Once a Willard, Always A Willard

Willard Mitt Romney is still the same prep school bully who forcibly chopped off a gay boy’s bleached-blond locks. Bain Capital became another pair of scissors and the companies and lives he ruined were just another gay, bleached- blond haired kid. Now he’s set his eyes on the presidency as a new pair of scissors; and guess who’s the new gay, bleached-blond haired kid?

A fifteen year old bully finds out in two or three years that he now needs the same people he terrorized in school to vote him Senior Class President.  This would give him only two lines of attack: 1. Claim he forgot all about it.  2. Go up to his victims, tell them that back then he was immature and had personal problems but has done a lot of growing up since then and has changed—and then give them half a $50 bill and promise to give them the other half if they vote for him for class president.  Much like he’s doing now—the first line of attack that is. Romney is all about denying his history.

A leopard never changes his spots, old dogs can’t learn new tricks, horses are not changed in midstream,  and young spoiled rich brats grow into older spoiled rich brats. He’s taken his scissors to England and Israel, and his press secretary borrowed them to use on the media in Poland, which is why the Poles escaped Romney’s visit unscathed.

Romney checked out midway through his governorship, running the state on auto pilot for the rest of his one term.  No reason to think he wouldn’t do the same as president, especially after he learns on Day One that he can’t outsource American citizenship overseas or transfer the Federal Reserve to a Cayman Island bank account.

Romney took his scissors to many companies and hundreds of thousands of jobs and now he’s seeking the votes of the same people he terrorized as he ruined their lives.  Forgetting what he did is not gaining him in popularity so that only lives giving all those people financial bribes to vote for him. But damn it all, he left all his small change in his other pants pocket.

Paul Krugman Keeps It Simple For Stupid People

I’m going to borrow a phrase from Paul Krugman’s excellent book. “End This Depression Now!”: “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.”

Yes, it’s that simple.  So when John Boehner claims “We’re broke” and insists on cutting federal government spending, when President Obama buys into this, when the banks refuse to lend out money, when  the Irish and British governments but themselves on an austerity diet, when Angela Merkel of Germany puts the monetary  screws to Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc., they’re all missing that obvious, simple point.  In order for people to spend money, they have to have money.

So with this simple logic, how illogical is it for Boehner and the Republicans to insist on cutting unemployment benefits, food stamps, cash aid, Social Security, government spending on infrastructure repair, public works projects, light rail and high speed rail projects, and for Republican governors to refuse to accept federal funds for these projects? The answer is incredibly as well as stupid as well as venal.  Boehner’s and the Republicans’ only objective in cutting spending (and the deficit) is to keep unemployment high and GDP low so that Obama is held to a mere four years in office.  Yes, it’s that simple.

In any recession or all-out depression, the only way out is to put money into people’s pockets so they can go out spending—and saving—thus infusing cash into the economic system, which is like filling up a car’s gas tank with fuel so that it can run at top speed for another several hundred miles (or charging up your Chevy Volt to get another 50 miles down the road).  The only reason why the 2009 $787 billion Obama stimulus package was not nearly as successful as it would have been is that it was substantially lower  than the $1.8 trillion that his former chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors Christine Romer insisted that it should have been—at a minimum.  Think of it this way: if someone hands you $50 or $150, which amount will enable you to buy more stuff?

It’s in vogue for right wing economists to denigrate John Maynard Keynes. That’s because his theories work and theirs don’t, and those right wing economists aren’t working for people, they’re working for corporations who are people too, my friend. They’re working for the Kochs, for the Murdochs, for the Adelsons, for any filthy lucre-rich old white guys you’ve got.

“Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.”  The simple, basic truths in life have a beautiful symmetry to them.  Boehner and Merkel can probably not be taught that the less money government infuses into its economic system, the less money people will plow back into it.  This notion of austerity totally forgets the concept of profits, which is what helps a market grow.  You grow or make something for $5 and sell it for $10, you’ve got $5 more to re-invest in your business or perhaps you take that profit and spend it at someone else’s business, which means they need to buy more product and hire more people to sell it, and more people are hired to deliver the products and more money flows on down the line. And this is what Obama was saying if you look at his complete, in context statement about small businesses not growing by themselves. There’s a whole bunch of interdependencies going on, and infrastructure, security, utilities, and what I’ve already mentioned are all part of it.

