Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Your Calls Worked!

A message from
Earlier this week, thousands of MoveOn members called their Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, and asked them to stand up for the middle class and make the mega-rich pay their fair share of taxes.
Your calls helped to pressure the Senate to do the right thing. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a Democrat-sponsored bill to let Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, while extending tax cuts for the middle class. And a Republican-sponsored bill to keep the tax cuts for the 1% was defeated!1
The votes on both bills moved forward without being filibustered—a sign that both sides were feeling pressure from constituents. This is a huge step in the right direction after two years of hard work by MoveOn members and allies to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
President Obama has already pledged to veto any extensions of tax breaks to people making more than $250,000 a year, in part responding to a MoveOn-started petition on the White House's We The People site, and thousands of calls, petitions, and emails asking him to commit to ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich.2
There's still more work to do! Next week, the House will be focused on its own tax legislation, and it's going to be a tough fight—Republicans have sworn to hold onto tax cuts for the mega-rich. MoveOn members are going to flood House Representatives with calls to make sure 1% politicians don't hold middle-class tax breaks hostage to give millionaires another handout.
With the strength of 7 million MoveOn members, we will continue to fight for the 99% until we win—stay tuned for next steps!
Thanks for all you do.
–Lenore, Laura, Wes, Eliza, and the rest of the MoveOn team
1. "Senate passes bill to keep tax cuts for the middle class," The Washington Post, July 25, 2012.
2. "Bush Tax Cuts Extension Bill Would Be Vetoed By Obama," Huffington Post, July 10, 2012.
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

Defend NPR, PBS, & Planned Parenthood

A bill to de-fund NPR. And PBS. And Planned Parenthood? And as if that's not enough, why not throw in AmeriCorps and Obama's healthcare law? Let's also slash funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while we're at it.

The nightmare labor, health and education bill introduced by Republicans in the House this week sounds like something out of the Tea Party's wildest dreams.1 But since Tea Party Republicans control the House, their wildest dreams could be about to come true.

Tell Congress: Don't de-fund NPR, PBS and Planned Parenthood! Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Tea Party Republicans have tried to destroy these popular programs again and again. And we've stopped them every time. But never have they put so much vitriol all in one bill.

In the best case scenario, this bill is just another arrogant, time-wasting exercise by Tea Party extremists who are too obsessed with their radical partisan agenda to make any good faith effort to constructively address the many problems facing our country.

But in the worst case, Republicans will unify around this bill as their starting point in budget negotiations to exact painful compromises from Democrats, something we've seen too often in the past.

We need to make it clear. De-funding NPR, PBS, Planned Parenthood and AmeriCorps isn't a starting point — it's a dead end.

Tell Congress: Don't de-fund NPR, PBS and Planned Parenthood! Click here to automatically sign the petition.

As corporate media consolidation threatens our informed democracy, only the Tea Party would think it's a good idea to de-fund public interest media.

As the reign of private insurance companies continues to leave millions of Americans without the care they need, Tea Party logic says to de-fund Planned Parenthood, one of the most venerable and trusted providers of health care services to women.

As banks have ravaged our economy and evaporated retirees' life savings into thin air, only the Tea Party would want to slash Medicare and Social Security, leaving seniors and retirees out in the cold.

And as the obstructionist Republican Tea Party feeds from the trough of corporate money and turns their back on everyday Americans in pursuit of the most radical agenda in history, only Democrats in Congress would think there was any compromising with them.

We need to push back hard to protect funding for NPR, PBS and Planned Parenthood, and keep these vital institutions off the chopping block.

Click below to automatically sign the petition:

Thanks for fighting back.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "House GOP Unveils Bill To Kill AmeriCorps, End Federal Funding For NPR, PBS, Planned Parenthood," The Huffington Post, 07-17-12.

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Remove Bachmann from Intelligence Committee

Michele Bachmann is at it again…but this time, she's gone way too far. Rep. Bachmann and four other Republican members of Congress are accusing Muslim Americans in the U.S. government, including one of Hillary Clinton’s key aides Huma Abedin, of aiding terrorists. They haveabsolutely no evidence. All they have is McCarthy-esque fear tactics.

