Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Initial Reaction to the Second Debate

The president NAILED it. Scored on nearly EVERY point. Romney hung himself on Benghazi. The president DID in fact call it an act of terror and the tape from the Rose Garden proves it.

Romney did the same thing as he did in the first debate, he bullied his talking points to fit the audience but THIS time the president hit back and scored the knock out punch at the end!

We have, I do believe, ourselves an Obama second term!

A Nation Better Than That -- better composed

The dastardly picture of a man wearing a racist T-shirt at a Romney rally that said "Put the White Back in the White House" with a Romney/Ryan sticker on top of the logo says it all as pictures often are worth a thousand words. If one TRULY wants to know the difference between those who occupy the Romney camp and those who are part of the Obama candidacy feast your eyes on that indicting picture one can find all over the net. It truly is what one needs to know when making one's choice for president of the United States.

Whatever the Democratic Party may or may not be it is a party of INCLUSION, diversity and acceptance especially of those in our country's history who have been heretofore shut out of the political process en masse. The Republican Party is a party of EXCLUSION but the Democratic Party makes a home for all. One can see the diversity and feel the welcoming ethos at every Democratic event one attends and I have attended many.

The Republican Party is a party composed of, in large part, white racist radicals, nativists, nationalists and ultra religious Christians in extremis and on steroids. The Constitutional fence of church/state separation would be torn down by them. The Republican Party is anti-women, anti gay, anti immigrant, anti persons of color and anti choice. Simply read the Republican platform to see how extreme this party has become. Those who compose the Republican Party are trying to hang on to the last vestiges of white privilege. We, in the Democratic Party and those independents of egalitarian heart will not let them because we are a nation MUCH BETTER than that!

A Nation Better Than That!

This dastardly picture of a man wearing a racist T-shirt at a Romney rally says it all as pictures often are worth a thousand words. If one TRULY wants to know the difference between those who occupy the Romney camp and those who are part of the Obama candidacy feast your eyes on these indicting pictures below. It truly is what one needs to know when making one's choice for president of the United States.

Whatever the Democrats may or may not be it is a party of INCLUSION, diversity and not exclusion especially of those in our country's history who have been shut out of the political process en masse. They are NO LONGER shut out as the Democratic Party makes a home for all.

The Republican Party is the party of white racist radicalism, nativism, nationalist and religious extremism on steroids. The Republican Party is anti-women, anti gay, anti immigrant and anti persons of color. Those who compose the Republican Party are trying to hang on to the last vestiges of white privilege. We will not let them because we are a nation MUCH BETTER than that! (Scroll down to the pics)

The party of white's days are numbered and they know it. These despicable pictures below are WHY it is IMPERATIVE to RE-ELECT THE PRESIDENT AND WITH HIM THE GREAT ELIZABETH WARREN TO THE SENATE FROM MASSACHUSETTS. 

Memo to the President: Your Next Debate -- Robert Reich's prescription for a successful debate

If there is a more insightful, direct and academically precise analyzer of politics and political debate I do not know of him.  Robert Reich is one of my political gurus.  He is a political compass who is well versed about Washington and its milieu having served in the Clinton Administration as Labor Secretary and adviser to three other presidents.   In recent times he has made numerous appearances on reputable news commentary shows and provides analysis on a host of economic and other political issues.  He teaches at two prestigious schools, has written numerous articles and books.  His credentials are impeccable.   I offer the following prescription to our president for tonight's debate.  I believe it is exactly the advice the president should follow and, moreover, I hope he gets a copy of Mr. Reich's memo.  If you want to know exactly why Mitt Romney should never set foot within two feet of the White House door read what it has to say about the critical difference between the two candidates.  It should leave you chilled that the contest is even that close due to appearances and not the substance of one lonely first debate.  Surely, we are a better nation than that!


Memo to the President: Your Next Debate

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
15 October 12
From: Robert Reich

