a modern day version of protests from five decades ago isn’t being recaptured now.

“It’s really important for us not to give any legitimacy to these people in the streets,” said King on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Friday evening. “I remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen.”

LISTEN: Audio from Think Progress, which happened on October 7, 2011.

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Think Progress

No wonder Roger Ailes is trying to change Fox News’ image from ultra conservative to moderate. Looks like Fox and Friends didn’t get the memo.

Think Progress

Despite the fact that the Obama administration succeeded in killing one of the most dangerous and wanted men on the planet, conservatives have been reluctant to give him credit.

Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson used the moment to both suggest that the president is too soft on terror and to make an implicit plug for the Bush administration’s use of torture:

CARLSON: Let me ask you this, would you be in the camp of having rather captured him…to try to get more information? But then I brought up the fact that under this administration it seems that we don’t prosecute or ask the same questions that we might have under the Bush administration, so would we get anything out of him anyway if we captured him?

Watch it, via Media Matters:

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Holiday Inn Abruptly Ejects Progressive Groups Who Reserved Space For Jobs Rally In Same Hotel As Cantor Event

Well, the Holiday Inn is on my “do not spend your money at this place” list…

Think Progress

Progressive groups organizing a rally at the same Richmond-area hotel where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was holding an event Wednesday were abruptly kicked out of the hotel and told by hotel management to remain off of its property during Cantor’s event.

Cantor held an Advisory Council gathering, closed to the media but open to constituents who registered ahead of time, at the Holiday Inn Koger Center in Richmond. A coalition of progressive Virginia organizing groups — Progress Virginia, OurDC, and Virginia Organizing — had booked rooms and a separate ballroom in the hotel to hold a “jobs rally” countering Cantor’s event. According to organizers, the groups planned to invite Cantor to attend their rally after his own event, in the hope that he would listen to their concerns regarding job creation and unemployment.

But just hours before the events were set to begin, the Holiday Inn canceled the groups’ ballroom and room reservations and ordered the groups to remain off of hotel property during Cantor’s meeting. According to organizers, hotel management falsely accused them of smoking in their rooms and used that as justification to cancel their reservations. A representative of Holiday Inn who only agreed speak on the condition of anonymity, however, said the hotel was seeking to avoid confrontation between the progressive groups and those attending the Cantor event. He would not comment on whether the hotel had any communications with Cantor or his staff regarding the progressive groups.

Attempts to reach both Cantor’s office and Holiday Inn’s corporate offices for comment prior to publication were unsuccessful. In an interview with a local news station, Cantor acknowledged that he saw the protesters but said, “I don’t see how that’s productive. … (It was) a very productive event. I’m not quite so sure how that was productive outside.”

After their reservations were canceled, the progressive groups assembled across the street and began marching to the hotel, where they were met by Virginia state police officers and hotel management demanding that they remain off Holiday Inn property. The protesters remained assembled between the Holiday Inn and the street, where they held signs protesting Cantor’s record on job creation and his legislative priorities and chanted that they wanted Cantor to focus on jobs. Multiple protesters told stories of their unemployment over a megaphone as police and hotel management looked on.

The protesters then marched back across the street, out of sight from the hotel, and held a rally similar to the one they had planned inside the hotel, with more stories of unemployment and hardship brought on by the economic recession.

Caveat:  Turn down your speakers before watching the following video…

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Federal Appeals Court Suggests Rep. Chabot’s Town Hall Camera Ban Violated The Constitution

Think Progress

Last week, Rep. Steven Chabot (R-OH) banned ordinary citizens from bringing cameras into a town hall meeting — even having police confiscate cameras from citizens who dared to violate this rule. Bizarrely, Chabot still allowed reporters to bring in cameras and record the event.

Coincidentally, just four days after Chabot took this extraordinary measure to prevent embarrassing clips of him from appearing on YouTube, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down an opinion saying citizens have a right to film police engaged in their official duties. The court’s reasoning, however, has very clear implications for Chabot’s camera ban:

Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Moreover, as the Court has noted, “[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because ‘[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.’” [...]

The First Amendment right to gather news is, as the Court has often noted, not one that inures solely to the benefit of the news media; rather, the public’s right of access to information is coextensive with that of the press. [...] The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

Chabot might take some small comfort in the fact that he does not reside in the First Circuit — Ohio is part of the much more conservative Sixth Circuit — but Chabot should not expect the right-leaning judges on his home circuit court to bail him out. As the First Circuit notes, at least three other appeals courts and numerous trial courts agree with their holding that government officials cannot simply ban cameras.

Moreover, Chabot’s case is weakened by his entirely arbitrary rule that only media may bring in cameras. While it is possible to imagine official government actions where no cameras should be present — a meeting of top-level national security officials, for example — Chabot’s willingness to allow some people to bring cameras and not others gives the lie to his already-weak claim that there is a legitimate reason to keep his town hall secret.

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Constituents Jeer Rep. Dan Lungren’s (R-Ca) Support Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich

New official photo of Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA 3rd).

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It’s good to see the American People shedding their myopia and getting to see what the real GOP/Tea Party is like…

Think Progress

 At a town hall last Wednesday attended by ThinkProgress, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) was asked why he supports the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy since America has lost millions of jobs since its passage. When Lungren deflected, saying that everyone benefits from the Bush tax cuts and that Obama supported extending them, several people began jeering him. Lungren, who at one point threatened to leave the Carmichael town hall, said he doesn’t know of any economists who support raising taxes during a recession. Ironically, that same day the National Association for Business Economics releaseda study showing nearly three quarters of business economists stating they support raising revenues through taxes:

LUNGREN: Obama extended the tax cuts for several more years [...]

CONSTITUENT: You use the deficit ceiling to blackmail! That’s what you did. [...]

LUNGREN: I know of no economists who suggest we ought to raise taxes in the midst of a down turn in the economy.

Watch it:

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