Friday, June 03, 2011

Why Sarah Blows [people other than her husband] Part I

The latest piece of idiocy, as chronicled by Mother Jones here.

And yet we should be afraid, not laugh or shrug. Really? Let's juxtapose to another context: elaborate election tours and dog & pony shows for brainless fans, not taken seriously by conservative establishment & big business [but strives for being coopted/used], appeals to and misuses jingoist glory and mythology, creates a personal mythology, surrounded by cult-like believers, plays on reptilian brain fears and yearnings of aimless folks...if I were a 90 year old German Jew living in the US, I'd be having post traumatic flashbacks about now...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mitt Romney phoney "Misery Index" Attack on Barack Obama shows he's part of the Misery

This week, singer John Legend repeated his aim to donate his Bush Tax Cut millionaire's windfall to help offset cuts in the arts, and help Americans--especially African Americans--who are unemployed and facing eviction or foreclosure. Contrast this with this week’s other news: former Massachusetts governor and possible 2012 presidential aspirant Mitt Romney penned an op-ed in The Boston Herald purporting to offer a blueprint for "more jobs."

Governor Romney titled this piece “Obama Misery Index Hits All-time High” -- as if it were a real piece of objective reporting. Trouble is, the op-ed, its title and its economic blueprint, are all smoke. The “Obama Misery Index” is a fairy tale, invented by, well, Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, real people are suffering.

The smoke does carries the piquant taste of Mitt Romney’s wealth-enhancing plan. That is, continued wealth for commercial and investment bankers, hedge fund managers, greedy CEOs seeking any finance vehicle to give them a short term jump, former derivatives pushers and their trickle-down lenders. In other words, the folks who brought us the misery in the first place appear to be Romney's true constituents. No smoke there.
Concomitantly, fables like a “Misery Index” cloak such reality from average Americans, including the “Joe the Plumber” types who abandoned Romney in 2008 when he sought the Republican nomination against John McCain and who flock now to Tea Party activism (financed by the not-so-populist Koch Brothers).

Perhaps the only truth Romney engages in the op-ed is that the President “outsourced” the spadework of job-creating economic policy to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nevada) and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D. Ca.). Laying anything at Congress's doorstep invites pork and pandering, not policy. And indeed, I have long considered Barack Obama, like Jimmy Carter (target of the original “misery index” label in 1980, pinned by Ronald Reagan) a technocrat, a Spock, a wonk.

Yet from there, Mitt Romney’s "truth" becomes vapor.

Reduce ruinously high taxes on "employers," he says. Maybe with lower taxes, less regulation, jobs will return, even from overseas outsourcing? First, all, according to sources like the World Bank-IMF, the Tax Policy Center, Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development and our own Federal Reserve and U.S. Department of Commerce, American employers pay some the lowest, not highest payroll taxes (unemployment insurance, social security-related, etc.) in the industrialized world, and indeed nations with both higher payroll taxes on employers and taxes wealthy citizens now have:

· Higher living standards

· Lower consumer debt, lower crime, lower teen pregnancy and out of wedlock births, lower infant mortality, lower income inequality between among the rich, poor and middle class, lower healthcare costs, lower excessive CEO compensation

· Higher personal investment rates, home ownership rates; lower healthcare costs and income disparity—unlike the U.S. where despite the 2008-09 economic meltdown, the rich get richer the poor poorer, the middle class more burdened.

Mitt Romney doesn't discuss those ironies, of course. Nor would he bother touching this: the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the U.S. pay almost no corporate income tax. This means that huge foreign corporations paid no federal income taxes measuring year 2005—before the Wall Street collapse— despite $372 billion in gross receipts. Most of the largest U.S. companies paid little or no federal income taxes despite $1.1 trillion in gross sales. Accordingly, when Mitt Romney claims that outsourcing jobs is a response to Obama’s “big government” and taxes on the rich, he’s fooling us. Coupled with this smokescreen is the fact that long before Barack Obama took office, the U.S. been effectively mortgaged itself to China, India, Europe and nations in the middle east; foreign governments and corporations now own trillions our foreign debt and assets.

Tea Party leaders and Republicans in general are still divided over giving Mitt Romney a pass for another blueprint—the very liberal 2005 Massachusetts healthcare reform package Romney himself created...and from which Barack Obama borrowed as a model for his own plan! Now Romney attacks "Obamacare" in the op-ed as contributing to “misery?” Frankly I thought it was a lack of affordable healthcare coverage that causes misery. Accordingly, is Mitt Romney embodying irony or hypocrisy in his op-ed? As with Wall Street, it would appear that Mitt Romney may consider patriotism is a virtue until it interferes with making money. But it's not merely the millionaire’s and Wall Street welfare system-- rejected by folk like John Legend—that's disturbing. What’s also nettlesome is Mitt Romney trying to hide the real reason's why he's invented a “Misery Index.”

