The first night of the Republican National Convention was heavy with “we built that” references and small business owners who feel overtaxed by the government. But one featured small business owner, Phil Archuletta of P&M Signs, went off-message when he took the stage to rail against the government…for not giving him enough contracts:
ARCHULETTA: For the last 40 years, my company has built the road signs on the Forest Service road system. In fact, in 1984, I was fortunate to receive the national award from President Reagan for being the most successful minority business in the United States. In 2004, President Bush made it possible for our company to manufacture signs for all federal agencies. When President Obama came on board and pushed the stimulus, I believed my business was going to explode with work. Unfortunately, it never happened. … Today, we are barely hanging on with the orders from the state of New Mexico – thanks to Governor Susana Martinez – and the few orders still coming through the Forest Service from our very loyal customers.
In expressing his frustration, Archuletta is exposing the fundamental lie of the Romney campaign’s “we built that” theme. Government small business loans and contracts have sustained almost every small business Romney has featured in his campaign. Archuletta’s business, like the others, has been sustained by the comparatively reliable supply of government work. Far from disparaging hardworking small business owners as Romney wants voters to believe, President Obama’s original comments celebrated the “American system” that helps bolster individual drive like Archuletta’s, concluding, “When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
The first real night of the 2012 Republican National Convention will close tonight with a keynote address by Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). Christie has become a conservative darling for his blunt speaking style and his open willingness to berate public servants.
“I’ll be talking about the New Jersey experience and what that means for the country,” Christie said while previewing the speech. “If [listeners] say I like the vision he’s laid out for the country and for his party for the next four years, then I will have done the job for my party and my country.”
However, the “New Jersey experience” under Christie has been anything but rosy. Here are some key economics stats to know before Christie hits the stage tonight:
Finally, he’s handed out a record number of corporate handouts, while getting little for it in terms of job growth. And for this, he’s been rewarded with a huge speaking slot at the Republican convention, from which he will likely proclaim Republican economic ideology a stunning success.
Welcome to ThinkProgress’ primetime Tuesday coverage of the Republican National Convention. We’re here all night to fact check and debunk the claims of the GOP’s brightest stars. Here is our guide to Tuesday’s speakers.
11:04: CNN’s Erin Burnett was really moved by Mitt’s embrace of Ann at the end of her speech. “Her speech was just one of the many memorable moments and I have to say this Wolf, when he came out and her talking about the love for him, I had a tear in my eye and I think lot of people did,” she said. Watch it:
11:00: Christie mentioned “Mitt Romney” just 7 times during his speech, but said “I” 37 times.
10:53: Christie claimed that “Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the torrent of debt.” Actually, Romney’s plan — which includes $10.7 trillion in tax cuts — would make the debt significantly worse.
10:49: Christie said “We believe it’s possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.” Setting aside the internal incoherence, the hard right lurch of the Republican partyis responsible for the lack of bipartisan compromise.
10:49: Here is one actual hard “truth” Christie isn’t telling seniors: Mitt Romney’s policies would bankrupt Medicare more quickly, moving up its insolvency from 2024 to 2016.
10:48: Christie invokes anxiety over entitlement programs: “We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren. Seniors are not selfish.” He’s right: a recent poll found 53 percent of Americans would raise taxes now rather than cut Social Security benefits for future generations.
10:47: Christie derided the “$5 trillion in debt added over the last four years.” He failed to note that Bush-era policies and the economic downturn that started under Bush’s watch are the biggest drivers of that debt.
10:44: Christie bragged about the tax cuts he’s passed since coming into office. As the Newark Star-Ledger put it, “Here are the facts: The 16,000 families in New Jersey earning more than $1 millon will get an average tax break of $40,000 apiece under [Christie's] budget. At the same time, a single mom working for minimum wage will pay $300 more in state taxes.”
10:40: CNN is confirming that a Republican attendee was removed after throwing nuts at black CNN camerawoman. The delegate reportedly said, “this is how we feed animals.”
10:38: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is touting the fact that his dad went to a publicly funded university, on the publicly funded GI bill, and that his mom traveled on publicly funded transportation.
10:31: Mitt comes on stage and embraces Ann to the tune of “My Girl.”
10:30: Ann’s closing argument: “you can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.”
10:30: Ann Romney touts a scholarship program that Mitt initiated in Massachusetts as one of his successes. As the Boston Globe noted, the program actually “failed to make a difference” for Massachusetts students. Meanwhile, Romney/Ryan would cut Pell Grants for 1 million students.