What's worse? As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Bachmann has access to highly sensitive national security information — information that affects all of our safety.
Bachmann's false and irresponsible attacks went too far even for her fellow Republicans — John McCain called it "an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant." Even Speaker Boehner called Bachmann's words "pretty dangerous."

Michael B. Keegan signature
Michael Keegan, President 
PS: Sen. McCain said it best: "When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it." This isn’t a Democrat vs. Republican issue. It's about defending all of our values.

Ban Assault Weapons

President Obama & Governor Romney: Ask Congress to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban.The shock and trauma from the images and stories from Aurora are still very much with us, and it is impossible to put into words the pain being felt by families and friends of the victims.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out. In the wake of this massacre, it's time to put aside politics and reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons.
After the news broke last Friday, President Barack Obama said that "there are going to be other days for politics, this I think is a day for prayer and reflection." Governor Mitt Romney said, "I stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband, and American."1 Both of their campaigns asked networks to pull their negative advertisements.
The gestures from the two men who are running for President were welcome steps. But, we need more than sympathetic words. We need real leadership to start to address the senseless gun violence that holds our communities hostage.
One of the principal weapons used by the shooter in the horrific Aurora massacre was an AR-15 assault rifle.2 This weapon features a magazine that holds 100 rounds of bullets, and its trigger is capable of firing 50-60 rounds per minute.3
The federal assault weapons ban which was passed in 1994, banned the sale of guns like the AR-15.4 Unfortunately, that ban expired in 2004 as a result of fierce lobbying by the NRA. It's long past time to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons like the AR-15.
CREDO members worked to pass the federal assault weapons ban in 1994. And we fought to stop its expiration in 2004. And we continue to advocate for a federal ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 used in the Aurora massacre.
Massacres on the scale of the tragedy in Aurora happen in part because our federal gun laws make it easy for civilians to obtain military-level firepower. We need to pass and enforce sensible federal gun laws restricting ready access for civilians to assault weapons. Reinstating a strong version of the federal ban on assault weapons known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act is where we should start.
We're not so na├»ve as to think that sensible gun laws are all that's needed to stop the killings. There are many things that need to change in American culture to stop the next Aurora-like massacre. But we do know one thing we should put at the top of the list — keeping military-level assault weapons like the AR-15 with a high capacity clip out of the hands of civilians. Click below to automatically sign the petition.
Thank you for speaking out.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Adam Serwer, "Politicizing Tragedy and the Aurora Theater Shooting,', July 20, 2012.
2. Zack Beauchamp, "Expired Assault Weapons Ban Would Have Covered Rifle Used In Colorado Shooting,", July 20, 2012.
3. Caroline Hedley, "It Was Shockingly Easy For The Batman Shooter To Buy A Massive Arsenal,", July 21, 2012.
4. Beauchamp, "Expired Assault Weapons Ban Would Have Covered Rifle Used In Colorado Shooting."


Help Close the Fund-Raising Gap

A message from "Obama for America":
You know what's kind of amazing?

That we're not getting blown away in the face of unprecedented, unlimited spending from super PACs, Mitt Romney, and all the other shadowy groups trashing Barack Obama nonstop.

In June, nearly 80 percent of the money Romney and the Republicans raised came from just 6 percent of the donations they received -- and that's before we count the super PACs. The other side relies on fewer people giving more, and with this year's new rules, it's a lot more.

Even with all that, we're still in a position of strength heading into the final three months of this race, thanks to grassroots supporters like you. When I talk to a reporter or go on TV, I'm damn proud to tell people that.

The story we're telling is simple: We are a force to be reckoned with, one small donation at a time.

We're facing our next big fundraising deadline this Tuesday.

Help close the fundraising gap between us and them. Keep building our grassroots movement with a donation of $375 or more today.

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, our campaign changed the way people get involved in elections.

He fundamentally believes that asking everyone to chip in whatever they can, and asking people to get personally involved -- to go and talk with their neighbors and friends about why they're a part of it -- is the right way to do this.

