American Midwest Sunset wallpaper – Republicans Celebrate The Disastrous Consequences of The Shock Doctrine

American Midwest Sunset wallpaper

Black and White Midwest Sunset wallpaper

 

The WSJ celebrates Milton Friedman’s birthday with this extraordinary indulgence in idolatry,  The Man Who Saved Capitalism by Stephen Moore

It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.

One has to admire the thickness of Mr. Moore’s tin-foil and the durability of his knee pads to write an opening paragraph like that. The Great Recession or Wall Street meltdown was composed of several factions of Friedman style deregulation and the far Right conservative trend toward laissez faire economics. The culmination of these wonderful Friedmanesque policies resulted in 8 million Americans losing their jobs, millions losing their homes, millions underwater on their mortgage. While the USA lost about $14 trillion dollars of its wealth. In turn the unemployment ripped state and federal revenue, and added billions to state and federal deficits. That in turn had another domino effect, state’s laid off workers to cut budgets. The decease in public sector jobs – mostly teachers, but including fire fighters, clerical workers, custodians, librarians, etc, caused another 750,000 jobs to be lost in the private sector because of the loss in demand. While there were some flaws in  The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein( a critique of Friedman’s Chicago School supply side economics) she was right about how conservatives used the worse economic crisis since 1929 to push an even more extreme agenda on the American public. Instead of facing the reality of a crisis in federal and state revenue, conservatives with the aid of the media as usual, convinced a good portion of the public that we didn’t need to raise taxes on millionaires and wealthy corporations ( many of which pay little to no taxes) – what we needed to do was cut spending and gut social safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They convinced the public that the problem was not a fifty year trend of redistributing money from working Americans to the plutocrats, we needed to cut unemployment benefits and food assistance. All so that the top 10% of the income bracket, who had every material need meet hundreds of times over, could not have to pay a few percent more in taxes. In the minds of the conservative idolaters like Moore, any criticism of Friedman is a criticism of capitalism. Friedman did what conservatives do, took some fetishistic ideal of what they felt capitalism should be and decided that was the only way to implement capitalism.  Democrats, every liberal, every progressive I have ever meet or read likes capitalism, we just don’t like the kind that crushed families so that people like Mitt Romney or the Koch brothers can make even more easy money. Money, or rather capital created by working class Americans that Moore and the conservative movement have proved they have nothing but contempt. Friedman lived long enough to see he was wrong about capitalism always producing freedom – see China, the authoritarian capitalist poster child. Democracy has links with capitalism, but one does not guarantee the other, contrary to Friedman orthodoxy. Friedmannomics gave America this:

This is Milton Friedman/Republican dream in action. Rewarding wealth, having contempt for work.

The Cult of Friedman thinks any attempt to return the U.S. back to the glory days of the New Deal, Glass-Steagall, to regulate derivatives – the age where America created the greatest economic expansion in history based on Keynesian economics, is the exact same thing as Marxism. When it is about a genuine merit based society that provides equal opportunity ( Republicans would lock people out with a kind of Jim Crow-lite society that keeps out minorities, women, traditional blue-collar workers and the working poor). Conservatives do not want any humaneness to enter into their version of capitalism. The rich and upper middle-class have what they have because by balance of their bank accounts they are more virtuous.  It’s a vicious cycle in which they reward each other for the happy accidents of birth and the blessings of luck they have had in life. Economic justice, intellectual prowess, a solid work ethic, creativity, strength of character – are not according to conservatives worth much or meaningful, compared to how much black ink one has on the bottom line.

Romney Praises Israel’s Universal Health Care System, Which Includes Individual Mandate

Romney spoke favorably about the fact that health care makes up a much smaller amount of Israel’s gross domestic product compared to the United States:

“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” he said. “You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”

Israel spends less on health care because of a universal health system that requires everyone to have insurance. Every Israeli citizen has the obligation to purchase health care services through one of the country’s four HMOs since government officials approved the National Health Insurance Law in 1995.

 

John Hindrocket at Powerline has looked at the above and the rest of Romney’s Excellent European Adventures and come to the conclusion that like his former flame George W. Bush, Romney’s brilliance is unappreciated. If Romney plans on implementing an Israel style health care program here – like Obamacare, only a little better – maybe John is right for once.

Polish Solidarity Distances Itself From Romney: He ‘Supported Attacks On Trade Unions And Employees’ Rights’. The conservative blogisphere tried to make a big deal out of Lech Walesa dissing Obama for not granting him a private meeting, not because of politics. How are they going to spin a labor movement largely responsible for the downfall of the Soviet Union thinking Mitt Romney appears to be a right-wing extremist on labor policy.

More let’s prove Mittens foreign policy credentials goodness, Mitt Romney Misuses Judaism to Support Israel and Buttress His Own Campaign. I happen to enjoy history. Though I understand not everyone shares that interests. Mittens, like Sara Palin, has this attitude that history does not really matter, so why get some major details wrong. Even if the history they get wrong is a source of cultural identity.

Scott Brown (R-MS) doesn’t want to talk about marriage equality

Brown doesn’t say why he specifically disagrees with Cathy’s statement, because he certainly agrees with Cathy’s anti-equality position. He voted against Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage law when he was in the state legislature, and has a long and problematic history on LGBT issues, even to the point of being the only member of the state’s congressional delegation to not participate in their “It Gets Better” video.

Brown is well out of the mainstream with the rest of Massachusetts on this one. PPP polled the state in June and it’s clear the state is happy with the law.