RE: Upcoming debate
Your passive performance in the last debate was damaging because it reenforced the Republican claim that you've been too passive in getting jobs back and in responding to terrorism abroad.
That doesn't mean you have to "come out swinging" this time. You need to be yourself, and one of your qualities that the public finds reassuring is your steadiness and authenticity, by contrast to Romney's unsteady flip-flopping and apparent willingness to say and be anything. But you will need to be more energetic and passionate.
And although the "town meeting" style debate in which you'll be answering audience questions isn't conducive to sharp give-and-take with Romney, look for every opportunity to nail him. Indignance doesn't come naturally to you, but you have every reason to be indignant on behalf of the American people.
Emphasize these five points:
1.                              Not only is the economy is improving, but there's no reason to trust Romney's claim he would improve it more quickly. He's given no specifics about how he'd pay for his massive tax cut for the wealthy, or what he'd replace ObamaCare with, or how he'd regulate Wall Street if he repeals Dodd-Frank. His record to date has flip-flopped on every major issue. Why should Americans trust his assertions?
2.                              Our problems require we pull together, but Romney and his party want to pull us apart. Romney has praised Arizona's draconian anti-immigration law profiling Hispanics, and has called for "voluntary deportation" by making life intolerable for undocumented workers. He is against equal marriage rights. He wants to ban abortions, and his party and running mate want to ban them even in the case of rape or incest. He's determined to make the rich richer and the rest of us poorer. Romney is beholden to a radical right-wing Republican party that is out of step with most of America.
3.                              Romney's "reverse Robin Hood" agenda is inappropriate at a time when the wealthy are taking home a larger share of total income and wealth than they have in a century, and when the middle class is still struggling. He wants to cut taxes on the rich by almost $5 trillion - which inevitably means higher taxes on the rest of us; and over 60 percent of its budget cuts come out of programs for the poor and working middle class. He's determined to turn Medicare into vouchers whose value won't keep up with rising healthcare costs, and turn Medicaid over to cash-starved states. His comment about "47 percent" of Americans not paying taxes and taking government handouts was not only wrong (every working person pays payroll taxes, and every consumer pays sales taxes; and the biggest so-called "entitlements" are Social Security and Medicare, which are insurance programs that Americans pay for during their working years). The comment also reveals a callousness and divisiveness that's the opposite of what we need now. Romney wants to set Wall Street loose again when the Street's greed got us into the mess we're still trying to get out of.
4.                              Romney views America as if it was one huge corporation, but we're not a corporation; we're a nation. He says corporations are people; touts his years at Bain as if making companies profitable qualifies him to be president; wants to deregulate corporations and Wall Street; and assumes CEOs and the wealthy are "job creators," and if we cut their taxes they'll have more incentive to create jobs. None of this is true. The nation exists to make lives better for all its people - making sure that corporations treat their workers as assets to be developed rather than as costs to be cut. Companies have been slow to create jobs not because of insufficient profits but because of inadequate customers. The vast American middle class are the real job creators, but they don't have enough money in their pockets because too many companies have broken the basic bargain linking wages to productivity.
5.                              On foreign policy, Romney wants to rush to judgment, blaming the administration for not acting quickly enough in Libya on scant information. But that rush-to-judgment mentality is exactly what got us into Iraq eight years ago on the pretext of "weapons of mass destruction." Two days ago we marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. Had John F. Kennedy rushed to judgment as Romney wants to, humankind would have been obliterated in a nuclear holocaust.
Be indignant, but measured and steady - as you naturally are. Practice your closing (your last closing was listless) so the nation can see clearly the choice: We're all in it together, or we're on our own.

Factcheck: Warren is correct; Brown’s ad is a distortion.


I wanted to pass on this factcheck for you to use when you're talking to your neighbors, friends and family.

Scott Brown's lies are a sign of his flailing campaign. He's desperate and slinging mud, but we still need to fight back. The best way for us to get the truth out about Scott Brown's record is to have grassroots volunteers like you start conversations in your community.

This weekend thousands of grassroots volunteers will knock on doors for Elizabeth Warren and our Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Will you join them?

Please check out this link to get involved: http://www.massdems.org/get-involved/


Matt House
Director of Rapid Response
Massachusetts Democratic Party

Warren’s Role in Asbestos Case

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren are accusing each other of “not telling the truth.” Brown says Warren worked to “restrict payments” to asbestos victims, while Warren says she worked to “get more money” for them. We find Warren is correct; Brown’s ad is a distortion.
It may seem counter-intuitive that Warren’s work on behalf of an insurance company that covered an asbestos manufacturer could be work on the same side as the victims of the case. But Warren was brought in as a bankruptcy expert on a case before the Supreme Court to secure a $500 million trust to pay asbestos victims. As part of a settlement that Warren worked to preserve, the insurance company sought immunity from lawsuits in exchange for releasing the $500 million trust. Attorneys for most of the asbestos victims supported Warren’s efforts.

Here are the two narratives portrayed by the competing campaigns.
Brown’s Version

In recent TV and radio ads, the Brown campaign begins with a narrator saying, “Elizabeth Warren’s not telling the truth about her career.” It then cuts to a clip of Warren saying, “I’ve been out there working for people who have been injured by big corporations.”

The narrator then says, “But the [Boston] Globe says Elizabeth Warren was a key lawyer in an asbestos case working for a big corporation. Warren helped Travelers Insurance restrict payments to victims of asbestos poisoning. The results were disastrous for the victims. The insurance company saved millions. And Elizabeth Warren got paid 40 times what they paid victims. Elizabeth Warren’s just not who she says she is.”

Brown echoed those comments during a debate on Sept. 20, saying, “You chose to side with one of the biggest corporations in the United States: Travelers Insurance. When you worked to prohibit people who got asbestos poisoning, and I hope all the asbestos union workers are watching right now. She denied, she helped Travelers deny those benefits for asbestos poisoning, made over $250,000 in an effort to protect big corporations. There is only one person in this debate, right now, Jon, who is protecting corporations. She has a history of it.”
“It’s just not true,” Warren said at the debate. ”The facts speak for themselves.”
Warren’s Version

Although she didn’t elaborate during the debate, Warren’s camp later fired back with two ads featuring family members of victims of mesothelioma who describe Warren as a champion of their cause.

