Republican leaders failed in their attempt to browbeat Todd Akin into withdrawing from his Missouri US Senate race in time to let party leaders appoint a replacement candidate who is smart enough not to admit publicly before the election that the party is trying to outlaw abortions for rape and incest victims.
Republican hopes to take over the Senate hinge on beating Sen. Claire McKaskill (D-Mo.), but Akin, a congressman from the St. Louis suburbs who sits on the House Science Committee despite being a climate change and evolution denier, won the Republican nomination with strong support of Tea Party Republicans, but he appeared to widen the gap between the GOP and women voters when he explained in a TV interview (8/19) why he didn’t think abortion should be an option, even in cases of rape. He suggested that women usually don’t conceive in cases of “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He added, “Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something ... I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, joined in the indignation at Akin’s gaffe, which suggested that if a rape victim gets pregnant it wasn’t really rape. But Adam Peck and Ian Milhiser noted at ThinkProgress.org (8/19) that Ryan joined Akin in co-sponsoring HR 3, the bill which would have further restricted the use of federal funds for abortions, which under current law allows an exception for rape victims. Akin and Ryan would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” might be terminated. The language on forcible rape was removed from HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill, before it passed the House on a 251-175 vote (5/4/11) but a committee report specified that abortions resulting from statutory rape would not be funded. The bill died in the Senate. (Ryan has said he believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.”) Ryan and Akin also co-sponsored a federal “personhood bill” which declares that a fertilized egg is entitled to the same legal rights as a human being. Such a law, if upheld by the courts, could turn many forms of birth control, including oral contraception, into the legal equivalent of a murder weapon. Romney has said he would sign such a bill.
Mike Lux noted at HuffingtonPost.com (8/20) that Akin is no outlier in the Republican caucus, voting with it between 96% and 99% in recent years. But Akin’s 91.67%% voting record with the American Conservative Union was less conservative than Ryan’s 96%. And Akin’s position on abortion is shared by at least 214 other Republican House members who co-sponsored the Ryan-Akin bill to narrow the definition of rape.)
“Pro-life” groups, such as the Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council have stood by Akin, Sarah Kliff wrote at WashingtonPost.com (8/21). In their view, he is a strong opponent of abortion rights who articulated a tenet of the “pro-life” movement: Abortion should be illegal in all situations, rape included. But that is an unpopular position: While half of American voters identify themselves as pro-life, 75% think abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest, according to a 2011 Gallup poll. Only 20% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all situations.
But the Republican Party in Tampa in its platform is expected to endorse a human life amendment that would apply the 14th Amendment protections to unborn children, which would outlaw all abortion and could force women whose lives are at risk to continue their pregnancies. The party supported similar language in 2004 and 2008.
And, for what it’s worth, US Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told an Iowa reporter that Akin might be right, since he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest. “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV (8/20), “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
A spokesperson for King later told Evan McMorris-Santoro of TalkingPointsMemo.com (8/21) the congressman had been taken out of context, and was saying that he personally does not know a girl who was raped.
McMorris-Santoro noted that a 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”
ROMNEY, RYAN SEE DELAYS IN MEDICARE COVERAGE. Mitt Romney would increase the age when retirees would be eligible for Medicare to 67 to make up for part of the $716 bln that he wants to restore to Medicare health-care providers, Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on Fox News (8/19). In the Affordable Care Act, the money was cut from payments to insurance companies and health care providers in order to extend the solvency of Medicare through 2023, but Romney has pledged to restore those payments, which would cause solvency problems as early as 2016.
The Congressional Budget Office reported in January that raising the Medicare eligibility age could reduce Medicare spending by 5% over the long term, but it would increase costs to seniors and employers that provide health coverage for their retirees.
Paul Ryan’s proposed 2013 budget would raise the eligibility age for Medicare — now 65 — by two months per year until it reaches age 67 in 2034. But if Romney hopes to extend the life of the trust fund by booting younger seniors off the program, Aviva Shen noted at ThinkProgress.org (8/19), he would have to institute the policy sooner and faster than Ryan has proposed.