I know that people who watch and listen to Fox will never get economic theory but this is a simplified as I can make it. The Republicans and right wing economists, heads of state like Merkel all want to protect a small, wealthy class by keeping as large a class of other people poor.  Poor people do what they’re told so that they don’t lose what little they have.  Poor people look up to wealthy people because they have to be touched by the hand of God to have become so rich. Poor people worship rich people, until that worship turns to envy, which turns to resentment, which turns to anger, which turns to revolution, which results in the overthrow of the ruling class and the redistribution of wealth. Well, mostly anyway.

But we don’t need to take it as far as all that.  Just repeat the simple, friendly mantra to your Fox fan friends and maybe they’ll get it along with all of you: “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.” Thank you, Paul Krugman.

The Many Unhappy Returns Of Mitt Romney

“Eight years was awesome.  I was famous and I was powerful.”

Those words of (thankfully) former President George W.  Bush encapsulate the two reasons why Willard Mitt Romney seeks the presidency? To better his fellow Americans?  To solve the problems of a country increasingly polarized and fragmenting? No, Romney likes the famous and powerful part. He wants to be the Savior of the business class, delivering his people from their chains of regulation and taxation to the promised land of the federal government-subsidized-and-protected global free market.  The battle cry of the oppressed corporate masses is “We want the world and we want it now.” And Romney intends to lead them to victory.

From Romney’s history as sole owner of Bain Capital, concern about people other than his investors has never been primary in any of his business transactions.  Companies were spun off and dissolved, American jobs shipped overseas, retirement funds raided, lives were irrevocably ruined, and Romney went on to the next deal.

It is true that Romney has been very active in the Mormon church and he and wife Ann are active in charitable causes and donate to those and others.  So, they are not entirely heartless and self-absorbed people, and charitable donations are tax deductible.

Romney has contended he left Bain Capital in 1999 to take the helm of running the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.  He did a tremendous job in whipping the already scandal-ridden Olympics into shape, and the whip he used was $410 million in federal taxpayer money. The Romney campaign claims that that only represented 18% of the Olympics budget—and that was spent on security.  That 18% from federal funds is the highest amount ever paid by taxpayers to put on the Olympic Games.  The highest before that was 11% for the 1996 games in Atlanta and 4% for the 1984 games in L.A.  However, when these funds are combined with $1.1 billion in federal funds that were rushed to Salt Lake City for infrastructure construction, the total taxpayer tab for the SLC games was $1.5 billion.  I could put on the Olympic Games if I was handed $1.5 billion, and I could do it part-time.

Which is maybe how Romney did it.  According to a 2001 CSPAN2 video that has recently surfaced, Romney is introduced thusly: “He IS (emphasis mine) the founder and CEO of Bain Capital…” as young Mitt looks down and writes out a note.  But didn’t Romney claim in 1999 and is continuing to claim he left Bain Capital in 1999? And isn’t there all that nasty business the Boston Globe uncovered about his SEC filings that list Romney as CEO of Bain until 2002? His senior advisor, Ed Gillespie, claims Romney “retroactively retired” which means that if Romney actually didn’t retire in 1999 but then in 2002 he decided that he had.  Except that when someone retires from a company, after the retirement date they are no longer actively connected  with that company.  No, what Romney did was take a leave of absence while continuing to sign off on or personally handle deals and transactions between 1999-2002. How do I know this? Because those SEC filings claim Romney was still sole owner of Bain Capital during that time.  If Bain succeeded or failed,  it was his and his money only at work and at risk; hundreds of millions of dollars of his own accumulated and inherited money.  This was not a case of “I’m taking off for Salt Lake City for the next three years—you mind the store”.   One-quarter billionaires do not become one-quartrer billionaires by entrusting their fortunes to their employees.

The Romney campaign demands an apology for all these spurious and libelous charges from the Obama campaign and just about everyone else.  But in real life, one does not apologize for telling a lie if it has not been proven it was a lie.  And since Romney refuses to release his tax returns—except for his 2010 and partial 2011—then it’s just Obama’s accusation against Romney’s denial. Except for the fact that Obama has those darn SEC filings to substantiate his charge that Romney never left Bain during the time it outsourced all those jobs and invested in Stericycle, a company that specialized in disposing of aborted fetuses Romney may be against abortion but he supports making a profit from it).

When Romney wanted to be semi-famous and non-powerful as Vice-President in 2008, he gave the John McCain campaign 23 years’ worth of tax returns. McCain looked at those returns and promptly chose Sarah Palin as being “better qualified”.  It’s that kind of executive judgment that lost McCain the presidency, and his credibility.

So, those returns are still sitting in some 24/7 storage shed, already collated, already sorted chronologically. Just need to open up the boxes and get to readin’.  So, why does Ann Romney say, “We’ve given all you people need to know”?  So, John McCain ISN’T people, my friend because he got to look at 23 years’ worth? He isn’t a corporation so I guess he isn’t a people.