“I’ve been a widow since 1990 when my husband, Sam, died of mesothelioma,” says Ginny Jackson. “He was exposed to asbestos when he worked at the Quincy shipyard. It’s a terrible, terrible way to die. Elizabeth Warren went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to get more money for asbestos victims and families. Now Scott Brown is attacking Elizabeth Warren about her work. Scott Brown is not telling the truth. He’s trying to use our suffering to help himself. He outta be ashamed.”

Warren’s version of the case has been publicly backed by several attorneys representing the asbestos victims, as well as leaders of an asbestos workers’ union.
“He’s flat out misrepresenting the facts,” Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local No. 6 told the Boston Globe. “It’s offensive to all these people who’ve lost lives” to asbestos-­related illness, he said.

Warren’s Work

At the heart of this issue is an ongoing asbestos case involving the nation’s largest asbestos manufacturer, Johns-Manville Corp. The company ended up in bankruptcy, leaving some victims, who did not develop symptoms until more than a decade after others, seeking compensation from an ever-shrinking victims fund. By the time Warren entered the case in 2008, more than $3.2 billion had been paid out to over 600,000 claimants.

Warren was brought into the case by Travelers Insurance, one of the insurers of Johns-Manville. Specifically, Warren worked on the case Travelers v. Baily to preserve a $500 million trust from which current and future victims would be paid — part of a settlement agreement previously reached between lawyers for Travelers and the victims.

According to Warren’s financial disclosure forms, Warren was hired by Travelers in April 2008 and did work for the company through September 2010. By that time, Travelers and the asbestos victims were working together on a common goal: to preserve the $500 million trust both sides had agreed to. Another insurance company, Chubb, was contesting the settlement agreement, and Warren ended up making her one and only appearance before the Supreme Court arguing on behalf of Travelers to uphold the trust. As part of the deal, Travelers would be permanently immune from future asbestos-related lawsuits concerning Johns-Manville. Warren’s argument prevailed. According to the Globe, Warren was paid $212,000 over three years by Travelers.

So it’s true, as the Brown ad says, that a Boston Globe headline on May 1 described Warren as playing a “key role in an asbestos court case.” But the subhead of the story — “Worked for insurer on fund for victims” — belies the ad’s claim about her opposing the interest of the victims.

Specifically, the ad leaves out this pivotal paragraph from the same Globe story:

Boston Globe, May 1: Travelers won most of what it wanted from the Supreme Court, and in doing so Warren helped preserve an element of bankruptcy law that ensured that victims of large-scale corporate malfeasance would have a better chance of getting compensated, even when the responsible companies go bankrupt.
Unfortunately for the asbestos victims, the Supreme Court’s decision wasn’t the final word on this case. After Warren left the case, it took a “disastrous” turn for the victims when a lower court issued a ruling on Feb. 29, 2012, that, as the Globe reported, took Travelers “off the hook for paying out the $500 million settlement.”
The Globe noted that according to one judge who tried to preserve the settlement, Travelers received “something for nothing” — immunity from future lawsuits without having to pay out the $500 million trust.
Warren has said she believes the lower court erred. The ruling is still under appeal.

Bruce Carter, an Ohio attorney whose firm has worked on behalf of over 19,000 claimants in the case, told us Brown has simply mischaracterized Warren’s role. The idea that Warren was working against the interests of the victims, he said, is ”not true.”

“During the period she worked with Travelers, the claimants (the victims) and Travelers were working together to do what was necessary to get these funds approved and established,” Carter said. “We were all working together for the benefit of the victims. We were working together toward a common goal.”
The trust established through a settlement with Travelers avoided further legal wrangling that “could have taken many, many more years, if ever, to succeed,” Carter said. In other words, he said, the trust provided a mechanism for victims to actually get paid.

In an interview with the Globe in May, Warren said, “The issue I was focused on like a laser was the constitutionality of preserving the trust, because the trust is a critical tool for making sure that people who’ve been hurt have a fair shot at compensation. Without it, millions of people who’ve already been injured will get nothing, and millions more in the future will get nothing.”

How close was the relationship between Travelers and victims? Before the Supreme Court, the attorneys representing the victims gave Travelers’ attorneys their time so they could provide a more complete argument in favor of the settlement agreement, Carter said.

“That tells you, we worked together toward a common goal,” Carter said. “We gave them our time to argue to the panel.”

It was only after Warren left the case, he said, that Travelers “tried to back out of the deal and try to get something for nothing.”

Another lawyer representing victims in the case, Edwin L. Wallace with the law firm Thornton & Naumes in Boston, echoed Carter’s assessment.

“She was working for the victims,” Wallace said.

“In order to pay the victims, we needed a settlement trust,” said Wallace, who has contributed to Warren’s campaign. “She represented Travelers for that argument.”
Warren’s work for Travelers was over by the time a lower court ruled that Travelers would not have to pay the $500 million trust. So no one — including Ginny Jackson, the woman featured in the Warren ad — has been paid yet.

Carter and Wallace both said that — contrary to what the Brown campaign is now saying — neither they nor Warren could have foreseen the lower court ruling that let Travelers off the hook for the $500 million trust.
And Wallace is confident that ruling will be overturned. “They will get paid,” Wallace predicted.
– Robert Farley