While Republicans are seeking to undermine Medicare, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that it was the single most important health care issue for voters, with 73% rating it “extremely” or “very” important.
Jon Perr noted at DailyKos.com (8/19) that 98% of Republicans — 235 in the House and 40 in the Senate voted for Ryan’s 2012 budget and its Medicare rationing.
BRANDING REP. RYAN. The Obama campaign was set to release seven radio ads attacking Paul Ryan. Greg Sarent noted at WashingtonPost.com (8/20) that one of the ads aired in Florida emphasizes Ryan’s plan to “quasi-voucherize” Medicare. An ad in Iowa emphasizes cuts in Ryan’s budget to clean energy investments, which are meant to remind voters of the GOP stance on wind energy, an important issue in the state. The ad in Virginia emphasizes the Ryan budget’s cuts to infrastructure investments. The ads in Ohio and New Hampshire emphasize the Ryan budget’s cuts to Pell grants, making it harder for kids in those states to go to college. And so on; all of the ads, meanwhile, also stress that the Ryan plan would result in deep tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, Sargent noted.
“What we’re seeing here is part two of a strategy that began with the Obama campaign’s relentless attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain years — on the Bain layoffs and outsourcing — on his tax returns, and on his offshore accounts. As I and others have detailed, the game plan here was always to establish an image of Romney that would make it easier for voters to accept the idea that Romney’s governing priorities really would result in an upward redistribution of wealth — that he really would cut taxes on the rich while cutting back on services poor and middle class Americans rely upon.”
Focus groups had found that swing voters had a difficult time believing that Romney and the Republicans really would do that. “There are some signs that voters are beginning to accept this general framing of Romney’s priorities; polls show consistently that voters think Romney’s policies would favor the interests of the wealthy over the middle class,” Sargent said. Obama and his advisers hope the addition of Ryan to the ticket will make it easier for them to make this overall case about the GOP ticket’s true priorities. Ryan’s preoccupation with transforming Medicare drags the debate away from the economy on to the turf of entitlements, and his previous history of trying to privatize Social Security — and the truly draconian cuts to social programs in his fiscal blueprint — make it easier to argue that his main goal is an ideological one, i.e., shrinking government.
BIDEN ‘GUARANTEES’ SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS OFF TABLE. It’s unclear what effect Mitt Romney’s decision to add Rep. Paul Ryan to his ticket will have on his candidacy, Robert L. Borosage wrote at HuffingtonPost.com (8/16). “But the choice certainly has had a salutary effect on the Obama re-election campaign.” In focusing debate on the infamous Ryan and House Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher andd force the most vulnerable — the elderly, the disabled and seriously ill — to pay thousands more for health care out of their pockets, Borosage noted, “the debate has led the president and vice president to become vocal defenders of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — the centerpieces of the social compact we make with one another, and the glittering crown jewels of the Great Society and the New Deal.”
First, the president made it clear that his Medicare reforms don’t cut guaranteed benefits, Borosage noted. Then Joe Biden announced (8/15) that the ticket would guarantee no changes in Social Security. “I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security,” Biden told patrons of the Coffee Break Café in Stuart, Va., “I flat guarantee you.”
“This is good policy,” Borosage wrote. “Social Security is not in deficit, and has not contributed to our debt and deficits. Addressing its currently projected long-term shortfall (unlike any other government program, CBO reports it is fully funded through 2038) should not be folded into the deficit hysteria triggered when Wall Street excesses blew up the economy ... Any necessary reforms — like lifting the cap on payroll taxes so that millionaires like Romney pay the same rate as their secretaries — should be the product of a bipartisan commission focused on preserving Social Security, not paying for Wall Street’s mess.”
Borosage noted that both Romney and Ryan supported George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, which would have added trillions to the federal deficits and would devastate retirees when the stock market tanks.
