I could do a post on the conservative noise machine and their claim that Romney is really leading in the polls by 176%, but the pollster have a liberal bias. Then I decided to post about something more interesting and fact based. This is a devastating view of the Romney class of plutocrats from a conservative web site, Revolt of the Rich, Our financial elites are the new secessionists. By Mike Lofgren
I do not mean secession by physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that happens from time to time—for example, Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot.
Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?
Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless. Perhaps that explains why Mitt Romney’s regular-guy anecdotes always seem a bit strained. I discussed this with a radio host who recounted a story about Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury as well as an executive at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup.
Conservationism’s krazy uncle Sheldon Adelson lives in the U.S. but most of his billions come from Asia. Romney of course has offshore accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Sure most of the plutocrats live here, but they’re not really here when they live 20 stories up in multi-million dollar penthouse condos and security guarded gated communities. It is one of the reasons they are willing to pander to the conservative mullahs like Ralph Reed ( who was part of the web of Jack Abramoff’s corruption and is back in action to help Romney). Congress can pass all the legislation they like to restrict personal decisions about health – the elite will always be able to buy whatever medical service they want here or fly to where they can get it. Stephen Schwarzman is the hedge fund billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group. He has billions. When he gets up in the morning he doesn’t have to worry about not having health insurance, whether he can get a second job to pay for his kid’s dental work or how he is going to get out from under an underwater mortgage. His every material needs can be met several times over. Yet he complains about working Americans who pay no federal income tax, “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.” Those people, what Schwarzman thinks of as the ungrateful peasants are the system. He and his cohorts think because they move vast sums of money around, make decisions that can and have crashed multiple economies, that they are the producers. That we would not survive without them. As Lincoln once said,”Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation.” Conservatism has come to stand against this progress, this view of the economic ties between labor and capital as a drag on the John Galts of industry, the producers like Romney and Schwarzman. Everyone else should be on one knee being grateful for these great men for moving money around. Money that at its root is a bet that labor can produce goods that will make the elites money. This is not solely an argument about wages, it is more generally about the social contract. The plutocrats who see themselves, amplified by media puppets like Fox News as exempt from contributing to the betterment of the nation via bridges, universities and government research. They have come to regard the public infrastructure with very little regard. Taken to its logical conclusion this secession from democracy and revival of a new kind of monarchism might last for a while just because they have convinced so many median income working class folks – especially in the South, to act against their own rational self interests. Romney and friends may not actually believe stuff like this, but they love and encourage it – Conservative Group Claims Obama Has ‘Communist Beliefs,’ Compares His Policies To Hitler’s
The mailer, a product of the Faith and Freedom coalition, is titled the “Voter Registration Confirmation Survey.” But its questions have little to do with registering to vote. Rather, the survey asks a host of leading inquries into how its members view the President’s record.
The options prompt the most extreme answers — with very few moderate or supportive possibilities:
As Mother Jones, who obtained the survey, points out, the Faith and Freedom coalition and particularly its head Ralph Reed are leading the effort to turn out Evangelical voters for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The group plans to spend over $10 million for this purpose.
Romney has praised Reed for his turnout efforts, saying, “Ralph Reed is doing a great job here with the Faith & Freedom Coalition. This is going to make a big impact across America and I appreciate the work you are doing here.” The Presidential candidate even gave Reed the ultimate honor of sharing a hotel with him during the convention.
Democratic bloggers and pundits could have it much easier. Just do what Republicans do, make stuff up and spit it out pretending that the bile constitutes some well-considered thought. In the real world the only Nazis are ones that side with conservatives – Neo-Nazi Minuteman ( who was running for sheriff as a Republican and supported by the state Republican Party) kills 4, himself in AZ.
Just in case anyone is interested in how to win an argument, just make up a position your opponent has never stood for, make the argument as wildly ridiculous as possible and proceed as though… I don’t know, was sitting in an empty chair, Fox Wins Straw-Man Argument Against Taxing Millionaires At 100 Percent
Fox News is distorting President Obama’s economic agenda by pushing the straw-man argument that taxing the entirety of millionaires’ incomes would fund the government for less than three months. In fact, Obama has proposed no such thing, and this Republican talking point obscures the billions in revenue that would be generated from letting the Bush tax cuts expire for wealthy households.