62% of voters said they support gay marriage being legal to only 30% who think it should be illegal […]
64% say legalizing gay marriage had no impact on their lives to 20% who think it’s been a positive thing and 16% who believe it’s been negative.

Which is undoubtedly why Scott Brown says he disagrees with Cathy’s statement, but won’t say why, and won’t say why he himself is adamantly opposed to marriage equality.

Is it possible those greasy chicken sandwiches from  Chick-fil-A have clogged Brown’s sense of moral decency.

Florida’s Criminal Governor Rick Scott (R) Preaches Austerity, Spends Big On Frivolous Lawsuits

Florida Governor Rick Scott has spoken a lot about cutting government spending, lowering taxes for corporations, and removing social safety nets that millions of people rely on. But while he is busy eliminating more than $3 billion from public classrooms, his administration is simultaneously racking up hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal expenses to defend several of its own unconstitutional laws and fight frivolous battles in federal court over Obamacare.

To date, Rick Scott has authorized more than $888,000 for legal costs.

Scott is one of the followers of the Friedman Shock Doctrine, always use a crisis to screw over the most vulnerable Americans and get more freebies for corporations and the buddies at the yacht club.

Some American Park History – And Conservatives Are Too Weak To Win Campaigns Based on Truth

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi ca 1880. Bartholdi is most often thought of as the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty. While that assures his place in U.S. history, he also created another prominent U.S. icon, the “Fountain of Light and Water” located in Bartholdi Park in Washington D.C.

In 1877 the United States paid $6,000 for an iron fountain sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (later famous for the Statue of Liberty) that had stood at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who was redesigning the Capitol grounds at the time, had learned that the fountain was available and recommended to Architect of the Capitol Edward Clark that it be bought and placed in a suitable location.

A new water basin was built opposite the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Conservatory’s principal (north) front, located in the center of the National Mall, to receive the fountain. The fountain then moved to its present location in Bartholdi Park in 1932.

The fountain was a public magnet, a destination for both locals and tourists at the time as it was among the first well lit public spaces where families could enjoy the spectacle of the fountain as they took an evening stroll. Originally is was lit by 12 gas lamps. Battery-powered electric igniters replaced these lamps in 1881. In 1885 the lights surrounding the large basin were added. The fountain was completely electrified in 1915.

Bartholdi Fountain in its original location on the National Mall by the West Front of the Capitol. c. 1890. Barthholdi Park is still in operation, providing about two acres of beautifully maintained green space for escape from all the local asphalt.

Bartholdi Fountain 2011. Over the course of time the fountain had amassed dozens of coats of paint, but was stripped and restored in 2008.

Greater Los Angeles : the wonder city of America 1932. Not as large (1246×8100 as some maps I’ve posted.), still an interesting map historically and culturally. 1932 was not the best of years ( The Depression) and yet the map creators still wanted to present L.A. as a thriving metropolis. L.A. did happen to benefit from the Summer Olympic Games being held that year. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had been expanded to hold the estimated crowds, but ticket sales were very slow. Some big name Hollywood stars – including Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Mary Pickford – offered to entertain the crowd and ticket sales picked up.

This is more or less a recap of the last thirty days: 6 Things Mitt Romney Is Hiding. Includes his old e-mails as governor of Massachusetts, the details of how and why he has offshore bank accounts, has yet to offer public details of his big money bundlers – something both Obama and John McCain have done in the past. The missing years of letters from his father’s archive of letters. Some amazingly intimate letters are in the archive including asking one of Mitt’s about his son’s dating, who he was dating and who he should date, ” good-looking” Mormon girls. So why hide the rest. The tax returns of course. If Mittens makes it to the White House he will be the first modern president to do so with America knowing nothing about his taxes. While it appears legal, technically because of the way he used a loophole in something called a “blocker corporation” to get such a large amount of money into the IRA. We still do not know the details of an IRA account that contains at least $20.7 million and as much as $101.6 million.

Press Barred From Mitt Romney’s Jerusalem Fund-raiser. It seems that the negative reaction to what David Axelrod “punnily” called the Mittness Protection Program has caused a reverse in course and Mittens will allow some press. It is not that Romney’s people are afraid of gaffes, they’re likely afraid that Romney is so comfortable with his own arrogance he does not think about what he says before he says it.

How the U.S. Government Helped Mitt Romney Build His Fortune

At events across the country, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is trying to convince voters that small business owners in fact build the roads and bridges they use every day. Unfortunately, Romney’s “We Did Build It” gatherings have hit some potholes, with many participants revealed to be the recipients of government contracts and subsidies and others unaware of the full context of President Obama’s selectively edited remarks now under attack.

But Mitt Romney has another, much larger problem with his baseless contention that President Obama is “insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America.” Because on his road to becoming a $250 million captain of private equity at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney had a lot of help from his uncle. Uncle Sam, that is. As it turns out, the U.S. tax code doesn’t merely allow Romney to pay a lower rate than many middle class families. Without the public subsidy that is the corporate debt interest deduction, there might not be a Bain Capital–or a private equity industry as we know it–at all.

