Barack Obama returned to form in the second presidential debate at New York's Hofstra University. Gone was the polite, even reticent candidate who showed up in Debate 1. Instead, the person on stage last night was passionate, hard-hitting, and determined not to let Mitt Romney get away with the dissembling that comes so naturally to him. You can watch the whole debate here. Some highlights:
(24:26) Romney gave the first of many examples of just how out of touch he is when discussing his tax plan, telling middle-class viewers that their tax burden would be lowered "for this reason: every middle-income tax payer will no longer pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains," adding that you'll see the difference when you get your statement from your "mutual funds or any other investment you may have." So if you've lost your job or your mortgage is underwater, no worries -- your mutual funds are safe!
(32:22) Obama slams Romney's fuzzy math on his tax plan: "Now, Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up."
(38:00) The topic moves to women. Obama notes the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his nomination of two women Supreme Court Justices and how Obamacare helps families, Romney comes out for (don't tell Fox News) affirmative action, issuing the instant classic line about looking at "binders full" of women job applicants. Oh, and he loves women so much, he makes sure to give them time off to go home and cook dinner.
(64:50) Romney tries to pretend that everyone has investments in China and the Cayman Islands, hectoring the president about his pension: "Have you looked at your pension? Mr. President have you looked at your pension?" Obama, laughing, bites back, "You know, I don't look at my pension -- it's not as big as yours, so it doesn't take me that long."
(68:00) Obama stands firm on getting to the bottom of the events in Benghazi, Libya, forcing Romney to his biggest stumble of the debate. Romney continued to wrongly insist that the President had failed to call the attack an act of terror and had to be corrected by the moderator -- to cheers from the audience.
Submitted by: rachel
Biden Gets Ryan to Admit True Agenda
Post date: Fri, 10/12/2012 - 12:59pm
Last night's vice-presidential debate was a joy to watch, with a fearless and confident Joe Biden relentlessly eliciting and then demolishing the talking points behind the Romney/Ryan campaign and -- to use one of Uncle Joe's favorite words -- literally laughing in the face of their lies.
Biden uncovered the GOP ticket's essential ignorance on foreign affairs (from Israel and Syria to Iran and Afghanistan). He vigorously defended the stimulus, noting that even Ryan had had his hand out for federal stimulus money. Biden was single-minded in his defense of the middle class, recalling Romney's notorious 47% comments repeatedly. He also gave a thoughtful and moving defense of the pro-choice position, reminding viewers that one's personal faith should not be imposed on others, and, not incidentally, reminding those same viewers that the Romney/Ryan ticket has a very different position.
However, what should be the big story out of this debate is what the GOP has planned for Social Security. As expected, the Vice President hammered Ryan on his plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program. But incredibly, Ryan also came out in support of privatizing Social Security. Biden put the kibosh on that idea: “With regard to Social Security, we will not privatize it,” he said. “If we listened to Romney in the Bush years imagine where the seniors would be now if their money had been in the market. Their ideas are old. Their ideas are bad.”
The best analysis came from Charles Pierce at Esquire. After noting that, as the vice-presidential nominee, Biden has had the good luck to debate two wide-eyed neophytes on the national stage, Pierce asks, "You know what's the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?
Submitted by: rachel
Post date: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 8:08am
Thanks to Rachel Sumi who has put together a list of critical races and issues for California voters.
Dr. Ami Bera, a chief medical officer in Sacramento and Associate Dean at UC Davis, is a champion of progressive values and practical leadership, and he’s facing one of the most retrograde Republicans in Congress, Dan Lungren, who plotted to block President Obama on Day One and has supported the most right-wing policies, including ending Medicare.
From crop picker to astronaut, Jose Hernandez’s biography epitomizes the American Dream. With a focus on jobs, education and investment in the future, Hernandez seeks a practical approach to moving the country forward again. His opponent is Tea Party activist Jeff Denham, who threw himself a lavish party when elected, then voted against a payroll tax cut for working Americans.
Battleground California also includes two ballot initiatives that are critical to our future, Propositions 30 and 32. The governor’s tax measure, Prop. 30, will ensure that our schools and universities are not hobbled by devastating budget cuts – it needs to pass. Proposition 32, a fake campaign reform bill that lets corporations run wild while putting a straightjacket on labor, would be a disaster – it needs to fail.
Make a difference by joining Battleground California – we need your help! Call or visit either of our volunteer headquarters today.
