Editor’s Note: Lawyers have asked us to pull down the video. We did so, but are working on a solution to re-post the video shortly.
Editor’s Note 2: The web ad has now been re-posted.
After reading ourThinkProgressreports on the Chamber of Commerce’s secret corporate funding, an entrepreneurial fan of our blog passed us this web ad he conceived. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section:
Tonight, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is screening the documentary (Astro)Turf Wars. Following the screening, the ThinkProgress Wonk Room will host a panel with director Taki Oldham, Americans for Prosperity’s Phil Kerpen, and Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.
Robert de Posada, the man behind the group telling Latino voters not to vote, has denied any affiliation with the Republican Party, or that he is trying to advance the party in close elections. The GOP has similarly distanced itself from de Posada’s controversial ads. However, besides the fact that de Posada’s own resume includes stints at the RNC and Bush White House, de Posada is toeing the conservative line.
For someone who claims to be independent, de Posada’s message is closely aligned with the Spanish-language talking points espoused by GOP pundits like Ana Navarro and Alfonso Aguilar, and Republican lawmaker Mario Diaz-Balart who constantly claim: 1) Democrats promised Latinos immigration reform and have done nothing; 2) Democrats are in “full control” and would’ve passed immigration reform if they were really serious about it; 3) Latinos shouldn’t look at the Republican party’s record, but rather the record of each individual candidate:
DE POSADA: The Democrats, particularly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, promised us immigration reform two years ago in one year. After that, he hasn’t done anything. There’s hasn’t been one vote in one subcommittee.
DIAZ-BALART: Let’s be clear, the President — on your program — said that in his first 12 months he would present and approve immigration reform. He didn’t do it in his first 12 months, he didn’t do it in his second 12 months. Basically, he used us. NAVARRO: President Obama has talked and talked talked. He told our community — on your program — that he would pass immigration reform within his first year in office. We all agree that President Obama has talked a lot about immigration reform, but he’s done little. AGUILAR: During the 2008 elections, they [Democrats] said they would do something about immigration. In two years they haven’t done anything.
DE POSADA:He [Reid] has the power to do whatever he wants. Besides that, he didn’t need the Republicans for health care reform, for the stimulus, for finance reform, for a number of things. Why didn’t he do that for Latinos? You know why? Because we aren’t his priority.
DIAZ-BALART: They [Democrats] blame Republicans, but we all know that the Democrats control the House, the White House and the Senate. If they were serious about approving immigration reform, they would’ve done it by now the way they did with health care reform. NAVARRO: I think Republican senators don’t feel that the White House is serious about this issue. Evidently they did have 60 votes to pass health care reform, evidently they have 60 votes to pass economic things. They have 60 votes when the White House puts forth all its support. AGUILAR: They tell us that it’s the Republicans, but the truth is they know that they don’t have all the Democratic votes. They had the votes to pass health care reform, but what happened with immigration reform? Absolutely nothing.
DE POSADA: They [Latinos] have to evaluate the records of the candidates.
NAVARRO: Latinos have to evaluate each candidate — their values, where they are on different issues. AGUILAR: The important thing is not to make generalizations. [..] The Latino voter has to balance and look at all the issues. Immigration is one issue, it’s not the only issue for Latinos.
Watch it [in Spanish]:
Most Republicans aren’t coming out and telling Latinos not to vote. However, when Republicans slam Democrats on Spanish-language television they usually don’t mention that Democrats have been unable to push immigration reform due to Republican obstructionism that has delayed — if not stalled — the entire White House’s agenda. They also fail to note that while the majority of Democrats support immigration reform, it doesn’t have the same support that other policy proposals have and that more Republicans are needed to enact it. However, while Democrats could’ve done more to move immigration reform, it has been pretty clear that the GOP support needed to make it happen is non-existent. Finally, even if Latino voters ignored the Republican Party’s overarching anti-immigrant platform and just looked at individual candidates, they’d still be hard-pressed to find many Republicans who are willing to fight for the Latino community’s interests.
In an interview with radio host, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, President Obama explained, “There is a notion that somehow if I had worked it hard enough, we could have magically done it. That’s just not the way our system works. If I need 60 votes to get this done, then I’m gonna have to have some support from the other side. If the Latino community decides to sit out this election, then there will be fewer votes and it will be less likely to get done. And the other side, which is fighting against this, is not gonna support it.”
With about 15 minutes before we went on the air, Kasich canceled; his campaign said they did not want to field questions, but from the beginning the Talk of the Nation staff made it clear that there would be questions from listeners.
“I’m stunned about the Kasich decision,” NPR host Ken Rudin said. “And again, as all of us feel, we’d rather have both candidates. Both candidates were scheduled. Both candidates agreed to this format until 10 minutes ago…John Kasich said, ‘No.’ So we will continue the story on the Ohio gubernatorial race.”