That tax code which conservative serial liars insist is so unfair to the wealthy, actually pays for the sleazy behavior of the Mitt Romneys in private equity firms. Not only has Mitt never built anything, invented anything, created any valuable service, he parasitizes companies and their employees without even risking his own money. I can’t find the link now, but a liberal writer/political analyst recently called Romney a capitalist. I honestly cannot stick the ice pick deep enough into my brain to find a way to truthfully claim that Romney competes and creates something of value for society. Certainly Bain created great returns for the parasites that invested with them. If two or three layers of vultures feeding on carcasses is capitalism the middle-class is doomed. Australian and international criminal Rupert Murdoch’s continues to feed red meat to  unquestioning American zealots and the Right-Wing Urban Myth Industry: Fox News “Doubling Down” On Deceptively Edited Comments

Fox News accused President Obama of “doubling down” on comments they helped characterize as “insulting” to business owners, but in doing so, Fox itself doubled down on its campaign to strip Obama’s statements out of context to further a political agenda.

Obama spoke at a campaign event and pointed out how benefits such as American infrastructure factor in the success of small businesses. Fox deceptively edited the president’s remarks to accuse him of telling small business owners that if they have a business, “you didn’t build that.”

This morning, Fox returned to the scandal they helped to manufacture, reporting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Obama’s comments “insulting” to business owners. Fox then turned its sights on another campaign event and accused President Obama of “doubling down.” Here’s the portion of the remarks that Fox chose to play as evidence:

OBAMA: We did not build this country on our own. We built it together. And if Mr. Romney doesn’t understand that, then he doesn’t understand what it takes to grow this economy in the 21st century for everybody.

But the only way these comments can be portrayed as doubling down on an insult to business owners is to completely strip them of context. In the portion of Obama’s speech that Fox chose to ignore, it’s clear that he  explicitly touted the “drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses” as crucial to “what makes us such a robust dynamic economy.” Here is what Obama actually said:

OBAMA: As I said, I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success.  And by the way, that’s why I’ve cut taxes on small businesses 18 times since I’ve been President.  (Applause.)  I believe the ability for somebody who is willing to work hard, and sweat and sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that’s what makes us such a robust, dynamic economy.  We prize that.

But I also believe that if you talk to any business owner — small or large — they’ll tell you what also helps them succeed alongside their hard work, their initiative, their great ideas, is the ability to hire workers with the right skills and the right education.

  What helps them succeed is the ability to ship and sell their products on new roads and bridges and ports and wireless networks.  What helps them succeed is having access to cutting-edge technology, which like the Internet often starts with publicly funded research and development.  (Applause.)  And what helps them succeed is a strong and growing middle class, so they’ve got a broader base of customers.

How can anyone tell the difference between Fox News, Mitt Romney and convicted criminal James O’Keefe. They all take video, edit it to make it say what they want to hear and distribute it as the conservative version of reality. This tells everyone about how intrinsically weak the conservative movement is. They cannot win based on the truth. They cannot win a straight up debate about public policy.

Romney and Obama Strain to Show Gap on Foreign Policy

In his latest broadside against the incumbent’s foreign policy, Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for the Arab uprisings last year, arguing that he could have headed them off by pressing the region’s autocrats to reform first.

“President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda,” Mr. Romney told the newspaper Israel Hayom, referring to President George W. Bush’s democracy policy, “and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history in a more peaceful manner.”

The critique was the latest attempt by the presumptive Republican candidate to undercut Mr. Obama’s handling of international affairs. But once the incendiary flourishes are stripped away, the actual foreign policy differences between the two seem more a matter of degree and tone than the articulation of a profound debate about the course of America in the world today.

If you believe Glenn Greenwald, not only is there no daylight between Obama and Bush 43, Obama is worse in terms of authoritarian national security policy. There may not be much daylight, but there is some. As the NYT notes candidates usually make lots of foreign policy promises but find that once in office their choices are limited. Romney actually thinks Russia is the number one security threat to the U.S. yet as the article also notes how big are the chances that Romney would screw up relations with Russia and screw up the Afghanistan/Russian supply route for American troops. Romney will follow the advice of the CIA and the Pentagon, just as Obama is doing as concerns the use of drones and special forces to kill terrorists. The differences are, as is usually the case with conservatives, going that extra mile in hubris. Thinking all problems cannot be solved with force, but much more force. I’m grateful for that little bit of daylight between conservative hawks and liberal hawks. The latter is at least marginally saner and it succeeds where conservative hubris fails.

I would say that all the liberal concern about the abuse of drone warfare is unfounded, but some of it is a little shrill. Lacking in facts, The Moral Case for Drones

But most critics of the Obama administration’s aggressive use of drones for targeted killing have focused on evidence that they are unintentionally killing innocent civilians. From the desolate tribal regions of Pakistan have come heartbreaking tales of families wiped out by mistake and of children as collateral damage in the campaign against Al Qaeda. And there are serious questions about whether American officials have understated civilian deaths.

So it may be a surprise to find that some moral philosophers, political scientists and weapons specialists believe armed, unmanned aircraft offer marked moral advantages over almost any other tool of warfare.

“I had ethical doubts and concerns when I started looking into this,” said Bradley J. Strawser, a former Air Force officer and an assistant professor of philosophy at the Naval Postgraduate School. But after a concentrated study of remotely piloted vehicles, he said, he concluded that using them to go after terrorists not only was ethically permissible but also might be ethically obligatory, because of their advantages in identifying targets and striking with precision.

“You have to start by asking, as for any military action, is the cause just?” Mr. Strawser said. But for extremists who are indeed plotting violence against innocents, he said, “all the evidence we have so far suggests that drones do better at both identifying the terrorist and avoiding collateral damage than anything else we have.”