Local Ballot Measures
It can be confusing to sort through all the various initiatives when you enter that voting booth (or sit down with your mail ballot). We’ll make it easy for you -- the Santa Clara County Democratic Party recommends a YES vote on the following ballot measures:
Santa Clara County Measure A: Measure A would raise Santa Clara County’s sales tax by 1/8th of a cent over 10 years, bringing in nearly $480 million to fund public safety, emergency room services, and programs for low-income children, creating much-needed jobs in the process.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Measure B:Measure B renews local funding to ensure a safe, reliable water supply. In addition, it allows the SCVWD to bring in $360 million in federal and state matching funds to stimulate our local economy and create new jobs, expanding the current focus on protecting local creeks and waterways to funding additional water supply, pollution cleanup and earthquake safety improvements.
City of San Jose Measure D:Measure D raises the minimum wage in San Jose from $8 to $10 an hour. The current rate simply does not provide a minimum ability to live in this high-cost area without relying on more expensive government services, and an increase is long overdue. See our blog post for more on Measure D.
City of San Jose Measure E: San Jose cardrooms generate $100 million annually in economic activity and provide 1200 jobs. Measure E will increase cardroom taxes to $20 million annually, create 200 new jobs and help prevent more budget cuts while restoring some city services.
Morgan Hill Measure G:Measure G is a school bond that would allow the Morgan Hill School District to improve outdated school facilities, invest in science and math programs and improve student access to computers and modern technology.
San Jose Unified School District Measure H:Measure H is a local school repair and improvement bond measure that will support programs to prepare students for jobs, careers and college by upgrading classrooms, science labs and technology.
East Side Union High School District Measure I: Bond Measure
Alum Rock Union School District Measure J: Bond Measure
Berryessa Union School District Measure K: Measure K is a renewal of BUSD's existing $79 parcel tax, passed by voters in 2008 (Measure W). This parcel tax will ensure continued funding for Berryessa's excellent schools without any increase in taxes.
Mt. Pleasant School District Measure L: Bond Measure
Submitted by: jacquie
LIes and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Part MMCMXXLIV
Post date: Thu, 10/04/2012 - 2:52pm
What is it with Republicans and their utter inability to tell the truth? Throughout the campaign we've heard candidate after candidate tell the most amazing whoppers, culminating in Paul Ryan's fact-free speech at the GOP convention. But no one can touch Mitt Romney in this regard; indeed, Romney lies so much, blogger Steve Benen has taken to chronicling them weekly -- so far he's up to 533 in 30 weeks.
And so it went in the first presidential debate. As President Obama discovered, it's difficult to counter an opponent so unhooked from the truth. Romney lied about Medicare, education, Obamacare, and his own tax plan, among many other issues. Savvy viewers could spot those lies a mile away -- like the supposed $716 billion cut in Medicare, a lie debunked repeatedly -- but those who aren't riveted to politics might be more easily swayed. That's why it's critical for each one of us to share the facts with our friends and neighbors whenever we can, whether it's chatting in line at the grocery store or spreading the news on Facebook. After all, to paraphrase a familiar source, then they will know the truth, and the truth will set us free ... from backward Republican policies.
Submitted by: rachel
Support Measure D
Post date: Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:56am
Voters in San Jose will get a chance to give low-income workers a boost this November by voting for Measure D, a local initiative that would raise the minimum wage in San Jose to $10 an hour. Growing out of a classroom project at San Jose State, the measure had its roots in the recognition that, at $8 an hour, the current minimum wage is simply not a livable income for those residing here in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. Appearing on KQED's Forum radio program, Assessor Larry Stone had this to say about Measure D:
The main point on this is it’s the right thing to do. People who work hard, who play by rules should make a fair wage. Workers should be able to live modestly where they work. You cannot live on $16,400 a year or $1,300 a month when that’s $500 less than the average rent right now of $1,800 in San Jose.
Opponents argue that the move will cut jobs and force businesses out of the city, and the Chamber of Commerce has predictably come out in force, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose the measure. Yet study after study has shown that raising the minimum wage does not lead to widespread job loss or hinder business. In fact, low-wage workers end up spending that extra money right away and right in their own communities, boosting the local economy. Opponents also contend that the measure will require a new city bureaucracy, although supporters point out there is no such mandate and that enforcement can be handled within the city department that already exists to handle such claims.
A minimum wage should provide a person at least a minimal ability to support him or herself without relying on food stamps or other government services. The current minimum wage falls far short of this baseline. It's time to change that and do the right thing. Vote YES on Measure D.
Submitted by: rachel
Propositions 30 and 38: A Comparison
Post date: Tue, 09/25/2012 - 2:55pm
Voters are apt to be confused by two competing tax measures on the November ballot, Propositions 30 and 38. Both grew out of a desperate need to do something about devastating state budget cuts, particularly to our schools, and both will raise new tax revenue. However, only one initiative was developed to gain a consensus from a broad spectrum of competing interests. And only one will help schools AND other essential government services avoid crippling blows from the budget ax. That initiative is Proposition 30.