In case you slept through the first part of this essay, I'll make it clear: he’s part of the misery. His personal net worth was $250 million when he surrendered the GOP nomination to John McCain—including holdings in foreign export credit corporations and bank stock. Of course, in the op-ed he trumpets his private sector experience in "creating jobs." That experience accrued mainly through his association with Bain & Co., an investment and venture capital business with tax-free fund holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, and has raided and bankrupted big companies like Staples and Kay Bee Toys. Jobs, pensions, health insurance—all gone.

Back in 2008 (after the Florida Republican primary), a black conservative friend (I will have to keep the name close to the vest) lamented Mitt Romney’s crash and burn. I chuckled and said that it had nothing to do with conservatives doubting his bona fides in favor of Mike Huckabee or vacuous rock stars like Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuilani. Rather, I mused, “Romney reminds people of ‘Lumberg’ in the movie Office Space. He’s a smarmy white boss who lays you off then takes his own golden parachute to do the same at some other place.”

No number of op-eds decrying Obama’s 2009’s Stimulus package, or “Obamacare” or extolling tax cuts, cuts in social services, destroying regulating worker safety, consumer protection, regulating banks and wall Street and CEO pay, or exhorting an end to affirmative action, gun control, abortion and birth control, etc. etc. can create a true Misery Index, or dispel what I can call “The Romney Smoke.” As rich as John Legend might be, he’ll always seem more one of “us”—we average Americans demanding jobs and economic justice--than Mitt Romney.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Woodrow Wilson...and Egypt...?

The Fox/rightwing blog propaganda apparatus decries the very notions they exhault when the "aggrieved" peoples yearning to be free are proper red state whitefolks: liberty & democracy.
We love to bathe in hypocrisy--and conveniently forget, either out of ignorance or a bootstrapping law of the jungle position that we can destroy democracy in the name of self defense. When you invoke the law of the jungle, do you whine in hypocrisy when it's then used against you?

Look, you either respect the right of the people in a sovereign country or captive colonies (like 13 of them in 1775) to shake off a dictatorship, or have the balls to say only we in America dictate what democracy is. How the Egyptians get there, well, we can help them, but in the end, that's on them. You take the good with the bad.

If I had a time machine I'd have killed off every member of the Continental Congress from south of the Mason Dixon (with a few exceptions) so as not to carry that taint into 1789...and thus 1861, and 1961, and now. But that can't happen, so even if there's the taint of some wingnut mullahs as part of this movement, so what? Again, that's on the Egyptian people, and no American president, or Israeli or Congressional blowhards, have the right to manipulate this or tell them otherwise.

Another southerner who I didn't like, Woodrow Wilson, did have the good idea of a notion called national self-determination. All I expect from Obama is that he will confirm that notion. Not liberty and democracy. Nope. Just the right to deal with my own house as I see fit. Even a Tea Partier ca. 2011 can get with that, right?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boehner's DC Voucher Boner

Regard the story in the Washington Post, describing the Speaker's (and Joe Lieberman's) bright idea to re-introduce (e.g. force, so much for getting government off your back) vouchers to DCPS. I guess Boehner's buddies can set up something called the "True Patriot Voucher School," 'cause these kids, as parents know, ain't going to St. Albans as advertised.

I had more respect for Newt Gingrich as Speaker, for Newt wasn't a hack & an ignoramus like Boehner. Vouchers are a scam. The parents of DC knew this and know it still, and all the GOP wingnuts succeed in doing with this issue is--SURPRISE--unite two bitter enemies in a common cause: the Rhee/Race to the Top/Teach for America reformers, and the teachers union apparachniks & "community activists." Not smart. But this was never about smarts...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Long form journalism is not dead

Amazing documentary from Frontline, produced by a friend of mine

Image Award actually don't make me retch

The NAACP announced it's 2010 Image Award nominees. See the full and category lists here.

Many folks have long grimaced at this aspect of the NAACP's reach and there have been some crazy choices in the past, Lord knows. Moreover, the finances & culture of the event, and influence of the plutocracy, has long been grist for commentators.

In the book biz category I can finally say (1) I'm pleased and (2) I am glad to see personal friends nominated.