“Biden’s ‘guarantee’ to defend Social Security now effectively takes Social Security off the table. Democrats gathering in Charlotte at the national convention should ensure that this language is written into the party’s platform. The president would do well to reaffirm it in his speech to the convention as he lays out the fundamental choice we face.”
The Washington Post, whose editorial page has been pushing Democrats to agree to cuts in Social Security benefits, denounced Biden (8/16) for a lack of “courage.” Dean Baker, in a column for Truthout (8/20), concluded, “In this amazing city, the people who want to take a hatchet to the Social Security and Medicare benefits that tens of millions of ordinary workers will need in retirement are considered courageous. The people who want to tax Wall Street speculation, who want to crack down on multi-billion dollar abuses by the pharmaceutical industry, and who want to go after CEOs who rip off their companies for tens of millions of dollars a year — well, they’re just crazy. After all, no one gets paid big bucks for going after people with money.
MITT’S MISSING TAX FORMS MAY HIDE FELONIES. Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail (8/16) he never paid less than 13% tax rate, but his continued refusal to prove it by producing more income tax returns than his partial return for tax year 2010 and his preliminary return for 2011 has only increased speculation about what he is hiding in the missing returns.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on the record with a report, based on an anonymous source, that Romney has paid little or no taxes for the previous 10 years.
Lawrence O’Donnell, on his MSNBC show, raised the possibility that Romney may be trying to avoid disclosure that he sought and received amnesty for illegally hiding income in his Swiss bank account at UBS. In 2009, the IRS cracked down on the use of secret overseas bank accounts as tax havens and gave tax cheats in the US a deadline to disclose those accounts or face criminal prosecution. As part of a plea bargain to settle charges that it engaged in a “multibillion-dollar scheme” to help US citizens hide assets from the IRS, UBS agreed to pay $780 bln in penalties and disclose the 4,450 American clients to Swiss officials, who would provide them to the IRS.
Paul Abrams noted at Huffington-Post.com (8/3) that if Romney did hide income at his Swiss UBS account and did not pay required taxes on it until 2009, when he could get amnesty, he could correctly say, now, that he has paid 100% of the taxes he owed. But if he released his returns, the years since 2003 would have been amended to show the taxes he owned and paid, along with a 25% penalty for the year with the largest illegally hidden income. But it would be evidence that he committed a felony.
And that might not be the only felony the tax returns might disclose.
M.S. Bellows Jr. noted in the London Guardian that Romney may have committed voter fraud in January 2010 when, despite not owning a house in Massachusetts and having given every appearance of having moved to California, he registered and voted in the Massachusetts special election to replace the deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy (lending a special irony to the Republican use of the “voter fraud” fable to pass modern Jim Crow laws). Romney claimed that he and wife Ann actually were living in son Tagg’s basement in Belmont, Mass. That’s the address Romney claims in the partial tax returns produced for 2010 and 2011, but Bellows suggested that Romney may have put his real address on the return he filed in 2010 for tax year 2009.
Also, Romney has been caught lying before about his taxes. When he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he and his campaign repeatedly told the people of Massachusetts to “trust me” when he said he said he had filed Massachusetts income tax returns for 1999 and 2000 as a resident of the state. In June 2002, after the Boston Globe reported that his home in Park City, Utah, was classified as his “primary residence” for 1999 through 2001, giving him a $54,000 break on his property taxes, Romney admitted that he had filed in Massachusetts as a part-year resident for 1999 and a nonresident for 2000 but amended those returns retroactively, claiming Massachusetts resident status, in April 2002, a week after he announced he was running for governor. (The Massachusetts Constitution requires a governor to be a resident for each of the seven years prior to the election.)
During the reporting of that story, Romney rejected a request by the Globe for copies of his returns with the financial information redacted, but his residential status visible. A Romney spokesman insisted at that time the candidate had filed his returns as a Massachusetts resident, telling the reporter, “You’re going to have to take my word for it.”
Christopher Rowland also reported at the Boston Globe (7/12) that government documents filed by Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time. Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role at the company. But SEC documents filed later by Bain Capital state that he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100% of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
On his Financial Disclosure Report (8/11/11), Romney said he retired from Bain Capital on 2/11/99 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. “Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way,” he said in the sworn document. Making false statements on a federal document is a felony, punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison.