[  ]…AVERY PLAW, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, put the C.I.A. drone record in Pakistan up against the ratio of combatant deaths to civilian deaths in other settings. Mr. Plaw considered four studies of drone deaths in Pakistan that estimated the proportion of civilian victims at 4 percent, 6 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent respectively.

But even the high-end count of 20 percent was considerably lower than the rate in other settings, he found. When the Pakistani Army went after militants in the tribal area on the ground, civilians were 46 percent of those killed. In Israel’s targeted killings of militants from Hamas and other groups, using a range of weapons from bombs to missile strikes, the collateral death rate was 41 percent, according to an Israeli human rights group.

In conventional military conflicts over the last two decades, he found that estimates of civilian deaths ranged from about 33 percent to more than 80 percent of all deaths.

Mr. Plaw acknowledged the limitations of such comparisons, which mix different kinds of warfare. But he concluded, “A fair-minded evaluation of the best data we have available suggests that the drone program compares favorably with similar operations and contemporary armed conflict more generally.”

Just something to think about.

 

Black and White Night Bridge wallpaper – A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan

Black and White Night Bridge wallpaper

Vintage Night View Bridge wallpaper

 

Romney’s Foreign Adventures: Off to a Smashing Start!

Mitt Romney’s trip abroad appears to be off to a smashing start. As a number of TPM Readers flagged to us last night Romney managed to insult his British hosts, knocking their management of the Summer Olympics in comparison to his run with the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

Talking to Brian Williams last night, Romney opined …

It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.

The scream headline in the Telegraph: “Mitt Romney questions whether Britain is ready for Olympic Games”

And who knew the British could be so mean, Romney in Shambles as Britain Proclaims Him Worse than Sarah Palin. Romney is trying to recover. Worse than Palin, that is pretty bad. Though what will never happen to Romney is the U.S. media asking if just maybe Romney is not that bright. Having been in Britain a few more hours, Romney decides, on second thought, they are ready for the Olympic Games. It might be tempting to just mark up Romney’s generally stumbling around was just supposed to be photo ops and smiles, as gaffes. First consider this recent news, Romney Bashes Stimulus, Then Fundraises In Home Of Stimulus Recipient. Like so many conservatives, especially wealthy conservatives, Romney suffers from an incurable case of narcissism. Pretty much his entire adult life has not just been one of privileged, but of people deferring to him because of his money and positions of authority. After living in that bubble, combined with the foil warped nature of the conservative mind – the mind that can never be wrong, admit error or accept new information – he is another Bush. An emperor with no clothes. When Willard Mitt Romney speaks it is not just words, it is writ from up high. Who are those who would criticize or disagree except the lowly peasants. This is a 65-year-old adult who when confronted with his hypocrisy or lies replies like a brat at an elite boarding school, Romney’s Top Six ‘I Know I Am But So Are You’ Moments.  

Romney and conservatives have decided that when President Obama speaks, he said what they say it said. That attitude takes a huge amount of mendacity, It’s a Weekday, So It’s Time for Another Misleading Edit of an Obama Quote. In this new misquote and highly edited speech, President Obama is saying his plan did not work. On reading that I would suggest that Obama or whoever is writing his stump speeches to keep it simple and direct. Now is not the time for rhetorical flourishes. They could have said this, New CBO Report Finds Hundreds of Thousands of People Still Owe Their Jobs to the Recovery Act. If the Bush tax cuts created jobs, they’re hiding some place. The conservative media has also decided that it is now offically part of the Big Conservative Book of Mythology that Obama said business ‘didn’t build that’. Still Pushing Its Discredited Take On Obama And Small Business

After More Than A Week, Fox Tried To Keep The Story Alive By Suggesting Obama Was “Doubling Down” On His “Insulting” Remarks. Fox & Friends used Obama’s comments that “we did not build this country on our own. We built it together” as a pretext to revive the “didn’t build that” smear. [Media Matters, 7/25/12]

[  ]….There’s no question Obama inartfully phrased those two sentences, but it’s clear from the context what the president was talking about. He spoke of government — including government-funded education, infrastructure and research — assisting businesses to make what he called “this unbelievable American system that we have.”

In summary, he said: “The point is … that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

I was thinking about doing a graphic that depicted the way Romney The Magnificent and his conservative minions think about business and achievement, it might more effective than text. I work though and time is limited. Part of my work is to make someone else successful. Most Americans work to make someone else successful. What if they came to you and said, I do not need you, your education, training or experience, I can do everything on my own and be just as successful. That would seem surreal. Yet that is a large part of the bizarre debate. Romney is saying that one’s success is totally, utterly, completely disconnected from others. We live in a complex modern society that takes a lot of interconnected pieces to make it work. A recent study showed that for every $1 the federal government invested in research it returned an average of $141. Wall Street brokers have dreams of returns like that. And as Obama has said,sure if you start a business and it becomes successful, you deserve lots of credit for that, but you did it in the environment of a country that provides that infrastructure and institutions that are connected to that success.  Like his remarks in the U.K. Romney does not care whether his business lie is true. His saying it makes it true by the sheer power of his ego. Thus his campaign will hardly blink at this, Romney camp features Tampa contractors whose businesses depend on government

The Romney campaign is using a snippet of the speech to suggest that Obama is instead saying that government is solely responsible for the success of private busines owners. That’s not so. Obama isn’t anywhere close to saying that. But in TV ads, that’s the point Romney is making.