Today, in the age of super PACs and outside groups that can spend millions in anonymous money on misleading attack ads, proving the viability of that kind of politics is even more important.

I love talking about the way we've built this campaign. Just take a look at last month: more than 700,000 donors in June -- nearly 200,000 of whom had never donated before -- giving an average of over $50 each.

What we have in the bank at midnight on Tuesday will tell us how big we can go in these critical, final three months. As of tomorrow, there are 100 days left to make it happen.

If we keep up the momentum, I know we can make history again.

You just keep on doing what you do:

Thank you for being part of this,


Tell Trader Joe's: Sell antibiotic-free meat

Tell Trader Joe's: Stop selling meat raised with antibiotics!Earlier this month, medical researchers at the University of Montreal linked a difficult-to-treat bladder infection that affects millions of women a year with a form of antibiotic-resistant E. coli commonly found in chicken.1
This is just one of a growing number of stories about the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs making humans sick, which researchers are increasingly connecting with the rampant overuse of antibiotics in meat production.
This is an emergency situation. But federal regulators appear incapable of overcoming pressure from the Big Meat and pharmaceutical lobbies.
It's time for major retailers like Trader Joe's to step up and help get antibiotics out of our food.
CREDO is joining with Consumers Union2 and other groups to call on Trader Joe's to sell only antibiotic-free meat because the company has shown a commitment to safe food in the past — including sourcing only non-GMO ingredients, and meat free of pink slime.
And because the company sells most of its products under its own label, Trader Joe's has direct control of its supply chain.
The company already sells some meat that does not contain antibiotics, but going all the way would create a powerful incentive for other retailers to follow suit, by meeting the strong consumer demand for meat raised without antibiotics.3
Antibiotics are a crucial tool to cure illness for all of us. And whether or not you eat meat, we're all endangered by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that continue emerging as a result of antibiotic overuse on factory farms.
80% of all antibiotics are currently fed to livestock — primarily as a growth stimulant and to compensate for filthy, cruel living conditions. That needs to stop.
More than 100,000 CREDO members submitted a public comment to the FDA earlier this month urging the agency to strengthen its voluntary and inadequate antibiotics standards.
While we wait for FDA's response, Trader Joe's can show its commitment to food safety, and start moving meat producers away from their dangerous use of antibiotics.
Click below to automatically sign the petition to Trader Joe's now:
Thank you for fighting for save and healthy food.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Friday, July 20, 2012

Join Feminists for Obama

Donate to Organize
The 2012 Presidential election will cast the die on whether our nation will go forward for women's rights and opportunity or whether we will reverse or even erase the gains of the past nearly 50 years. Nothing less is at stake. Feminists cannot afford to be on the sidelines.
That is why I am inviting you to join Feminists for Obama. Too many feminists are not activated yet for this election. We must change that -- this election is too closeand we have too much at stake. We can make a difference. We must make the gender gap a gender gulf.
The Obama-Biden Administration is advancing women's rights on many fronts -- the record of achievements is long. That's why Feminist Majority has launched a new website, Check it out! And we have released a 4-page timeline of the administration's major achievements for women, children, civil and human rights, as well as comparisons of Obama and Romney records and positions on key issues. The comparison is stark.
President Obama is increasing access to birth control -- more than any president in history. Romney wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and Title IX Family Planning Funding. Obama has appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court, including the first Latina, and has made the most diverse nominations (46% women and 36% people of color) to the federal bench. Romney has appointed extreme right-wing Judge Robert Bork to head the committee to advise him on judicial appointments. Bork believes that equal protection under the law does not apply to women, would allow states to outlaw birth control, and believes a corporation has the right to tell women employees that they must be sterilized or be fired.
Nothing is safe. Obama-Biden are fighting for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization in 2012 -- Romney is silent on this issue. And the Republican House has passed a fake VAWA that would roll back protections for women survivors and aid abusers. The Republican House has approved the Ryan Budget that virtually ends Medicare and Medicaid and stops family planning funding. Romney praises the Ryan budget.
For equality,
Ellie Smeal Signature
Eleanor Smeal
Feminist Majority