Pat Garofalo of ThinkProgress.org (8/16) also wondered, among other things, what kind of taxes did Romney pay? What sort of deductions did the Romneys employ, such as using Ann’s dancing horse as a business deduction? How did Romney’s IRA come to contain more than $100 mln, despite annual limits on contributions? What sort of offshore tax strategies does Romney use? Was Romney’s Swiss bank account disclosed on all tax returns? Did Romney participate in the IRS amnesty for offshore financial accounts? And why did Romney invest in Houston rental real estate that was explicitly marketed as a tax shelter?
WHAT IS POVERTY? According to the federal government, poverty for a family of four is $23,050 a year, Mark E. Anderson noted at DailyKos.com (8/19). The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which, if you work a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year, would generate $15,080 a year. The average rent in the US was $808 a month or $9,696 a year, the Census reported in 2009. If you use the thriftiest numbers provided by the USDA, groceries for a family of four averages between $507 and $582 a month, depending on the age of the children. That is $6,084 to $6,984 a year. Food and lodging for this family of four costs between $15,780 and $16,680 a year. Child-care costs for a child around 4 years old ranges $3,900 to $15,540 a year. Help for this family of four includes SNAP benefits (ak.a. “food stamps”) of $496 a month for a family of four, not enough to pay for all of their groceries, but enough to prevent starvation. “Even with SNAP benefits it is obvious that in the family of four only one of the adults can work, as the other has to stay home with the children. I cannot imagine how a single parent at this level of income could keep it together let alone get out of poverty,” Anderson noted. (And House Republicans have targeted SNAP benefits for $16.5 billion in budget cuts that would cut 3 mln people from the program.)
OBAMA LAGS ON JUDGE PICKS. President Obama is set to end his term with dozens fewer lower-court appointments than both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush achieved in their first four years, and probably less of a lasting ideological imprint on the judiciary than many liberals had hoped for and conservatives had feared, Charlie Savage wrote in the New York Times (8/18). Senate Republicans have ratcheted up partisan warfare over judges that has been escalating for the past generation by delaying even uncontroversial picks who would have been quickly approved in the past, Savage wrote. But Obama also has moved more slowly and sought relatively moderate jurists who he hoped would not provoke culture wars that distracted attention from his ambitious legislative agenda.
Obama has appointed two Supreme Court justices — the same number as Clinton and Bush each did in eight years — and 30 appeals court judges, roughly as many as either did on average per term. But in federal district courts, where trials are held, Obama has appointed just 125 such judges, compared with 170 at a similar point in Clinton’s first term and 162 for Bush.
Obama is virtually certain to leave more vacant federal judgeships for the winner of the 2012 election to fill than he inherited from Bush, Savage noted. But Obama also has appointed judges who were more than four years older, on average, than Bush’s, according to data compiled by Russell Wheeler, a Brookings Institution scholar.
“Obama didn’t assertively put forward progressive candidates who would be the ideological counterweights to some Republican appointees, and yet his choices have been met with relentless obstructionism anyway,” said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice. “All of this has left Obama with a significantly smaller judicial footprint than he is entitled to.”
RYAN FLEXIBLE ON ECONOMIC STIMULUS. Occasional fiscal hawk Paul Ryan fought the 2009 stimulus bill, but then worked to get millions of stimulus dollars for his constituents, including $20 mln to help thousands of local businesses and homes improve their energy efficiency and $5.4 mln for local bus services. He denied seeking the stimulus funds until the Associated Press produced copies of letters the congressman wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, praising energy programs supported by the stimulus and requesting funds for initiatives in his district. The request came at the same time he was publicly calling the stimulus a “wasteful spending spree,” Stephen Lacey noted at ThinkProgress.org (8/16).