[  ]…One problem with having Ramos and Smith, both registered Republicans, as speakers on this topic: they both said they didn’t see the entire Obama speech that they find so personally insulting. Ramos said he later read the complete trancript, but couldn’t remember from where he got it. Smith acknowledged she saw only news reports of the speech, either on NBC or FoxNews.

But the other, more puzzling problem the two have for this particular Romney message is that rather than wanting to get out of the way of big government, Smith and Ramos have embraced it and benefitted from it greatly. They just won’t admit it.

The A.D. Morgan Corporation employs 50 people and has annual revenues of about $80 million, according to its website. The company lists more than 130 projects and developments. Impressive, no doubt. But the list is nearly all government projects. (One of the few not to be: the Poynter Institute for Media Studies). From the Sumter County jail expansion, Woodlawn Elementary School, the library at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, interior sign at James Haley Veterans Hospital, the Plant City Courthouse, a Florida Department of Transportation weigh station, the projects that have made A.D. Morgan the success it is have been government, big and small, state and local.
Smith didn’t see that as a contradiction to her message that government didn’t help her.

…As for Ramos, his company’s Facebook page describes Value Enterprise Solutions as “providing value added service/education to businesses, local government, federal government, Department of Defense, and industry contract organizations.”

Of course these kool-aid drinkers do not see that government contract provide the bulk of their business. or put another way, they do not see that the tax payers of the U.S. provide them with a living. They might survive as businesses without government contracts, but they would be much, much smaller. No wonder Mitt is their hero, like him, they do not have the human decency, the humility to admit that what Obama said was true. Mel Gibson probably thinks he is a nice reasonable person. Rush Limbaugh probably really thinks people believe he should have been excused from the draft for having an anal cyst. Never underestimate the power of denial, especially in a Republican.

 

Jonathan Bernstein writes up the cycle of conservative destruction in a few short paragraphs, Of Course Romney Would Embrace Budget Deficits

Dana Millbank wasn’t born yesterday, but I have to say that this question is remarkably naive: “[W]hich one will Romney choose: defense spending or tax cuts?”

The obvious answer is: neither. A President Romney, with a Republican Congress, would almost certainly choose very large deficits rather than cut defense spending or raise taxes. After all, that’s been the policy of incoming Republican presidents beginning with Ronald Reagan, hasn’t it been? Eat dessert now in the form of enormous tax cuts and spending on GOP priorities, and then remember the overriding importance of the deficit later on, preferably when the Democrats take over.

That’s what Reagan did. That’s what George W. Bush did. The only exception was George H.W. Bush, who was a real deficit-cutter. And he wound up repudiating it when conservatives revolted.

Until the vast majority of the American public catches on this this con-game, conservatives will continue to abuse the nation. They are never really punished for what they do. They suffer for one election cycle. Start whining about getting back to their roots while engaging in the politics of hysteria and character assassination, and presto, they’re back to start the cycle over.

This is a headline from the far Right Weekly Standard, Romney: ‘Looking Forward to the Bust of Winston Churchill Being in the Oval Office Again‘.

At an event in London, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again.”

Mitt Romney at London fundraiser: “I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again.”

The bust belonged to the British. Why a bust of a foreign leader was or should be in the Oval Office is a mystery. One with which conservatives are obsessed. They are in denial about Churchill as well. He deserves some credit for his WW II governance, but FDR kept him from being buried in the rabble. The other thing that is perplexing is Churchill brought actual socialized medicine to England. Not the Obama-Democrats health care reform, but real socialized, Marxist style medicine,  Guess who helped launch socialized healthcare in the U.K.? The ultimate conservative icon — and he was proud of it

As a lifelong conservative with a strong dedication to enterprise and merit (and a host of less admirable right-wing prejudices), Churchill would have bristled at anyone who dared to describe him as a socialist. Why then did he promote and protect the NHS? Partly out of political expediency, no doubt, but also because he felt an ethical obligation that seems not to trouble the contemporary conservatives who profess to admire him.

 

“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Clouds and Sail wallpaper – Today Is A Special Day For Mitt Romney The Lazy Tax Dodging Liar

Clouds and Sail wallpaper

 

Some days in politics are just special. There is just more methane in the air or something, Romney Adviser: Obama Doesn’t Appreciate “Anglo-Saxon Heritage”

Just prior to Mitt Romney’s arrival in London, one of his advisers has revealed the shocking secret that President Obama is a black guy, telling the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph that Romney would have a better grasp of the relationship between Britain and the United States because, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”

The advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity because “Romney’s campaign requested that they not criticise the President to foreign media” and also because even the dimmest surrogate must be embarrassed at having said “the special relationship is special,” a tautology that is tautological.

Since the advisers never explain how Romney’s policy towards Britain would differ from Obama’s, most have interpreted this remark as a racist “dogge hwistle,” just a tad more subtle than a World Net Daily feature. But in an era when politicians are falling over themselves to warn about the dangers of Iran and China, it’s nice that someone has the courage to stand up to the Jutes and the Frisians. Wait till the Romney administration is done with you, smug Danes, with your pickled herring and low Gini coefficient. I’m also looking forward to domestic policy improvements, such as a decline in incarceration rates when weregild replaces imprisonment.

There is a formal historian’s definition of Anglo-Saxon and a definition that has a popular culture aspect. Neither definition does Romney much good, Anglo-Saxons

The term Anglo-Saxon is used by some historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Britain beginning in the early 5th century and the period from their creation of the English nation up to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon era denotes the period of English history between about 550 and 1066.