Reject Shell's Permit to Drill

Shell No!Weeks away from starting the first major offshore oil drilling operations in the Arctic, Shell is pulling a major bait and switch — telling the EPA it can't meet the air pollution rules the company had already agreed to in order to get a drilling permit.1
Shell has known since 2010 it would have problems meeting the rules for nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions.2 But officials still told the EPA they could. Now Shell wants the EPA to weaken the rules at the last minute?
It's clear that Shell simply cannot be trusted. The company's request gives the EPA the option to cancel Shell's permit. That's exactly what EPA must do.
This is our last, best opportunity to block Shell from drilling in the Arctic this summer.
This bait and switch is the latest in a long list of broken promises, walk-backs and mishaps which should serve as clear signs to the Obama Administration that allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic is a recipe for disaster.
Just this weekend, Shell literally lost control of its Discoverer drilling rig, which either ran aground or very nearly did so, when its anchor broke while harbored a thousand miles south of the Arctic.3 Moderate winds are being blamed — yet these winds are mild compared to what it will encounter in the Arctic. The rig, one of the oldest in the world, had a similar anchor malfunction just last year, while it was stationed in New Zealand.
Shell is also having problems with its nearly forty-year-old oil spill recovery barge. While Shell promised the Coast Guard it would upgrade it substantially to withstand stronger weather, Shell now says those upgrades aren't necessary. The Coast Guard hasn't yet decided if it will weaken these standards for Shell.4
And of course — while we've known for some time that the Obama Administration was being hoodwinked by Shell's hopelessly inadequate oil spill response plan — now Shell has come out and admitted its initial spill response claims were overstated. Shell initially said it could "recover" 95% of oil in the case of a major spill. Now Shell is saying that what it actually meant is "encounter" 95% of the oil — whatever that means.5
Shockingly, the Department of Interior has put the probability of an oil spill in the Arctic at 40%.6
That is simply unacceptable. With Shell in the driver's seat, it's clear that it would be unwise to even bank on those unacceptably high odds.
Shell's request to EPA is a major opportunity for President Obama and the EPA to revisit the undeserved trust they have put in Shell thus far. It's time for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to be a hero, and draw a line to stop the next major drilling disaster in the Arctic.
With Shell hoping to start drilling as soon as the Arctic sea ice clears in the coming weeks, EPA's response could come any day. Click here to automatically add your name to the petition now:
Thank you for defending the Arctic from reckless offshore drilling.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Thank Senator Whitehouse re DISCLOSE Act

Thank Sen. WhitehouseEarlier this week, Senate Republicans shamelessly abused the filibuster to prevent the DISCLOSE Act from passing. But the Democrats, led by progressive champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, didn't take it lying down.
Instead, they confronted the obstructionist Republicans intent on protecting the secret campaign spending by billionaires and wealthy corporate interests, and took their case directly to the American people.
And when Sen. Whitehouse went to the floor of the Senate to fight for the DISCLOSE Act, he brought your name with him, along with the signatures of over 213,000 members of CREDO Action who signed on as citizen co-sponsors of the bill.
Click here
to watch the video
Sometimes the threat of a Republican filibuster has been enough to keep an issue from being raised in the Senate.
But this time the Democrats didn't let the Republicans kill the DISCLOSE Act without a fight.
The Republicans gave every excuse in the book for opposing the DISCLOSE Act because they couldn't justify defending secret election spending by billionaires and wealthy corporations.
And the supporters of the DISCLOSE Act stayed on the Senate floor past midnight talking about the need to stop the torrent of secret election spending that's flooded our political system since the Supreme Court handed down its terrible Citizens United decision.
By keeping the fight going, it allowed CREDO Action members to make over 3,500 reported calls to Republicans who were blocking the bill.
Click the link below to watch the video of Sen. Whitehouse's remarks, and then sign the petition to thank the Senate Democrats for fighting to pass the DISCLOSE Act:
We knew this would be an uphill battle, but we need to pick hard fights like this to begin restoring some sanity to a campaign finance system that has become insane.
And it's important that we have leaders in the Senate like Sen. Whitehouse who are willing to step up and take on this kind of hard fight. When they do so, they deserve our support.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. Speaking about the citizen co-sponsors, Sen. Whitehouse said:
I've got with me today on the Senate floor ... 213,000 citizen co-sponsors of this DISCLOSE Act, which were collected by CREDO Action.
Unlike the corporations and the billionaires who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy our elections — and who insist on doing it in secret — these regular people are unashamed to stand up for what they believe in.
Their pride in civic engagement reflects the best values of America, and their numbers show that this is an issue where a broad cross-section of Americans demand a change to what is happening in our elections.
As Justice Antonin Scalia has written (I'll quote him), "[r]equiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed."
Our friends who have signed on as citizen co-sponsors have that courage, and the biggest campaign spenders in the world should as well.

