Racism is on full display on NPR and at least CBS Radio News. Throughout Dubya’s eight years every news program referred to him as President Bush. With Barack Obama (and you can check the audio archives) he was referred to as “Obama” in every news story that I heard during his eight years in office. I bet he’ll still be referred to as “Obama” instead of “Former President Obama”. Never or hardly ever “President Obama”. And now Trump has only been in the White House for 4 days and in every news story he’s either “Donald Trump” or “President Trump”. Yes, racism is alive and all too well in the corporate news media.
Jon Stewart bringing up one of the same points I brought up last week about Hillary’s contention that the Clintons “came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.” And “we struggled to piece together the MORTGAGES for HOUSES [my emphasis]”. Stewart jumped on the “houses” quote: “When you’re appealing to the middle class you might want to use the singular…when referring to the most valuable asset most people will come in contact with.” That was my point exactly.
Of course, being a lawyer, Clinton had chosen her words (almost) carefully to try to appeal, in Stewart’s words, to “Reagan Democrats”. Not exactly the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party, more like the shadowland between phony Democrats and real Republicans. She could claim the Clintons were “dead broke” because their millions of dollars in investments and in income from those investments were kept in at least blind trusts for the duration of Bill’s presidency. Since officially left office on 1/20/2001 (after Dubya was sworn in), it might have taken a few days after that to transfer those assets out of those blind trusts so that they were once again accessible. But sadly, during those hard and difficult financial days for the Clintons, they had to make do on the hundreds of thousands of dollars Bill and Hillary eked out from speech making in front of various groups. Bill might even have secured a loan from long-time family friend George H.W. Bush to tide them over. Funny that Democrat Bill Clinton has been palling around for decades with Bushes Sr. and Jr., but not so much the only other Democratic president, Jimmy Carter. I guess Bill would prefer to fly around the globe staying in the finest hotels and ballpark luxury boxes instead of getting down and dirty building houses for the poor with Carter.
Oh, the other carefully chosen words from Hillary: “in debt”. Yes, Bill had lots of legal debt from his defenses against “Whitewater” and his sham impeachment over Monica Lewinsky. As both a credit counselor and a bankruptcy counselor, I worked with people who WERE actually dead broke with or without houses but with overwhelming debt they couldn’t pay. Since these people didn’t have assets in blind trusts or multimillion-dollar incomes from speeches and such, their only option was to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (for the non-homeowners OR the homeowners walking away from their home mortgages) or Chapter 13 (for the homeowners who wanted to try to keep their homes). There’s no 2001 record of the Clintons filing for bankruptcy (and this was before the 2005 Republican bankruptcy law “reform”) which means that they paid off all their debts just fine on their own, thank you.
I said before that Hillary Clinton sounded as tone deaf as Ann Romney with this quote, and Stewart alludes to this as well. And I’ll say something else again: Clinton will not be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee (make no mistake—she IS running) if she continues making stupid, thoughtless statements like these to pretend to us common folk that she’s one of us, or has been one of us. The quote reveals that she never was. Hillary supporters unconditionally accept her statements; those of us who look more dispassionately on the woman, see it for the pandering to the poor voter masses that it is. The only thing dead broke is Hillary Clinton’s integrity
Reading Paul Krugman’s “End This Depression Now!” He makes it quite clear that the whole income inequality and the 2008 financial meltdown was a bipartisan accomplishment. To keep this short, I’ll give a timeline mentioning just the players and the legislation responsible and you can Google them for more information.
1980: Congress passes and Carter signs into law the Monetary Control Act of 1980 which deregulated and opened up many more kinds of deposits that banks could now pay interest on.
1982: Congress passes and Reagan signs into law the Garn–St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 which relaxed restrictions on the kinds of loans banks could make.
1998: Citicorp merges with Travelers Group to attain both Smith Barney and Shearson Lehman and form Citigroup. The problem was that at that time Glass-Steagall prevented commercial banks from engaging in either insurance or investment banking. Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill pays a visit to and makes sure large contributions are paid to Texas Senator Phil Gramm. The result:
1999: Congress passes and Clinton signs into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which retroactively authorizes the Citi-Travelers merger. Oh, the key White House figure supporting the bill? Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Gramm left the Senate and joined the board of directors of UBS. Rubin was a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs and after leaving the Clinton White House became vice chairman of…Citigroup.
Also in 1998: Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers testifies before Congress that regulating derivatives would be a bad idea and so the issue is tabled. He later endorses the the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. (In 2009, Summers admits he was wrong about everything. Better late than never? Tell that to all the people worldwide who lost homes, jobs, savings, retirement accounts, lives–everything–before Summers in essence said “Oops.”)
My contributions outside of the book:
2001: Along with the British, Dubya starts a war in Afghanistan. The costs for the war is kept off the federal budget.
2001: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.
2003: Dubya invades Iraq. The costs for the war are kept off the federal budget.
2003: Congress passes and Dubya signs into law Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.