Ryan’s opposition to the stimulus was a turnaround from September 2008, when he was closely involved with Democratic state officials in a task force that helped craft two incentive packages with large state tax breaks for GM if they would keep a factory in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., Kathleen Hennessey reported in the Los Angeles Times (8/18). In November, Ryan voted for $14 bln in emergency federal loans to help bail out the auto industry during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. (Mitt Romney had opposed the bailout in a New York Times op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”) The Janesville plant was shut down anyway in December 2008.
In May 2009, he and other members of the Wisconsin delegation urged the Obama administration to retool another auto plant in Ryan’s district. They failed, and the Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha was shut down in October 2010.
Six months after the Janesville plant closed, GM announced that Janesville could compete with two other cities for production of a small car that would be called the Sonic. Wisconsin offered a $400-mln incentive package, including more than $200 mln in union concessions, $100 mln in state tax credits and $5 mln in federal stimulus funds, although Ryan’s aide said the congressman was not aware of that line item when he and other members of the congressional delegation urged GM executives to accept the bid. They were unsuccessful; in late June the automaker announced the Sonic would be built in Orion Township, Mich.
Today, Ryan opposes the policy that made the loans available. His proposed 2013 budget would eliminate the loan program and “all programs that allow government to play venture capitalist with taxpayers’ money.”
Ryan also blamed Obama for the shutdown of the Janesville plant. “I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open,” Ryan said in Janesville (8/16). “One more broken promise.” Ryan blamed rising gas prices under Obama for the closing, but David Shepardson of the Detroit News noted (8/17) that while Obama did visit the Janesville plant in February 2008 and suggested a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, he made no promises as Ryan suggested and the plant was closed in December 2008 before Obama took office.
REPUBLICANS INDIGNANT AT SLAVE RHETORIC THAT THEY USE. The Republican indignation machine is in high gear, this time over remarks made by Vice President Joe Bidden on 8/14, when he told a group that the AP reported included “hundreds of black people” that Republicans, by fighting regulation of the financial industry, were looking to "unchain Wall Street.‚Äù" Then he added: ‚"They're going to put y'all back in chains." The GOP claims that amounts to race baiting. Adele Stan, AlterNet’s Washington correspondent, noted at AlterNet, “Laughably hypocritical, the Republican response gushes forth in the wake of eight months of race-baiting by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his surrogates, several of whom favor analogies to slavery in their critiques of President Barack Obama.”
For example, she wrote, “Who can forget former US Sen. Rick Santorum telling Iowans that he didn't want to make "blah" people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money? Or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich referring to Obama as the "food stamp president‚" Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is currently airing a television ad that's an outright lie, but one useful to Romney, because it dishonestly links the black president to a trope about work requirements and welfare. And Stan noted, Romney is trying to take advantage of the old Southern fear that blacks would seek retribution against whites for their centuries of bondage when Romney painted Obama as the stereotypical “angry black man” in the wake of Biden’s comments.
She noted seven examples of how Republican pols "including four of this year’s former presidential candidates," regularly incorporate the language of slavery in their everyday rhetoric:
1. Paul Ryan: An embryo is just like an enslaved human being.
2. Allen West: Obama wants to enslave everybody.
3. Rand Paul: Healthcare reform supporters are slavery promoters.
4. Michele Bachmann: Healthcare reform and the national debt are forms of slavery.
5. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann: Slavery was good for the black family.
6. Herman Cain: US tax code = slavery.
7. Rick Perry: The government is Pharaoh, and citizens, the slaves.
Stan concluded, “I'd call for a moratorium on all the slavery metaphors, from all quarters, but what's the point? It's campaign season for a presidential campaign that, for all of the critical decisions facing the nation, will ultimately turn on questions of cultural identity, because Republicans want it that way. After all, what have they got? Medicare voucher, anyone?”
OHIO ELECTION OFFICIAL: WE SHOULDN’T ACCOMMODATE URBAN (BLACK) VOTERS. Some Republicans at least are honest about why they are limiting early voting. “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn‚Äôt contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” Doug Priesse said in an email to the Columbus Dispatch (8/19). “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
Priesse is a member of the board of elections for Franklin County, which includes Columbus, and chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, on Wednesday ordered all 88 counties in Ohio to allow early voting Monday through Friday, until 7 p.m., during the final two weeks before the election. Weekend voting, however, will not be allowed.