Ann Romney: "You People..."

From The Atlantic:
Did Ann Romney Really Call Americans 'You People' This Morning?
JUL 19 2012, 3:29 PM ET 276
Asked about releasing tax returns, the GOP candidate's wife says her family isn't hiding anything.

With Mitt Romney in attack mode, Ann Romney was on the TV circuit Thursday morning, talking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. During that interview, she was pressed on whether her husband will release his taxes for more than the last two years. Her comments are being widely reported as this:

We've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.

Needless to say, using "you people" is pretty much never a good look -- at the very least, it comes across as patronizing and condescending. Dan Amira reviewed the tape and comes away arguing that's not actually what she said -- that in fact she just stumbled verbally. It's a tough call, but you can watch and decide for yourself. But who cares if Ann Romney had a brief slip? As verbal gaffes go, this one ranks pretty low. People who see this as proof of Romney's irredeemable snobbiness almost certainly felt she was irredeemably snobby already. Nor is it news that the Romneys aren't big fans of the media.Here's something more interesting from the interview (emphasis added):

You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he's been financially. He's a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn't take a salary for four years.

This is not a compelling argument. To claim that you're not hiding anything when you are expressly hiding something -- your tax returns -- makes little sense. No one wants the entire world combing through their taxes, but there are certain prices one pays for the privilege of becoming (or trying to become) the leader of the free world. The easiest way to end these questions is to release the returns.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Take Down the Tea Party 10

Last week, the Tea Party House of Representatives made their 31st vote to overturn President Obama's health care law.

Even though the Supreme Court said the health care law is OK, for the Tea Partiers who control the House, taking away health care for young adults, women and people with pre-existing conditions is such a high priority that despite no chance of their vote becoming law, they have voted to do it 31 times!

This is what happens when Tea Party Republicans hold the majority in Congress. And we simply cannot let them stay in the driver's seat for two more years.

One of the most important things we can do to have a shot at taking away Tea Party control of Congress is to Take Down the Tea Party Ten. Can you chip in $5 to help?

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and lots of scenarios in which we can or cannot take back the House from Tea Party extremists.

But the math is ultimately pretty simple: To take the Tea Party Republicans' majority in Congress, we need to defeat them in 26 more Republican-held seats than they win.

The CREDO SuperPAC is building local grassroots campaigns against ten of the worst. We picked them not just because they are terrible on the issues, but also because they are in extremely close races, where strong grassroots organizing can make the difference.

That's what we're doing, and it's making an impact. Since we launched this campaign, the re-election prospects for Chip Cravaack in Minnesota and Frank Guinta in New Hampshire have been downgraded by major political forecasters The Cook Political Report1 and Larry Sabato.2

That's no small feat. Millions of dollars are already being thrown around from Karl Rove and Koch-brothers backed SuperPACs — and the cash has barely even started to flow. We'll have to fight back just as hard to take down all ten.

If we do, it'll be a major step toward taking away Congress from Tea Party extremists.

Chip in $5 to take down the Tea Party Ten.