2009: Congress passes and Obama signs into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It authorizes a stimulus payment of what grew to be $831 billion. Economic adviser Christina Romer insisted that the minimum stimulus needed to jump start the economy was $1.8 billion, and she was later proven right although she was gone from the White House by that time. Who overruled her, insisting on the lower stimulus package? Our old friend (and Bill Clinton’s), Larry Summers, along with Peter R. Orszag, yet another ex-Clinton economic adviser who headed the CBO under Obama. After leaving the Obama administration, Orszag took a job with…Citigroup.
So, as Krugman and I have shown, what led to the 2008 meltdown and which continues the basis and continued extension of income inequality (through all the deregulation because yes indeed, as the rich get richer the poor get poorer) has been a bipartisan affair. It is very true: when it comes to the economy, there is no difference between the two parties.
So, the Brits are threatening to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange and extradite him to Sweden for a supposed sex crime.
The entire world knows that Assange would be extradited to Sweden by way of a US federal prison. He could even become a bunkmate of Bradley Manning’s. We must not forget that Manning is getting still getting the treatment that the US wants to inflict on Assange.
Who does Great Britain think it is—Margaret Thatcher invading the Falkland Islands? Ronald Reagan storming Grenada? George H.W. Bush storming Panama? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney invading Iraq? Does the term “sovereign nation” only apply to the nations who feel they’re more sovereign than the smaller, weaker sovereign nations? Are the Brits pissed at Ecuador because they don’t have dictator friendly to powerful global interests in power to do their bidding?
Julian Assange’s only crime is that he released top secret documents that embarrassed the US and Great Britain. Don’t know why Sweden is doing the bidding of the US in this sordid affair, maybe it owns the US money, which the Obama administration is willing to write off in return for the capture and extradition. Sometimes sovereign nations are the servant nations of larger sovereign nations.
So for those who keep insisting that Barack Obama is a decent man and a socialist liberal, how do you square this with the continued imprisonment of Bradley Manning—who was held in solitary confinement from July 2010 to February 2012 when he finally got to see the inside of a courtroom to be formally arraigned? His trial is scheduled to begin next month. Does this treatment sound like one that was authorized by a president who is a Constitutional scholar and told Constitutional law who should know a thing or two about the Bill of Rights, especially the 5th and 14th Amendments.
Assange, not being an American citizen, would not be covered by the Bill of Rights, especially if he’s designated an enemy combatant or a spy by a military tribunal or the DOJ.
If the Brits are allowed to go after Assange, then next they go after Greg Palast, or just your average whistleblower, and then the US follows suit and then the teabaggers would be correct in portraying the current administration as a dictatorship—but with George W. Bush not being the dictator.
If the major sovereign governments of the world insist on lying to their citizens about policies that have destroyed lesser sovereign governments and resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians and hundreds of thousands of those in the military and are caught doing it by the release of papers proving their deadly deception, then those in the governments responsible for the cover-ups should be removed from power and put on trial, but only after serving at least two years in a small cell in solitary confinement.
The so-called tea partiers love to say Obama is a failed president, using the one mind and one voice they all share. They claim he doesn’t know anything about how our country works or how our economy works, but they never really say specifically what proof they have that he doesn’t know how either works.
Being a Constitutional scholar and editor of the Harvard Law Review and all, I’d say Obama knows more about our country than all these so-called tea partiers with their one mind and voice—put together. So that lays that assertion to rest.
But what about the economy? A trickier issue to address—but let’s go ahead anyway. Yes, unemployment at a fictional 8.3% is high, but Obama for the most part has no control over it. You see, over a year ago he sent a comprehensive jobs bill to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House. And what action has Boehner taken on it in over a year? Nothing. Zilch. Or he might have taken the action of stuffing it in a lower desk drawer and locking it up, or he may have round filed it. Accidents sometimes happen. Boehner preferred the Republican jobs plan to Obama which is…well, we don’t really know what it is because it’s never been put down in writing. It’s more of an oral tradition type of thing, where the lore of this Republican jobs bill is handed down from the elders to the so-called tea party Congress members who refuse to consider it anyway. So it’s more of an idea than an actual bill. But based on the research by independent economists, the Republicans’ job idea would do little, if nothing, to create any jobs. As for the jobs plan of their supposed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, well, we don’t know? He’s all about creating jobs but has yet to specify how he would do it. For a possible clue, see the Republican economic idea a few paragraphs below.
But since this is a story reported by that lefty digital rag The Huffington Post, so-called tea partiers will poo poo it as partisan, even though non-partisan economists all agreed on the results. The Obama plan could put a million unemployed people back to work, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s more than the Republicans would do.
As for the economy, the Dow closed at 13,168.60 today. The NASDAQ closed at 3015.86, and the S&P closed at 1401.35. On January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn into office, the Dow closed at 7949.09; the NASDAQ at 1440.86, and the S&P at 805.23—all three indexes had fallen sharply from the day before. So, looking at today’s numbers, for those in the so-called tea party who are math-challenged, the higher numbers indicate that the stock market averages are almost twice as high (more than twice with the NASDAQ). This would indicate a far stronger stock market than the day Obama took office, which means the money guys who decide and control these things think that Obama’s doing a pretty good job, considering that he’s doing it all alone and despite the obstruction of the Congressional Republicans.