Proposition 30 combines an increase in state income taxes on the highest earners with a modest increase in the state sales tax to enable the state to avoid across-the-board budget cuts that would have a ruinous effect on schools, universities, services to the disabled, and public safety. Proposition 30 not only provides an increase in the baseline Prop. 98 funding for schools, it also guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from the state to local governments. Proposition 38, on the other hand, is focused almost exclusively on K-12 education. While it allows for some pay-down of the state debt, Prop. 38 would do nothing to fund California's once-vaunted university system, which has seen its state funding cut by 50 percent in the last ten years.
Proposition 30 is supported not just by schools but by a wide range of those who want a solid fiscal future for our state -- nurses, police officers, health care groups, as well as a wide-ranging collection of business groups and corporations. Whereas Proposition 38 was put together by a well-meaning millionaire, Proposition 30 was crafted over years by diverse groups who put their individual interests aside to do what is best for our state. That's why it's important to vote YES on Proposition 30.
(An excellent summary of both initiatives can be found here and here.)
Submitted by: rachel
Romney: Half of voters won't vote for me because they're "dependent"
Post date: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 5:48pm
Mitt Romney's blunt assessment of nearly half his fellow Americans was caught on tape earlier this year, and it is a view that, while not surprising, is breathtaking in both its cynicism and its striking lack of empathy. According to Romney, "47 percent" of voters will vote for President Obama "no matter what," not because these voters might agree with the president on policy terms, but because they believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” Also, these Americans “are people who pay no income tax,” so “our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.” Fortunately for Romney, though, “[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Is there any more to say? Here is a candidate who has never known financial struggle, who has an elevator for his car, for crying out loud, disdaining people who think that perhaps in the richest country on earth they might dream of access to food and shelter, and maybe even health care. A guy who wants to gut programs for the poor and elderly so he can provide more handouts to his wealthy patrons, decrying the lack of "personal responsibility."
If you're a voter, you need to ask yourself: have you struggled with unemployment? With getting healthcare? With foreclosure? Do you know anyone who has? If so, remember this in November: Mitt Romney doesn't have to "worry about" you. It's not his "job."
Submitted by: rachel
Want Jobs? Vote for Democrats
Post date: Sun, 09/09/2012 - 3:19pm
Republicans were quick to pounce on the less-than-stellar unemployment report issued the morning after President Obama’s speech in Charlotte, but it would behoove us all to remember another presidential speech, given exactly a year ago. It was last September 8th that President Obama stood before Congress imploring members to pass the American Jobs Act. That plan would have put Americans back to work rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, prevented further layoffs of teachers and firemen, and provided tax cuts to businesses that hired the unemployed. Independent experts, including former McCain adviser Mark Zandi, agreed that the bill would have sparked immediate economic growth and created millions of new jobs. Moreover, the program was fully paid for -- simply by limiting tax deductions for the wealthy.
What happened? Republicans killed it. Though the American Jobs Act was full of bipartisan ideas, the GOP refused to even bring it to a vote in the House, and they filibustered it to death in the Senate. Remember that next time you hear how much Republicans care about jobs.
Let's face it, America won’t move forward until one party stops holding us back.
Submitted by: rachel
Choose the Future
Post date: Fri, 09/07/2012 - 3:11pm
Capping off one of the most exciting and passionate conventions ever, President Obama accepted his nomination for a second term by painting a stark picture of the difference in vision between the the two parties -- a future where a few succeed at the expense of the rest, or one where, working together, everyone benefits. "The path we offer may be harder," he said, "but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future."
Submitted by: rachel
Democratic Convention, Blockbuster Day Two
Post date: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 4:49pm
Day Two of the Democratic Party Convention, and the momentum keeps building. Fresh off the exciting performance by our passionate and talented First Lady, those watching Wednesday were treated to a blockbuster collection of speakers, including Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, General Eric Shinseki, and Cecile Richards. The highlights came in prime time, when we heard Sandra Fluke make her impassioned case for women's rights (honestly -- in this day and age! Thanks a lot, Republicans!) Elizabeth Warren deliver her stirring defense of the middle class and, of course, the Big Dog, former President Bill Clinton, laying out with crystal clarity the compelling case for re-electing Barack Obama.
Clinton held the crowd -- and the TV audience -- in rapt attention, like only he can, taking down the Republican critique of the president point by point, from their lies on welfare reform to their efforts in cutting and gutting Medicare, and everything in between. (See this excellent summary: "Clinton's eight-point takedown of Romney's case for the presidency.")
The kicker? More viewers watched Bill Clinton than watched the NFL opening game!