Thanks for standing with us,

Mudcat Arnold, Campaign Manager

1. Cook Political Report: 8th District race a toss-up," Minnesota Public Radio, February 17th, 2012
2. Sabato Move Guinta Seat To Toss-Up," NH Insider, May 10, 2012

CREDO SuperPAC is working to defeat ten of the most extreme Tea Party Republicans in Congress: Allen West (FL-18), Dan Lungren (CA-07), Joe Walsh (IL-08), Chip Cravaack (MN-08), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Frank Guinta (NH-01), and Steve King (IA-4). Learn more at

Paid for by CREDO SuperPAC,, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Romney & Bain Capital

Explosive news broke last week that Mitt Romney may have been in charge of Bain Capital well after he claimed to leave in 1999, as Bain continued to outsource American jobs.1
Romney's own tax returns could help clear up his actual role at Bain during this time and his responsibility for what happened to those workers, but he's refusing to release them.
Even Romney's Republican allies, including two governors, are now calling on him to release more of his returns.2 And guess what? The one complete tax return Romney did release details massive offshore investments in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account.3
Enough's enough. It's time for Mitt to come clean. Public pressure is building and we have the opportunity to pour it on with a MASSIVE petition, because even Mitt's Republican friends (and your conservative uncle) understand that Americans need to know the basic truth about our presidential candidates.
We'll deliver the petition soon to his campaign headquarters in Boston. So after you sign, be sure to share the petition with everyone you know—including your conservative uncle.
The American public deserves to know more than one year's worth of tax history for a presidential candidate—especially when there are legitimate questions about his financial record. And Americans need to know how long Romney was involved with Bain Capital as it continued to bankrupt American companies and outsource American jobs.
Romney's going against a tradition of transparency started by his own father, who released 12 years of returns when he ran for president saying, "One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show."4 It's time for Romney to come clean and let the American public know the truth about his taxes.
On Friday, MoveOn members went to Romney's campaign offices across the country to get him to come clean. Now this petition can put even more pressure on Romney to release his tax returns.
Then share the petition—and remember, not just with your friends but with your conservative uncle too! 
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Victoria, Emily, Milan, and the rest of the MoveOn team
1. "Mitt Romney stayed at Bain 3 years longer than he stated," The Boston Globe, July 12, 2012
2. "Bill Kristol: Mitt Romney 'Should Release The Tax Returns Tomorrow,'" The Huffington Post July 15, 2012
3. "Mitt Romney's offshore accounts draw more fire," The Boston Globe, July 9, 2012
4. "On tax returns, Mitt won't follow the leader—his dad," The Washington Post, July 11, 2012
"Biden to Latino group: 'Romney wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his,'" ABC News, July 10, 2012

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Secret Election Spending

secret election spendingThe next few days will be critical for those of us who want to stop the secret election spending that's flooding into our political system.
Today the Senate will have its first vote on the DISCLOSE Act, with progressive champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse leading the charge to pass it.
It's an important bill that would force most groups spending money on elections to reveal the corporations, individuals and entities who fund them.
Passing it would be the first step to restoring the voice of everyday citizens in our elections, and restoring a small measure of sanity to a system of campaign finance that has become completely insane.
To be clear, what we really need is to get all corporate money out of politics, to roll back Citizens United, end corporate personhood and institute public financing of elections. And we are working hard toward those long term goals.
But in the interim, we must fight on all fronts, especially bringing more transparency to corporate campaign donations.
While it won't end unlimited corporate election spending, the DISCLOSE Act at least brings this spending out of the shadows — where we can expose it, and fight back.
Pick up the phone and tell your senators to support the DISCLOSE Act. Click the link below for contact information and a sample script:
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Hey, Mitt! Show Us Your Taxes

A message from Democracy for America:  
From Bill Kristol to former Bush aide Matthew Dowd, even Republicans are demanding Mitt Romney release his tax returns.
"There's obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, 'Have at it.'"
-Former George W. Bush aide Matthew Dowd
Mitt Romney has made a calculated decision that it's better to be attacked for his lack of transparency than to have the America public discover the truth about his finances. It all raises the question: what's Romney hiding? What could be so damaging that he has refused to release his records and move forward with his campaign?

In a neck-and-neck race for the presidency, the truth about Romney's finances could make the difference.

The American people deserve the truth -- Demand Romney release his tax returns.

The Romney campaign will do everything in its power to change the subject and smear President Obama. We've already seen them try to explain away conflicting stories about Romney's time with Bain Capital by claiming he "retroactively retired" before Bain outsourced jobs and attacked workers. Don't let Romney get away with continuing to hide and distort the truth.