Luke Johnson noted at HuffingtonPost.com (8/19) that weekend voting helped 93,000 Ohioans cast ballots in the final three days before the 2008 election. Black churches promoted taking “your souls to the polls” events on the Sunday preceding the election, an option that will be unavailable if Husted’s ruling stands. (The Obama administration has sued Husted to restore the final three days of early voting.)
Early voters in 2008 in Cuyahoga and Franklin counties were disproportionately African-American. A study by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found blacks accounted for 56% of all in-person early votes in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, while they accounted for 26% of votes overall. In Franklin County, African-Americans cast 31% of early votes and 21% of votes overall.
SIEGELMAN BACK TO PRISON. Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D) was resentenced to nearly six more years in prison on charges that he took a $500,000 political contribution from health-care executive Richard Scrushy before reappointing Scrushy to a state medical commission. US District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman to 78 months in prison, but gave him credit for nine months already served. Siegelman has filed a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Lou Dubose, editor of the Washington Spectator, wrote (8/12) that Siegelman was selectively prosecuted because he was a Democratic star who had been elected attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor in a Republican state before he was narrowly defeated, after a retabulation of votes, by Bob Riley in 2002.
The investigation of Siegelman was started by Alabama Atty. Gen. William Pryor (R), whose campaign had been run by political consultant Bill Canary. The investigation was picked up in 2001 by US Atty. Leura Canary, wife of Bill Canary, with ties to Karl Rove. Fuller was a member of the state Republican executive committee before George W. Bush appointed him to the federal bench. Fifty sitting or former state attorneys general wrote to Judge Fuller while he was trying the case, arguing that it was not clear that Siegelman had accepted a bribe from Scrushy. More recently, 113 former state attorneys general urged the Supreme Court to take up the case, which it declined to do in June. Siegelman was ordered to surrender to federal authorities on 9/11/12.
Siegelman’s daughter, Dana Siegelman, has set up an online petition at donsiegelman.org to ask the Obama administration for a pardon or commutation.
BAIN COMPANY BUSTED PILOTS UNION. One of Mitt Romney’s early financial exploits was the 1983-84 takeover of Key Airlines, a struggling charter operation in Nevada, by Romney and colleagues from Bain & Co. A year later, when Bain Capital was set up, one of its first investments was $2 mln into Key. Laura Clawson noted at DailyKos.com (8/18) that the idea, of course, was to turn it around for a profit but an effort by pilots to unionize might have complicated such a deal. So Key illegally squashed the effort.
"The anti-union activities in this case are not merely unfair labor practices as Key argues, but blatant, grievous, willful, deliberate and repeated violations of the Railway Labor Act," wrote US District Judge Roger Foley in Nevada in 1992, in a case brought by two Key pilots, as reported by the Las Vegas Guardian Express.
According to the court ruling, Key held coercive meetings with pilots, but federal labor law forbids an airline "to interfere in any way with the organization of its employees." Two of the pilots were forced to sign resignation letters. Of the 21 pilots who initially wanted to organize a union, just two voted for the union following Key’s anti-union intimidation campaign. Though these events happened in 1985 and 1986, the ruling that Key management had acted illegally didn’t come until 1992. By that time, Bain had long since sold Key for $18 mln.
ROSEANNE STILL RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. Comedian Roseanne Barr won the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party at its convention in Los Angeles (8/4). Barr, who lost a race for the Green Party nomination to Jill Stein in July, won the PFP nomination after two ballots, with the closest contender being Stephen Durham, a union and gay rights activist who is also active with the Freedom Socialist Party. Barr’s running mate will be Cindy Sheehan. The Peace and Freedom Party is on the ballot in California and is seeking to qualify for the Florida ballot, according to Ballot Access News.
From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2012
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