Then there is the disambiguation, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

The first definition of the term was provided by political scientist Andrew Hacker in 1957, although it was already used as common terminology among sociologists:

“They are ‘WASPs’—in the cocktail party jargon of the sociologists. That is, they are wealthy, they are Anglo-Saxon in origin, and they are Protestants (and disproportionately Episcopalian). To their Waspishness should be added the tendency to be located on the eastern seaboard or around San Francisco, to be prep school and Ivy League educated, and to be possessed of inherited wealth.”

The term was popularized by sociologist and University of Pennsylvania professor E. Digby Baltzell in his 1964 book The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America. Baltzell stressed the closed or caste-like characteristic of the group, arguing, “There is a crisis in American leadership in the middle of the twentieth century that is partly due, I think, to the declining authority of an establishment which is now based on an increasingly castelike White-Anglo Saxon-Protestant (WASP) upper class.

Besides the indigenous population of Native Americans, the USA is composed of African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos ( some people use the word Hispanics), Asians and assorted other groups. As that link notes Barack Obama’s mother is actually closer in blood relations to Anglo-Saxons than Romney since she was descended from Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Massachusetts. Yet some how Obama is always portrayed by conservatives as the other. Obama has an very strong resemblance to his white grandfather. Which I point out because it screws with the stereotyping some people do with race. Romney does have strong foreign policies credentials of a sort – he has bank accounts in at least two foreign countries to evade taxes. Which according To Fox News is UnAmerican. That is not all the specialness today. As if on cue,  Romney Bundler A Registered Foreign Agent For Hong Kong

Newly released lobbyist bundler disclosure records filed by the Mitt Romney campaign show that Tom Loeffler raised at least $17,500 in bundled contributions for the campaign over the first six months of 2012. Loeffler, a former Republican U.S. Representative from Texas and a lobbyist at Akin Gump represents a wide array domestic clients including USAA, NextgenID, and the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice. But a ThinkProgress review of Foreign Agent Registration Act reveals that Loeffler registered in February as a registered agent for a foreign government: the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

The agreement — signed by Loeffler — stipulated that, from February 13 through June 30, 2012, he would “protect, promote, assist and develop Hong King’s economic and trade interests in the United States of America” by working with Congress and the executive branch. In exchange, the HKTDC agreed to pay Akin Gum $35,775 per month. The Romney bundling all took place during the time Loeffler was under this initial contract, though it is unclear whether the contract was renewed at the end of June.

Loeffler has a long history of raising money for Republican presidential candidates. In 2008, Loeffler stepped down from his position as a national finance co-chair for John McCain’s campaign when Newsweek discovered that he had lobbied on behalf of Saudi Arabia. But Romney’s campaign has welcomed him back into the campaign fundraising fold.

Romney’s campaign, while being highly critical of China and the Obama administration’s approach to it, has organized campaign fundraising events in Hong Kong for U.S. citizens living there. He has also come under fire for apparently profiting from Bain investments in a company that provides surveillance cameras for the Chinese government to spy on its own citizens.

Loeffler is the second lobbyist bundler for the Romney campaign identified by ThinkProgress as a registered foreign agent: in January, the Romney campaign disclosed bundler Ignacio E. Sanchez — a registered foreign agent for both the United Arab Emirates and a birther presidential candidate in the Dominican Republic. Romney has not voluntarily disclosed the names of his campaign bundlers, but a 2007 law requires that federal candidates disclose the names of any registered lobbyists who bundle large amounts for their campaign.

By contrast, President Obama does not accept campaign contributions donated or bundled by federal lobbyists or foreign agents and has called for a ban on bundlers lobbying.

Normally the way this works is the kool-konservatives ignore any seedy or shadowy behavior by Republicans. Yet if they find a city Democratic councilman from Small Town, USA drinks Mexican beer the incident is pumped up to the status of national scandal. With Drudge, Breitbarf and Fox News echoing the story for days. The kool-konservatives have already rationalized the key points foreign agents _OK,  sales of surveillance equipment to oppressive countries – OK,  special interests money flowing through back channels – OK. A long way of noting that consistency as to what constitutes patriotic behavior is not only not the far Right’s strong point, but that rationalizing and extreme hypocrisy are the rule, not the occasional exception. These special moments bask in the racist glow of recent comments by Romney campaign co-chair John Sununu who said Obama didn’t understand the “American system” because he “spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia.” As I have mentioned before I come from a military family. Anyone one of them spent more of their lifetimes out of the USA than Barack Obama. Some of their kids went to “foreign” schools. So if this time of US soil is the new litmus tests there are probably quite a few vets and their families they could not make the conservative cut. Conservatives not just lazy about lying ( which I’ll get to) they are lazy about creating a coherent narrative about what they stand for. They seem to pull stuff out of wherever, warp it in the flag, drag God into it, and presto, conservative crap on a stick.

Jonathan Bernstein notes the lazy liar tendency of the Romney campaign, Mitt Romney: Lazy liar

Throughout the election cycle, liberals have been shocked at just how “shameless,” as Kevin Drum put it this week, Mitt Romney’s campaign has been. It’s not just that Romney lies; it’s the quality of the lies, the indifference to any fact-checking, the insistence on continuing to use a lie long after it’s been definitively debunked.

I have a name for it, and an explanation. Call it lazy mendacity.