When Boston development officials recently handed permits to the developers of Waterside Place, they did so despite neighborhood concerns that the developers wanted to build far more apartments than parking spots. On A Street, the Boston Redevelopment Authority is close to green-lighting a 21-story residential tower. The tower’s developer had originally planned to build one parking spot for every two residential units, an abnormally low supply; BRA officials are pushing the developer to push that ratio even lower by replacing a whole floor of parking with innovative workforce housing units.
These permitting decisions are not happening in a vacuum. Government-imposed floors on the number of parking spots required at new developments are falling across the city, and beyond. Somerville, for instance, is increasing zoning density and lowering parking requirements along the route of the planned Green Line extension, with an eye toward spurring new transit-oriented development. But the change is especially pronounced in the Seaport, where developers are working with as close to a blank canvas as you’ll find in any major American city.
Regulators pushing developers to build less parking than they want is much, much, much better than the near-universal practice of regulators mandating minimum levels of parking. But I do think the message is clearer and the potential political coalition bigger if parking reformers just stick to the idea that this should be left up to the market. Cars are useful, and people who have cars need to park them. So there’s nothing wrong with building parking. But urban space is expensive, and parking spaces take up space, so people should weigh the costs and benefits of building/buying more parking against other possibilities. Getting to market-determined levels of parking construction and parking space pricing would be a huge victory, and it’s not particularly necessary to go beyond that.
Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R-VT), Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R-HI)
Out of 37 gubernatorial races this November, only two feature Republicans that are climate hawks, saying on the campaign trail that global warming pollution must be slashed. In the liberal states of Vermont and Hawaii, Republican lieutenant governors Brian Dubie (R-VT) and James “Duke” Aiona (R-HI) explicitly acknowledge the greenhouse threat of fossil fuel pollution. The island state of Hawaii is profoundly threatened by the global warming and ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel pollution. Aiona has “set a bold and ambitious goal for Hawaii to cut its consumption of foreign oil in half within eight years”:
Befitting its nickname, Vermont is one of the greenest states in the nation. In 2005, Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) joined RGGI and enacted a renewable energy standard. However, in 2007, Douglas vetoed H.520, “a comprehensive climate-change bill that would have greatly expanded” the state’s efficiency program to cover all fuels, not just electricity. Dubie, after avoiding a stand on climate science for years, recognized the reality this June:
I believe that scientific data clearly show that climate change is real and, as a result of human behavior, the world is getting warmer. Carbon emissions are playing a large role in the warming of our planet. We have to stop burning fossil fuels, which emit carbon into our environment. [Vermont League of Conservation Voters, 6/18/10]
Their Democratic opponents — like nearly all their counterparts in the Democratic Party — similarly recognize the threat of global warming and the promise of a clean energy economy. “The time for a long-term statewide plan for the effects of climate change is now,” says Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie, who supports increased funding for clean energy programs.
“We need a governor who believes that climate change is real every year, not just in an election year,” charged state Sen. Peter Shumlin (D-VT), the frontrunner in the increasingly tight Vermont race. “Governors should be right the first time. I worked hard to pass what Al Gore called the ‘toughest climate-change bill in the nation,’ only to have the Douglas-Dubie administration veto it.”
Every other Republican running for governor either explicitly denies the threat of global warming (22 candidates), ignore it (11 candidates), or claim that the costs of doing anything would be too high (two candidates — California’s Meg Whitman and Arizona’s Jan Brewer). There are no Republican U.S. Senate candidates who support climate policy to limit greenhouse pollution.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Oct 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), right-wing conspiracy theorist and oil-industry apologist, has promised that Republicans are “certainties” to win at least the ten seats necessary to regain control of the U.S. Senate on November 2. Brad Johnson has the story. Read more
ThinkProgress filed this report from Cranberry Township, PA.
In the wake of ThinkProgress’s report detailing how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accepting foreign money into the same general account that it uses to fund partisan attack ads, candidates from across the politicalspectrum are stepping out and calling on the business lobby to disclose its funding. An increasingnumberofpoliticians are also calling for an FEC investigation into the Chamber’s actions.
However, for the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, those calls for transparency are falling on deaf ears. ThinkProgress spoke with Keith Rothfus, a Tea Party favorite, during a meet-and-greet in western Pennsylvania last week. We asked him if he would like to see groups like the U.S. Chamber forced to disclose where their funding comes from. He refused to endorse the idea, arguing instead that such requirements would likely breach the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech:
TP: I know you’d mentioned that you were opposed to the DISCLOSE Act, but would you like to see outside groups like the Chamber be forced to disclose where their money’s coming from?