10:25: Ann is taking umbrage that some are questioning Mitt’s business “success” — his calling card for the presidency. Mitt recently asked Obama to stop mentioning his business record or tax returns.
10:21: Though Ann just recited a touching story about how she and Mitt were “determined to be together,” her husband’s policies would keep same-sex couples from doing the same.
10:17: In another attempt to sympathize with these working mothers a few months ago, Ann said, “I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids.”
10:16: Ann has a very subtle message at this convention. Oprah Romney just shouted: “I LOVE YOU WOMEN!”
10:12: Ann Romney is the first to mention Hurricane Isaac, which has touched down in Louisiana. Unfortunately, in 2011, Republicans held federal disaster relief hostage and some are still vowing to use the storm to extract budget cuts if Congress wants to help victims.
10:01: Here’s the background on Haley’s attacks regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s case against Boeing for union-busting. As the Washington Post’s Steve Pearlstein wrote at the time, “given the public statements of Boeing officials, there is nothing radical about the NLRB’s decision.”
10:00: Haley had offered to personally drive anyone without a photo ID to get one. The problem is, it would take her over 7 years to drive every South Carolina resident to the DMV.
9:57: The crowd cheered when Haley touted the state’s voter ID law, which could disenfranchise minority voters. The law violates the Voting Rights Act.
9:56: Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) is Romney’s surrogate to the women’s vote, though she has consistently advocated for policies that undermine women’s health, including vetoing rape crisis center funding.
9:52: Davis repeats the lie about Obama gutting welfare requirement. Praises Clinton, who also says its a lie.
9:51: Davis describes Obamacare as a federal mandate that requires middle-class Americans to buy health insurance they can’t afford. The truth is, it’s a major tax cut:
9:48: Former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis’ (AL) recent conversion to the Republican Party has raised some eyebrows. The Congressional Black Caucus has written a letter challenging the former lawmaker: “Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010,” they write.
9:40: Cruz accuses Obama of dividing Americans and telling Latinos “we’re not welcome.” Cruz was hitting a different note during his campaign, when he boasted about his willingness to “execute an illegal alien.”
9:40: Cruz claims that we, as a nation, “are broke.” No, we’re not.
9:38: IRONY ALERT: Cruz quotes Martin Luther King Jr. even though he opposes the Voting Rights Act.
9:33: Ted Cruz, a former Texas Solicitor General and now a candidate for senate, once posted an article on his website claiming the United Nations and George Soros were coming for, among other things, America’s golf courses. He also seeks to more-or-less end Social Security as we know it.
9:28: Santorum touted the supposed benefits of the 1996 welfare reform law. But that law prevented aid from getting to families in poverty who needed it during the Great Recession:
9:20: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has repeatedly criticized Mitt Romney for laying the groundwork for the president’s health care reform law and ran one of the most anti-gay campaigns in history. He even fundraised off of Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality by deeming it a “tragic day” in American history. Read more
Thomas Peterffy, who pioneered the computer-based high-frequency trading that generates millions of dollars in profits for big banks, said in an interview with NPR’s Planet Money that speed trading has gotten so fast that it now “has absolutely no social value”:
Peterffy says automation has done some very good things for the world. It’s made buying and selling stocks much much cheaper for everyone.
But Peterffy thinks the race for speed is doing more harm than good now. “We are competing at milliseconds,” he says. “And whether you can shave three milliseconds of an order, has absolutely no social value.”
When Peterffy first began using computers to trade, high-speed trading was rare. Now, as the Huffington Post noted, it makes up more than half of the stock market’s volume. This interactive chart from Nanex, a markets research firm, shows how high-speed trading has exploded:
Tho address this problem, Peterffy told NPR that a regulatory structure that slows down trading is necessary. Though he didn’t mention it specifically, one way to achieve that goal would be a financial transactions tax, a small levy on trades that would slow down markets while barely affecting normal traders. The European Union has considered a transactions tax in the wake of the financial crisis, and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) have proposed one here in the U.S.
That tax could raise $35 billion annually, according to DeFazio, but more importantly it would remove volatility from the markets and make the entire financial system safer. Cries from industry insiders that a transactions tax would hurt economic growth, DeFazio told ThinkProgress earlier this year, are simply false. “For 50 years we had a tax that was about seven times larger than this when the country was seeing the greatest growth in its history, post-World War II,” he said. “So we’ve proven this will not have a detrimental impact on growth. In fact, it perhaps is beneficial to growth. It’s not necessarily beneficial to salaries of hedge fund managers on Wall Street.”