First, some examples are in order. Perhaps the most famous one is the Republican insistence that Barack Obama rejected the idea of “American exceptionalism” in a press conference – an interpretation that depended on yanking a quotation out of context. Bad enough to do it, but years later it’s not at all unusual to come across examples of Republicans still trotting out this one.

The out-of-context quote is a fruitful source of lazy mendacity, as can be seen in the latest campaign flap: Mitt Romney’s eagerness to use a snippet of a Barack Obama speech last week against him. No, Obama didn’t mean to say that people who build businesses didn’t actually build them (in context, as Dave Weigel makes totally clear, “didn’t build that” is about roads and bridges). But it gets worse: A few days into the story, Republicans then produced a video to support their version of the quote by selectively clipping out the context. Just think about that: They couldn’t possibly have thought that no one would notice, given that lots of people had already been pointing out the selective quote. And yet they did it anyway.

Some of the first commenters note that this tendency is not laziness, but an inherent quality of the sleazy conservative agenda. Well, both things can be true. It is part of the agenda to lie incessantly. The lies do not have to be complex lazy lies – because, well just read the comments at sites like Breitbart, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit. The Republican trolls will settle for any lie that confirms their sick twisted view of reality. Romney’s lies, Bush’s lies, Bill O’Reilly’s lies, or whoever, the ceaseless disinformation campaign via TV, direct mail, AM radio, Murdoch’s newspapers…is like conservative crack. It doesn’t have to be good quality crack, it just has to be delivered regularly.

 

Yep there be commies everywhere, Wall Street Legend Sandy Weill: Break Up the Big Banks

“What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail,” Weill told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

He added: “If they want to hedge what they’re doing with their investments, let them do it in a way that’s going to be mark-to-market so they’re never going to be hit.”

He essentially called for the return of the Glass–Steagall Act, which imposed banking reforms that split banks from other financial institutions such as insurance companies.

“I’m suggesting that they be broken up so that the taxpayer will never be at risk, the depositors won’t be at risk, the leverage of the banks will be something reasonable, and the investment banks can do trading, they’re not subject to a Volker rule (the Volcker rule explained), they can make some mistakes, but they’ll have everything that clears with each other every single night so they can be mark-to-market,” Weill said.

While the chances are slim, if there is a Democratic majority in Congress in 2014, a Democrat will at least propose a new Glass–Steagall Act.

 

 

New Obama Video Pushes Back On Romney’s ‘You Didn’t Build that’ Lie

 

July marks the anniversary of Wiley Post’s 1933 solo flight around the world. This link celebrates the July 22, 2010, marks the 77th anniversary, but the write-up is still good and the anniversary is still July.

July 22, 2010, marks the 77th anniversary of Wiley Post’s 1933 solo flight around the world in the Lockheed 5C Vega Winnie Mae. This record-breaking flight demonstrated several significant aviation technologies. It used two relatively new aeronautical devices—an autopilot and a radio direction finder. The autopilot corrected for errors in aeronautical bearing, keeping the aircraft on course. The radio direction finder helped Post navigate the aircraft toward specific radio transmitters along the route.

Lockheed 5C Vega Winnie Mae at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Post was good friends with the great American humorist Will Rogers. They does in the same plane crash in 1935. The Winnie Mae (pictured) was purchased from Post’s widow for $25,000. The United States Congress authorized the purchase on August 24, 1935, just nine days after Post’s death in Alaska. This video is worth a look if you can spare a few minutes: Wiley Post and Harold Gatty with Winnie Mae (Airplane) in 1931 and 1933

Fantasy Summer wallpaper – Three Big Lies Perpetuated by the Plutocrats and Their Congressional Republican Minions

pool, Pacific Ocean, Maldive Islands

Fantasy Summer wallpaper

Three Big Lies Perpetuated by the Plutocrats and Their Congressional Republican Minions

1. Higher taxes on the rich will hurt small businesses and discourage job creators

A recent Treasury analysis found that only 2.5% of small businesses would face higher taxes from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

As for job creation, it’s not coming from the people with money. Over 90% of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), the stock market, real estate, and personal business accounts. Angel investing (capital provided by affluent individuals for business start-ups) accounted for less than 1% of the investable assets of high net worth individuals in North America in 2011. The Mendelsohn Affluent Survey agreed that the very rich spend less than two percent of their money on new business startups.

The Wall Street Journal noted, in way of confirmation, that the extra wealth created by the Bush tax cuts led to the “worst track record for jobs in recorded history.”

Covered here and in various places before. Taxes will be low enough for conservatives when people starve rather than get food assistance. When grandma dies instead of getting Medicare. When millions of Americans die because conservatives have repealed health care reform (the ACA, New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage). Taxes will be low enough when the federal government cannot stop mining companies from putting 12 year olds back to work in mines. Taxes will be low enough when the gov’mint cannot stop the Koch brothers from poisoning your family. When cannot really say these things. These basic truths because gosh they sound so mean. What political movement would stand for such things. The broadcast media certainly is not going to call out Republicans on the substance of their agenda. Matt Lauer for example, seems like a nice guy and that is the problem, he and every other “news” host in the morning is more worried about being popular and getting ratings than calling a radical agenda, a radical agenda. This is an example of what happens when conservatives paint a target on your back, Thanks to Michele Bachmann(R-Minn.) Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin Gets Extra Police Protection. I’ve heard that HBO’s The Newsroom has its fans and critics, but imagine that kind of reporting on the morning infotainment shows or what is euphemistically called the evening news. Instead we have the watered down tripe of conservative bedwetter’s dreams. An ignorant citizenry is a good citizenry as far as Republicans are concerned.