But here is the Mitt Romney’s problem: he is checkmated by Obama.  If he continues to refuse to release his returns, the American people will think he’s hiding something them people must not see and will not vote for him.  If he releases his returns and them people see that he has been lying since 1999 about Bain Capital and can be held directly responsible for the losses of American companies and American jobs, them people will not vote for him.  A possibility is that the returns would exonerate him by proving everything is a kosher as it can be with a Mormon.  But if so, why hasn’t he released his returns, even with the Republican Party and a couple of straying-from-the-reservation Fox people calling for it?

Because Mitt Romney doesn’t back down to anybody; not if they’re a defenseless gay prep school student trying to make a personal statement through his haircut, or pseudo political pundit George Will. It’s like he’s tied his tax returns inside a cage on the roof of the car and will keep them there until he arrives at the White House on January 20, 2013. Except he’s got to make that stop on November 6 to hose down the cage.  Except that it may very well be Romney who gets hosed on that day by the unhappy returns of the election kind—all going for Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney: Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

And now for another edition of “Mitt Romney: Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire.  President Obama would like to raise the top marginal corporate tax rate from 23% to 29%.  He would like to end the Bush tax cuts so that the top marginal tax rate increases from 35% to 39.6%, where it was when George W. Bush took office.  Both are huge increases the corporations and the rich can’t POSSIBLY absorb, right? Right?

In response to President Obama’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning over $250,000 a year yet leave them in place for the middle class, Romney cited last week’s dismal jobs report, then said “This is another kick in the gut…to the job creators and small businesses…” He later modified that statement, probably under advice from his campaign braintrust, to say, “This will be another kick in the gut to the middle class.” Always know your audience, right? By the way, how do you raise taxes on small businesses, as opposed to small business owners? Are small businesses people, my friend?  Hence, the rewrite.

Let’s examine the lack of logic in both versions of his statement.  First, the he points out that per the government jobs report, not enough new jobs are being created.  So, with the Bush tax cuts currently in effect, plenty of people are still out of work.  But it is Romney’s claim that if you raise taxes on the job creators and small businesses, they won’t be able to create the jobs they’re busy not creating now.  That’s like saying you should buy a Maserati before the prices go up.  Why? I can’t afford to buy one now! It’s not a perfect analogy but it does link Mitt Romney’s name to unaffordable Maseratis, which was my intent all along.

Here’s the truth about job creation under President Obama:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/01/493849/obama-bush-jobs-record/

Since February 2010, the private sector has added 4.3 million jobs,  On the other hand, public sector employment is down 600,000 jobs since January 2009. The major reason? All those Republican tea party governors, like Scott Walker, Ricks Scott and Snyder, Mitch Daniels, and John Kasich who were swept into office in 2010 have been busy busting public employee unions, and firing teachers, police officers, firefighters, and public employees in general, right and right (those governors don’t know from left).  Have you gotten really upset over the long hold times on the phone to speak to a social services worker or the long response time—or lack of response from government agency workers? That’s because there’s not many of them left these days—and a lot of them are working part-time from home.  And how about all those western wildfires?  How many more lives and homes would have been lost had the states fired more firefighters to save money? How much will city crime rates increase as the municipalities decrease their police forces to save a few bucks?

Oh, and the same governors I mentioned? To a man they all refused FREE federal money to fund high speed rail projects in their states, projects that would have put hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers and engineers back to work, and would have created millions of jobs more with support services, retail centers,  restaurants, and the like.

And one more thing: Romney lies by omission as well.  A year and a half ago, President Obama sent a massive jobs bill to the John Boehner/Eric Cantor-controlled House of Representatives.  The bill would fund infrastructure repair, so that no more interstate highway bridges collapse during rush hour traffic, and other goodies and would put at least a million unemployed people back to work. Guess what? That bill is still on Boehner’s desk, gathering dust.  That would make Republicans job non-creators, wouldn’t it?

So, it seems like the only real job creator around these parts is President Obama, at least he would be if the Republicans didn’t want him to lose the election so bad.  While Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority leader, does have a full-time job, his other self-confessed full time “job one” is holding Obama to one term. He said so publicly himself.