From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books….
I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts….
– George Orwell, “Why I write”
I joined the new media because the old media have failed us. They have utterly failed to force us to face unpleasant facts (see here and figure).
What I have learned most from the success of this blog, from the steady growth in page views and visitors and retweets and Facebook likes, along with the increasing number of websites that link to or reprint our posts, is that there is in fact a great hunger out there for the bluntest possible talk.
It is a hunger to learn the truth about the dire nature of our energy and climate situation, about the gravest preventable threat to our children and future generations, about the vast but still achievable scale of the solutions, about the forces in politics and media that impede action — a hunger to face unpleasant facts head on.
As a federal court considers whether to reinstate a South Carolina state voter identification law — denied pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the Voting Rights Act — one of the bill’s authors took the stand Monday to defend the bill. But when pressed, state Sen. George E. “Chip” Campsen III (R) acknowledged that none of the isolated examples of possible voter fraud that he could identify would have been prevented by requiring a photo identification to vote in-person.
[Campsen] cited examples of fraud that he took into consideration while drafting early versions of South Carolina’s law. These included vote buying, voter rolls indicating a woman who showed up at the polls had already voted, and press reports of voters being registered in both South Carolina and North Carolina. But under questioning from Justice Department attorney Anna Baldwin, Campsen, a Republican, said the examples he gave did not involve the type of fraud that requiring photo identification would address.
“None of the examples you gave in your testimony involved incidents of impersonation?” Baldwin asked.
“Correct,” Campsen answered. He also said he could not find cases of voter impersonation in South Carolina, but added that the state lacks the tools to root them out.
Last month, the Republican Attorney General of South Carolina also admitted that requiring a photo identification to vote would not actually prevent a determined voter impersonator from voting as someone else. But happily, as Campsen noted in his testimony, it almost never happens.
By contrast, a recent Brennan Center report found that nearly 500,000 voters — mostly low-income and minority individuals — in states with voter ID laws stand to be disenfranchised.
These voter ID laws continue to be at best a solution in search of a problem — and at worse, a scheme to disenfranchise elderly, urban, poor, and minority voters who are among the least likely to have a photo identification.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has fired two Montgomery County board of election members who voted for expanded early voting hours on weekends in defiance of his state-wide directive ordering them to restrict voting hours to weekdays only. Dennis Lieberman and Thomas J. Ritchie, Sr. were suspended immediately after voting to expand the board’s hours and defended themselves at a hearing last week.
Husted introduced the standardized voting schedule as an attempt to appease the outrage over his intervention restricting the voting hours in Democrat-leaning urban counties. But instead of simply allowing all 88 boards of elections to open on weekends, Husted decreed no one could. The Montgomery County Democrats immediately revolted, followed by a symbolic gesture by the commissioners of Mahoning County and a request from Republican-heavy Medina County to reevaluate the ban on weekend voting hours.
Husted recently backed out of a planned appearance with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who was mired in accusations of disenfranchisement after Ohio’s chaotic 2004 election, at a Tea Party event hosted by vote-suppression group True the Vote. Husted’s decision to restrict voting hours has come under even more scrutiny after the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party warned that expanding hours would “accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
This isn’t the first time Husted has come into conflict with these two election officials. Lieberman and Ritchie voted against Husted’s tenuous claim of residency when he was a state representative in 2009. Husted survived the vote.
The two Democrats may choose to sue over their firing, adding to the pile of lawsuits against Husted’s office, including the Obama campaign’s effort to restore voting on the last weekend before the election. Most recently, Husted was sued by his Democratic predecessor, Jennifer Brunner, over the directive to limit hours.
Survey Finds Zero Employers Plan To Drop Insurance Coverage |
Out of 512 employers surveyed by the consulting firm Towers-Watson, none of them said they would drop insurance coverage for their employees after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. Only 3 percent said it was “somewhat likely” that they might end coverage, but a large majority — 77 percent — said it was “not likely” that they would drop it. As Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff points out, this statistic is surprising because it is much more expensive to cover a worker as well as the employee’s family — about $15,073 — compared to the $2,000 per employee fine for not offering health care.
Minnesota Pediatricians Come Out Against Marriage Inequality Amendment |
The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics announced today that it opposes the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The group points out that there is no research to show a link between a child’s well-being and his or her parents’ sexual orientation. According to chapter president Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, “This boils down to a child health issue. We are letting our LGBT patients and their families know that they are supported by their pediatricians.”