As far as the Republican economic idea? Again—nothing in writing. And again, their supposed presidential nominee Romney has not detailed any specifics for his economic ideas. But give it to the Republicans and their oral tradition where they have to keep concepts simple to avoid a game of Telephone when handing their lore down from one generation to another.
The Republican economic/jobs creation idea has two simple components: 1. No taxes on the rich and corporations. 2. No regulations on business.
That’s it. Simple to remember and to pass on to the young so-called tea partiers. Except how do no taxes on the rich and corporations and no regulations on business create jobs? The Republicans and Mitt Romney will get back to us on that one AFTER the presidential election—trust them.
So, we’ve got a sitting president who’s a constitutional scholar AND has a jobs plan and a fairly good economy seeing as how he’s done it all himself. Not saying I agree with all of Obama’s economic policies, but they’re nothing that another massive stimulus and jobs plan wouldn’t fix.
When you look logically at the Republicans’ economic/jobs idea logic doesn’t look back at you in return. If you lower or eliminate taxes on the rich and corporations, how do you replace all that lost revenue? You can’t because the middle class only have so much they can give from their mainly minimum wage jobs and unemployment benefits. George W. Bush lowered taxes and by the time he left office the economy was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. And I already told you where the stock market was. That bleeding has stopped and has even been reversed under Obama, but any president can only do so much with the entire Republican-controlled Congress against him. And make no mistake—the Republicans control both chambers by a majority in the House and by filibuster in the Senate. John Boehner, his boss Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell are the three men responsible for the 8.3% fictional unemployment rate while the stock market thrives in spite of their best efforts to drown it in a bathtub along with the federal government.
Of course the so-called tea party will believe nor accept none of this—but there is one way both could be achieved. How do I get this blog post on Fox?
“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.
There is something wrong when 68% of Americans blame George W. Bush for our stinkin’ economy but only 38% have faith that President Obama’s policies will get us out of this mess. And the something wrong is the Obama’s campaign lousy communication skills.
In 2010, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that holding Obama to one term was job one. What’s ironic about that statement is that it’s the only job the Republicans have created since gaining control of Congress that year. The Republicans have blocked every job initiative Obama introduced, have refused to pass his budgets except for the idiot compromise that kept the Republicans from pushing the U.S. into default and created the dead in the womb so-called Super Committee.
I’ve read that Obama attempts to fly above the fray but the problem is he’s also flying above the heads of the independent and disgruntled Republican voters. Karl Rove and Fox know how fly right into the bread basket of the average uneducated voter and fill them with alarm and rage over Obama while framing the Republicans as the great white hope, and then using hatred of gays to bring in segments of black and Hispanic voters.
The Obama campaign should be buying up even more ad time than Rove and Sheldon Adelson can afford and starting ads with McConnell’s pronouncement, followed by video of every jobs bill, or labor friendly initiative and show how the Republicans stopped them all through “No” votes and filibusters. One after another over the course of a 30-60 second spot. Do another spot with a side-by-side comparison of Obamacare with Romneycare to show how identical they are. Follow that with interviews with parents of children who can now get health insurance for them, seniors getting help filling the Medicare Part D donut hole, and business owners telling how Obamacare has saved them money and helped their employees and their businesses.
But no, all the Obama campaign is offering is attack ads against Romney which are not that effective. Romney remains behind Obama in the polls because most people don’t like Romney. Except to his most avid and brain-dead supporters, people can see him for the elitist phony that he is.
The non-Fox news channels are ineffective at getting Obama’s message out as well. Process junkies like MSNBC’s Chuck Todd love to post the daily polls (along with the daily White House soup of the day (?)), showing that Obama’s in trouble over unemployment and the economy but he refuses to analyze why that is, which would open the door to again recapping the Republican intransigence in Congress which has effectively blocked every Obama move with the knowledge the media would blame Obama and provide plenty of air time to Republicans to push this fallacy on the malleable uneducated voters who can be swayed to vote Republican against their own best self interests.
It’s a mystery why Obama the candidate was such a superb salesman but Obama the President is struggling to close the deal, at least according to the latest opinion polls.
And that’s something else the Obama campaign is missing the boat on. Media guys like Todd are so enamored of daily polls which show Romney close to Obama. The Obama campaign could run ads showing poll after poll where Obama leads Romney nationally, with women, students, ethnic minorities. They could simplify the concept of polls and show how national polls don’t matter anyway because the presidency will be decided by individual state election results.
At this point, Obama’s message is bottled up. In order to win in November, he’ll have to get it in an easy-to-digest format the malleable uneducated voters can understand so that they’re swayed to vote for him. The only time a message in a bottle was a success was for The Police.