So when Mitt Romney speaks his very carefully rehearsed concern over tax increases on “the job creators and small businesses”, look at his burning trousers and recall that unemployment was below 4% with a 35% business tax rate under Bill Clinton.  George W. Bush dropped that tax rate to 23% and by the end of his term in office 700,000 jobs were vanishing every month.  I call it “vanishing”, Romney calls them “offshoring”.  A lost job by any other name…

Republicans And The Big Daddy In The Sky

Why are so many people on the Religious Right Republicans? You can’t say ALL Evangelical Christians, Catholics, and Mormons are Republicans, because they’re not; just the extreme religious right wing fringe.  Not all Jews are Republicans but some are.  And this is who the Republican Party is catering to these days.

The Republicans know that the Religious Right is their base.  They will do anything and everything they are told to do.  They in turn enjoy telling other people what to do. And why is this? Because to the Religious Right, the Republican Party is God and the Religious Right is its child, or children if we split them all up and send them to individual Republican foster homes.  But more importantly, the Religious Right being a child of God (the Republican Party), is also His (Its) instrument and what He/It says goes.  Think about it. God is all-powerful and exists on high.  Republicans like the Koch Brothers  and Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch are all-powerful (maybe except for Murdoch anymore) due to their extreme wealth and live high-er on the hog than almost all of us ever will. The Tea Party starts out protesting the banks and TARP until the Republican Party tells it the banks and TARP were good,  but that the new black president is bad,  so the Tea Party loves the banks and TARP but hates the new black president.

The Religious Right views God as their Holy Father, in fact, they literally call him “Holy Father”.  The Religious Right has a primal need to be taken care of; to rejoice in the thought that everything is planned so they don’t have to think for themselves.  And since they don’t need to think for themselves, they don’t think others should get to think for themselves either.  Look at how the Republican Congress descended on poor Newt Gingrich when he opposed Paul Ryan’s plan to change Medicare to a voucher program in 2011: “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.”  Gingrich was taken to the woodshed for that one and he was still plucking wood slivers out of his ass when he walked that statement back within a few days.

Even Mitt Romney is having considerable trouble winning the hearts and hypnotized minds of the Religious Right because, 1. He’s a Mormon and “not one of us”. 2.  He was for abortion before he was against it. 3. He signed off on the Romneycare mandate tax which became the Obamacare mandate tax.

And the Republican Party encourages this intertwinement between the Party and God.  It does want to take care of its flock.  God and the Republican Party stand side by side, if not in each other’s skins. Republicans have seen the face of God and he looks like Ronald Reagan—complete with prematurely orange hair.

Just last week, Paul Ryan said in effect that only God can create a health plan.  Since there is no way to verify if Ryan was offered the job of God’s press secretary—let alone accepted—none of us will take him at his word except for the Religious Right.  And this type of religious/government mindset is key to how the Republicans continue to win the allegiance of the Religious Right who gladly cede control over their lives to the Party, like children bending to the rule of their parents.  And here’s how it works:  When you hear a Republican politician proclaim something is or against God’s will, substitute the words “Daddy says”.

It is against the will of God to be homosexual. “Daddy says gay people are sinners and shouldn’t marry each other.”

It is against the will of God to prevent pregnancies and to have abortions.  “Daddy says women don’t have the right to have any say-so over what happens to their bodies.

It was God’s will to have us overthrow Saddam Hussein.  “Daddy says there was WMD hidden all over Iraq.”

It is God’s will that health care not be reformed. “Daddy says only rich people should get cheap health care plans.”

To keep the Religious Right inside the safety of the arms of the Republican Big Daddy In The Sky, they surround their world with fear.  Fear of a foreign-born socialist President, fear of hordes of brown people streaming up from the South and from the general middle east/Asian areas and over the unwatched U.S. borders, fear of liberals who put this foreign-born black President into office and now stand at the border gates ushering in the teeming hordes of brown people.  Fear of God/the Republican Party being forced to pay higher taxes than He/It can afford and therefore unable to create new jobs.  And fear that a new health care law is the largest tax increase in the history of the world and will leave them unable to afford, unable to afford, well they don’t know what they will no longer be able to afford because they don’t really know how much their own taxes will go up since who knows what is the highest tax increase in the history of the world? The Religious Right only knows they have been told that it is and they have faith in their God/the Republican Party that it is true.

What’s surprising is that the Republican Party has never built a church to itself.  This is understandable.  Because although the Republican Party solicits, perpetuates, and capitalizes on the love and adoration of the Religious Right, who wants to waste a couple of hours in church with them on Sunday mornings.  “After all, they’re really not our kind of people.”

In The Republican World

In the Republican World, there is no need for health care reform because we already have the best healthcare in the world that money can buy.

In the Republican World, millions of illegal Hispanics are flooding over the border and into our voting booths electing Democrats left and, uh, left in all-out voter fraud.