We've teamed up with Daily Kos and USAction to ensure this issue won't go away. We're planning to deliver our petition to the Romney HQ in Boston in front of the press, but first, we want to make sure your name is included.

Join 50,000 DFA members nationwide and demand Mitt Romney reveal the truth about his taxes.

There is too much at stake for the 2012 presidential campaign to allow Romney to get away with hiding the truth. Join us in holding Romney accountable and finding out what he's hiding.

- Michael Langenmayr, Political Director
Democracy for America

Friday, July 13, 2012

NAACP Boos Romney

Link to video:

July 11, 2012, 12:27 pm  642 Comments
To Boos and Polite Applause, Romney Speaks to the N.A.A.C.P. By ASHLEY PARKER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
HOUSTON — Less than four years after President Obama swept into the White House with the overwhelming support of black voters, Mitt Romney appeared on Wednesday before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with a bold claim: “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him,” Mr. Romney said.

His assertion was met with cackles and boos — as well as some tepid applause — and was emblematic of his entire speech, in which he tried to appeal to African-Americans, while still offering some tough medicine and policy prescriptions unpopular with them.

In his roughly 25-minute speech at the N.A.A.C.P.’s annual convention here in Houston, Mr. Romney promised to fight teachers’ unions and repeal the president’s health care plan, both positions that are unpopular among blacks.

When he said would “eliminate every nonessential expensive program I can find, that includes Obamacare,” the crowd began to boo — the first of several instances of vocal disagreement. Mr. Romney grinned nervously and deviated slightly from his prepared remarks, as he tried to explain his position.

He also said he would “defend traditional marriage.” Though many African-Americans have not warmed to same-sex marriage, the N.A.A.C.P. passed a resolution in May supporting marriage equality.

“I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president,” Mr. Romney said.

Mr. Romney’s speech was blunt and delivered with little of the typical rhetorical flourishes and soaring language that is often aimed at celebrating the history of the civil rights movement.

Instead, the presumptive Republican nominee came straight to the point, awkwardly acknowledging the lack of support among African-Americans for a candidate from his party.

But even as he accepted that reality, Mr. Romney appeared determined to deliver a tough critique of Mr. Obama’s economic policies in the face of a restless crowd that at several points booed him.

To the audience, he suggested that their support for the president was misplaced, a mistaken assumption that his policies would make their lives better. In fact, Mr. Romney said, African-Americans would do better if he was president.

“If I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president,” he said.

His message — offered with little veneer — was basically this: you should not support Mr. Obama just because he is an African-American.

Though Mr. Obama, the country’s first African-American president, won 95 percent of the black vote in 2008, Mr. Romney is not ceding any ground in what his campaign anticipates will be a close election in November. The black vote, which is still solidly in Mr. Obama’s column, could prove crucial in swing states like North Carolina and Virginia.

“This is an honor to address you, and one I had not expected, and one I value very highly,” Mr. Romney said, before later promising that, as president, he would return to the convention next year, if invited.

In May, Mr. Romney hired a consultant, Tara Wall, to help with outreach to black voters, and he also visited an inner-city charter school in West Philadelphia, where he was heckled. But his appearance on Wednesday was his most pointed wooing of black voters this campaign, even as he offered a speech that was less conciliatory in tone that many in the crowd had expected.

Mr. Romney also offered an economic pitch to the group, similar to the one he has been making to Hispanic voters — another critical voting bloc, especially in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

“The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, median family wealth are all worse in the black community,” he said. “In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African-Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent.”

Last month, speaking to an annual conference of Hispanic officials, Mr. Romney addressed the topic of immigration — both legal and illegal — but ultimately gave a tweaked version of his economy-driven stump speech.

Many in the audience gave Mr. Romney credit for showing up and speaking to the group, but said they were frustrated with certain aspects of his speech.

“I give him thumbs up for being courageous,” said William Braxton, 59, a retired attendee from Charles County, Md., with a chuckle. “He was courageous without a doubt.”