ROTHFUS: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. When Congress starts to tinker with free speech rights of Americans and starts to make laws that abridge the freedom of speech. Our representatives to Congress take an oath to uphold the Constitution. When the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,” and they pass a law like McCain-Feingold, I’m wondering if they read the First Amendment. I’m going to be very exacting when it comes to defending the right of people to speak.
TP: Would you like to see current campaign finance restrictions rolled back in terms of limits on people’s speech and money?
ROTHFUS: As somebody who has learned how difficult it is to raise money, there is a problem. There is a problem with the way we fund campaigns in this country. [...]
TP: Do you think that the current campaign finance laws are contributing to that incumbent-challenger disparity in terms of fundraising?
ROTHFUS: This is a little different year because it’s a wave year that’s building out there, but I think in the normal sense, yeah, there is an incredible disadvantage that challengers have.
TP: So you might like to see those [campaign finance laws] kind of altered or rolled back?
ROTHFUS: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. That is the major premise. And I will operate under that major premise.
Since the foreclosure fraud scandal — in which banks were caught allowing “robo-signers” to approve potentially fraudulent foreclosure forms — first hit the national airwaves, Wall Street banks have been trying to downplay the extent of the problem, claiming that it only has to do with paperwork mistakes and not a compete disregard for due process and property rights. Wells Fargo and Citigroup both refused to implement foreclosure moratoriums despite their associations with robo-signers, and Bank of America and Ally Financial have both lifted their respective moratoriums.
Epitomizing the banks’ attempt to turn this into a story about mistaken paperwork — and not one about improperly throwing people out of their homes — Bank of America has come forth with an admission that it made “some mistakes” in its foreclosure process, but insists that they are “relatively minor”:
Some of the defects seem relatively minor, according to the bank, and bank officials said they haven’t uncovered any evidence of wrongful foreclosures. There was an address missing one of five digits, misspellings of borrowers’ names, a transposition of a first and last name and a missing signature on one document “underlying” an affidavit, a bank spokesman said. But the bank uncovered these mistakes while preparing less than 1% of the first foreclosure files that it intends to resubmit to the courts in 23 states.
Of course, BofA places the emphasis on innocent sounding mistakes like misspelling a homeowner’s name, and not on far more harmful instances, such as when it foreclosed on a homeowner who didn’t have a mortgage at all. Or when it locked a homeowner who was current on her mortgage payments out of her home, shutting off her utilities and stealing her pet parrot. If the banks are respecting due process, someone who literally does not have a mortgage should never receive a foreclosure notice.
But the banks’ problems also extend beyond those associated with homeowners. BofA, for instance, has been caught selling the same mortgage to multiple investors. As David Dayen put it, “the banks would knowingly put garbage into the mortgage pools and trot it out to the investors while misrepresenting the product. Now, we’re learning, there was a whole new angle – some of the loans showed up in multiple pools.”
This mess, which is entirely of the banks’ own making, extends far beyond some misspellings and empty lines on a form. The entire foundation on which the banks built their foreclosure machines encouraged fraud and speed, without regard for the rights of borrowers. And BofA appears to have learned no lessons, considering that it flew through verifications of its frozen foreclosures at breakneck speed — reviewing about 10,000 per day — after spending months dragging its feet when getting borrowers into sustainable loan modifications.
Bernanke was deceiving Congress with his discussion of the commercial paper market because he single handedly possessed the ability to support the commercial paper market. In fact, the weekend after Congress voted for the TARP he announced that he would create a special Fed lending facility to directly buy commercial paper from non-financial companies.
If Bernanke had been honest with Congress he could have told them of his plans to create such a facility before they voted on TARP and explained that the commercial paper market could be sustained whether or not they approved the TARP bailout.
This is worth mentioning now because this hoary lie keeps popping up. Let’s be clear, it was important for the Fed/government to take steps to sustain a working financial system. But these steps could have included conditions that made Wall Street pay a huge price and change its mode of operation forever.
The “keeps popping up” link is to my post from this morning on the money-money market run and I don’t really see that Baker and I disagree. To quote myself:
It would be silly to say that the policies adopted in response to this—TARP and the AIG bailout, primarily—were the only possible responses. But absent some kind of (nominally) costly and unpopular bailout we would have had a costly and unpopular sequence in which people’s “safe” money market accounts were wiped out, to say nothing of perfectly solvent firms being suddenly unable to meet payroll.
So I say: We didn’t need to follow the Paulson/Bernanke/Geithner script precisely, but we did have to take some kind of dramatic and unusual action. Baker says that we did have to take some kind of dramatic and unusual action, but we didn’t need to follow the Paulson/Bernanke/Geithner script. I don’t see these as particularly divergent points of view, but it is worth understanding the issue from both perspectives. Back in the winter of 2008-2009 I thought Baker’s point was the most important one, but from the perspective of the fall of 2010 I think the bigger problem is that a growing number of people have persuaded themselves that there was never any kind of real problem here.