[ ]…Steve Moore: “There Just Aren’t Enough Rich People, There Are Not Enough Millionaires And Billionaires To Pay The Bills.” Wall Street Journal editor and frequent Fox guest Steve Moore agreed with MacCallum’s straw-man argument and stated:
MOORE: Right, and that assumes that people would still work and still invest and you’d still have rich people if you took 100% of their money. But you’re right, there’s just, and the problem of course, Martha, is there just aren’t enough rich people, there are not enough millionaires and billionaires to pay the bills. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/24/12]
…Elizabeth MacDonald: “Taxing Millionaires At 100% Would Now Run The Federal Government For Two And A Half To Three Months.”
Did anyone else just get a little misty eyed at the prospect of the persecuted wealthy who might be taxed at a 100% rate in Fox Fantasyland. The only real proposal on the table, goodness forbid, is to raise taxes on millionaires to the same rate they were during the Clinton administration. Obama has said he would keep the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250k. Yes, Obama is surely the clone of Hitler.
Cornell University law professor William Jacobson, who writes the ridiculous blog Legal In.sur.rec.tion, has jumped the proverbial shark in his smear of Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, No, Elizabeth Warren Did Not Engage in the Unauthorized Practice of Law
At Legal In.sur.rec.tion, Professor Jacobson contends that Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Senate candidate, liberal firebrand, and Harvard law professor, has engaged or appears to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in the state of Massachusetts. In support, Professor Jacobson points to numerous briefs either filed by Ms. Warren or with her listed as being “of counsel” in various federal courts around the country in which her office address is listed as being in Massachusetts.
[ ]…In making his arguments, Professor Jacobson makes a fatal error by assuming that merely preparing legal briefs in (seemingly non-Massachusetts) federal cases or providing advice on federal law while located in Massachusetts and maintaining a primary office in Massachusetts constitutes the “practice of law in Massachusetts.” Although he cites several cases for this proposition, these cases do not go nearly as far as Professor Jacobson assumes, as they each involve cases wholly within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts courts, specifically Massachusetts real estate transactions and Massachusetts probate matters.
He further errs in deeming “on point” a 1976 case in which the Massachusetts state bar issued an ethics opinion prohibiting a law firm from listing a “Boston Office” address on its letterhead where the firm lacked any Massachusetts-admitted attorneys but instead sought to claim that a Massachusetts firm with which it had a relationship falling short of an “associate” or “partnership” relationship constituted its “Boston Office.” This case, however, is not “on point,” as it is not an unauthorized practice of law case but is instead a misleading communications case in which the firm was prohibited from “holding itself out to the public” as having a Massachusetts office. Jacobson incorrectly assumes that merely listing an office location in a court filing, rather than a communication “to the public” constitutes “holding oneself out to the public” as being licensed in the jurisdiction in which one’s office is located.
But most importantly, Professor Jacobson ignores Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(d), which states that:
“A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that…are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.”
The Official Comments to Rule 5.5(d) further elaborate to make explicit that 5.5(d) permits such an attorney to have even a “systematic and continuous presence in [Massachusetts] for the practice of law as well as provide legal services on a temporary basis.”
And further, more astute legal minds than Jacobson here, Does Elizabeth Warren Have a Law License Problem?
UPDATE (2:30 PM): There’s additional discussion of possible defenses over at the National Review Online (gavel bang: commenter). As one NRO reader notes, “The post indicates that this is a federal case. You do not need to be licensed to practice law in Massachusetts to practice law in federal courts located in Massachusetts or anywhere else. Federal courts decide who can practice before them, and individual states can’t tell federal courts that an attorney cannot practice before them.”
I’m not sure of the exact points at which this becomes not just a simple case of a partisan voicing an opinion and has reached the point of legal defamation. Defamation, in this instance by Jacobson, libel by written statement on the web that is a false claim or statement of fact about another person that harms his or her reputation. Being an attorney Jacobson is well aware of the malicious falsehood of his bizarre statements against Warren, so he cannot plead ignorance. I wonder at what point Cornell University and New York Bar Association ethics inquiries kick in. It is from his standing at that university and his professional credentials on which he is resting the authority of his statements – see who I am, my opinion carries extra weight. I cannot imagine that the university is too pleased at hearing about the professors sleazy ethics.