But Mr. Braxton said he took issue with Mr. Romney’s claim that he would be the best president to serve black citizens.

“Oh my God, I was shocked,” Mr. Braxton said. “Never ever have I heard him say anything about how he would help the poor or underprivileged, let alone the black community. Maybe his view is that he could tell us what we want to hear and we’re supposed to swallow it.”

Donna Payne, 48, of Washington, D.C., who was at the convention as a representative of the Human Rights Campaign, said that she thought Mr. Romney “did the best he could,” before dissolving in laughter.

“To say he would repeal Obama’s health care plan is absolutely a joke,” Ms. Payne said. “I can’t believe he had the nerve to even bring up repealing the plan in the middle of speaking to an audience that fought hard for the health care plan and for coverage. It’s a total misread of who you’re talking to.”

In recent national polls, Mr. Obama still overwhelmingly leads Mr. Romney among black voters, many of whom are suspicious of Mr. Romney’s record on civil rights and diversity, especially when he was the governor of Massachusetts. Upon taking office, for his instance, he eliminated the state’s Office of Affirmative Action.

Mr. Romney is also a member of the Mormon Church, which until 1978 barred blacks from entering the priesthood. But Mr. Romney’s father, George Romney, a former governor of Michigan, was known for his aggressive stance on civil rights. The elder Mr. Romney refused to support Barry Goldwater in 1964 because he was worried about his extreme rhetoric and his campaign’s appeals to the Southern white segregationist vote, and he later used his perch as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development to try to integrate the suburbs.

Mr. Romney mentioned his father near the end of his speech, mentioning several instances of his civil rights work and concluding: “He was a man of the fairest instincts, and a man of faith who knew that every person was a child of God.”

Though Mr. Obama was invited to address the group as well, he canceled, citing a scheduling conflict, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will speak at the convention on Thursday.

Hit Mitt

In 2004, MoveOn made an ad about George Bush that was one of the most covered political ads, for the least money, in history—meaning, tens of millions more people saw it than we paid to show it to.1
Two weeks ago I asked our creative team to do it again—to give me the very best ideas they had for ads or videos to show that Mitt Romney would be great for the 1%, but terrible for the rest of us.
I just got the scripts back, and I'm totally blown away—I was hoping for one breakout hit, but there are at least six that are memorable, hilarious, and devastating—each one as good as or better than our ad in 2004.
Now we're in a pickle because we didn't budget for that many ads. So I'm coming to you for help.
It's hard to overstate how crucial it is for progressives to define Romney. He's gaining in the polls, and the election looks increasingly daunting. Last month, the Romney campaign hauled in $106 million, blowing away the Obama campaign for a second month in a row. If this keeps up, President Obama could be the first presidential incumbent to be outspent in modern history—and that doesn't even count the Super PACs.2
We can't compete with that directly—we don't have $9 million to drop in one day on attack ads like the Kochs do3. But we can make and air these ads for $600,000, and I think they're powerful enough to generate tens of millions of dollars worth of media coverage, spreading our message exponentially and making your contributions really compete with big money donors. We just need to raise the money to do it.
The weakness of the economy means that President Obama faces an uphill battle. A Romney victory would be a catastrophe—he's promised to slash vital programs like Medicare, Social Security, and environmental protection, and repeal Obamacare, while giving a huge round of tax breaks to the 1%. He'd also be in a position to nominate up to three Supreme Court justices in his first term, skewing the court further to the right for a generation.
But the more voters learn about Romney's history with Bain Capital, and policies favoring the very rich, the less they like him. That's why it's so urgent to get the message out.
The right ad can swing an election—that's what the Swift Boat veterans did to John Kerry. Theirs was a lie, while ours are just as powerful—but true.
We just need to raise the money to get these ads made and on the air while there's still time to define Romney. Please help!
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Laura, Emily, Victoria, and the rest of the MoveOn team
1. "Censored at the Super Bowl," Newsweek, January 29, 2004
2. "Romney raises more than $106 million in June," CBS, July 9, 2012
3. "Koch-backed group launches $9 million ad campaign against health law," The Hill, June 29, 2012

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