In the Republican World, money talks and these green lips of corporations belong to people, my friend.

In the Republican World, government should keep its hands out of people’s private business, unless those people are non-corporations, pregnant women, and LBGT.

In the Republican World, oil and coal are king and renewable alternative fuel sources friendly to the environment are the jokers.

In the Republican World, lifeguard services are subcontracted out to for-profit companies who fire lifeguards for rescuing swimmers drowning in waters outside the companies’ contracted area.

In the Republican World, people who can’t afford to pay traffic tickets are thrown into prison for months by collection agencies subcontracted by towns to run the courts’ probationary programs and set the fees defendants can’t afford to pay, all in the absence of a judge.  In the Republican World, it doesn’t matter that this is illegal and unconstitutional.

In the Republican World, Democrats and liberals are godless socialist communists worshiping at the feet of their supreme great black Satan lord whose only purpose is to destroy Republican World from all sides.

In the Republican World, Obamacare comes with a price tag which is the highest tax increase in the history of Republican World.

In the Republican World, pouting and holding your breath while sitting in the corner and refusing to play with others until you get your way is the method of conducting the Nation’s business in Congress.

In the Republican World, if you’re not a Christian you’re not a Republican.

In the Republican World, Republican congressmen love their wives and children, and men they’ve just met in airport men’s room stalls and in public parks and in massage rooms.  They love other children so much they download their pictures onto their computers from the internet.

In the Republican World, fear lies around every corner, and in every dark shadow, and within and without our American borders.  It is colored either black or brown, and wears a name sticker that says “Hello. My name is Liberal Democrat.

In the Republican World, a foreign-born black man is coming for their guns.

In the Republican World, the wealthy and powerful make the rules for the Republican World.

In the Republican World, lies masquerade as truth and facts are irrelevant.  Something is presented as true because it damn well should be.

Obama’s Two Mistakes

I have had my issues with President Obama.  To me, he has caved in so many times he has miners trapped inside him.  (A tip of the hat to John Fugelsang for that line.).  Well, I’m currently reading a book—which I highly recommend—by Noam Scheiber titled “ The Escape Arti$ts: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the [sic] Recovery”.  It’s been eye-opening.

Although it is true that Obama is a better chess player than poker player (although he strategizes long term, he tends to show his hand early) I now believe Obama has always been sincere in wanting to work with both sides of the Congressional aisle because that was his modus operandi in the US Senate.  It’s also very clear where Obama made his mistakes in this administration because he made two huge ones.

First, for some reason he idolized Bill Clinton and thought his economic team walked on international water, the way the averted global financial collapse and all back in the 90’s.  The fact that what Clinton’s team did led directly to the stock market and banking collapse of 2008 either got by him or by that time since he had his team in place all Obama could say was “Oops.”  What bothers me is the fact that Obama, acknowledging he knew next to nothing about economic policy, looked around and he thought he saw the best financial minds in Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase (to Obama, Jamie Dimon is THE guy), and career US Treasury guys.  The fact that these guys all placed the welfare of global economies, Wall Street and the banks over people (so what if a few million people lose their jobs,  as long as investors are happy and their dollars are safe) EVERY time, didn’t give him pause.  Well, he did pause long enough to appoint Christine Romer as his chief economist; she being the only one who didn’t consider John Maynard Keynes the economic  Anti-Christ.  But as it was, Romer advised a minimum $1.8 trillion stimulus but the Obama team decided $775 billion was all they could go and we all know how that turned out.  Like much with the Obama administration, it could have been better.

The 2nd mistake was in figuring that since he was being noble and sincere in his outreach to the Republicans to work with him in a bi-partisan manner, they would be, too.  It’s hard to believe that a politician as astute as Obama could have totally misread the Tea Party, but misread them he did.  Or maybe he thought that when Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly stated that Job One would be holding Obama to a single term as president he had his fingers crossed behind his back.  No, he didn’t have his fingers crossed behind his back, he had both hands in front of his body and was sticking the middle fingers on both hands up at Obama.

For me, “The Escape Artists” has rounded out the picture of the man.  I’ve made the mistake of assuming the image presented of Obama was the same as the man.  I believe Obama knows what he doesn’t know (but doesn’t take it to absurd lengths ala Donald Rumsfeld) but he needs to be less trusting that there’s basically only one small group of guys who do know what he doesn’t know and they know it the right way.  Obama chose the wrong Robert among the ex-Clintonites when he went for Rubin instead of Reich.  If Obama can be heard above the right wing noise machine, he should be able to fix his mistakes during his second term.