2. Individual initiative is all you need for success.

President Obama was criticized for a speech which included these words: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own…when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

‘Together’ is the word that winner-take-all conservatives seem to forget. Even the richest and arguably most successful American, Bill Gates, owes most of his good fortune to the thousands of software and hardware designers who shaped the technological industry over a half-century or more. A careful analysis of his rise shows that he had luck, networking skills, and a timely sense of opportunism, even to the point of taking the work of competitors and adapting it as his own.

Of course one has to have some initiative to start a business, but no one has ever done so without the kind of modern civilization made possible by the wealthy paying their share of the burden. A Fox news host recently made the argument, wow, the rich pay forty percent of the taxes. So what. They should be paying more. A millionaire whose income comes mostly from capital gains has a tax rate of 15%. That is lower than a Wisconsin teacher who makes $40k a year. There is a third myth, but let me insert this poll first, The Hill Poll: Majority of voters blame president for bad economy

Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.

It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

[  ]…While voters feel Obama carries a greater portion of the blame than others, the poll found almost 6-in-10 are unhappy with the actions of Republicans in Congress who have challenged the president on an array of policy initiatives.

Fifty-seven percent of voters said congressional Republicans have impeded the recovery with their policies, and only 30 percent overall believe the GOP has done the right things to boost the economy. ( Obama also has more confidence among independents, bad news for Mittens)

The thing is that Wall Street, corporate America, the bankers are enjoying a full economic recovery. The jobs just are not there and Republicans in the House, where they have a majority will not vote for an job creation bills – they have voted to repeal the ACA 33 times. Even though Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate, Republicans threaten to filibuster everything so again, no jobs bills – there is a very slim chance of Democrats in the Senate getting a super majority of 60, thus killing the parliamentary obstruction of Republicans.

3. A booming stock market is good for all of us

The news reports would have us believe that happy days are here again when the stock market goes up. But as the market rises, most Americans are getting a smaller slice of the pie.

In a recent Newsweek article, author Daniel Gross gushed that “The stock market has doubled since March 2009, while corporate profits and exports have surged to records.”

But the richest 10% of Americans own over 80% of the stock market. What Mr. Gross referred to as the “democratization of the stock market” is actually, as demonstrated by economist Edward Wolff, a distribution of financial wealth among just the richest 5% of Americans, those earning an average of $500,000 per year.

Think of the US economy as a value producing machine. Labor goes in and capital comes out. When the plutocrats divide up that capital they’re trickling down on the American labor force, and conservatives like it that way. I did a recent post on the subject of who were the real capitalists, but this one has a lot more statistics and charts, Democrats Crush Republicans as Capitalists in the White House

From the internet rag known non-ironically, as Hot Air (Michelle Malkin and her posse), Flashback: Obama praised welfare work requirements his administration just gutted. posted at 4:01 pm on July 20, 2012 by Rob Bluey

During his run for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama praised the work requirements that were the centerpiece of welfare reform — the very requirements his administration just gutted last week.

[  ]…Obama’s administration last Thursday gutted the work requirements that were part of reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 1996. The welfare reform law became a signature accomplishment for President Bill Clinton and the Republican-led Congress.

Bob is too lazy to do his research or he is lying. Anyway it good that they bring up the subject at all. It is an embarrassment  to the internet trolls and Fox News who spread the urban myth about federal giveaways where people can live in luxury at government expense. TANF has a forty hour work week requirement. You can only collect it for a total of five years out of your entire lifetime. You literally cannot own anything to get it. If you still live in a house and drive a twenty year old beater, you’re most likely disqualified. Another factoid that ruins this Obama is giving free tax payer stuff away narrative is that the changes in TANF are good for the states, business, the unemployed and even right-wing hero Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi likes it, Stimulus Jobs on State’s Bill in Mississippi

“I applied for everything, found nothing,” said Ms. Bolton, 37.

That finally changed when the two were hired by a paper-napkin factory here last month, placing them in the vanguard of a new approach that Mississippi and a growing number of states are taking to get people working again. Their salaries will initially be paid by the State of Mississippi, which is tapping into a relatively small pot of welfare money in last year’s stimulus package that can be used to subsidize jobs directly.

Now they are being trained on the machines here at the Hattiesburg Paper Company, learning to turn mammoth rolls of paper into folded dinner napkins and toilet paper. The general manager, Steve Swiggum, said the state’s offer to subsidize the salaries helped push the company to accelerate its hiring.

[  ]…If the idea of subsidized jobs is seen as liberal in some circles, it seems to have bipartisan appeal at the state level. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, one of the nation’s most prominent Republicans, said he saw the state’s program as being in the spirit of the welfare overhaul.

“It’s welfare to work,” he said.

The state can spend up to $43 million on the program, which officials estimate could create as many as 3,500 jobs — the equivalent of several factory openings, but only a small dent in the problem for a state that had 133,000 unemployed residents in December. Only a few dozen workers have been hired since the program began last month after receiving federal approval.

Mississippi’s decision to pay for jobs in the private sector means that the public is paying to create jobs that will provide little public benefit. But Mr. Barbour said he believed it to be the best way to improve the economy.

The last program similar to this one was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon, ended during the Reagan administration.  That one did go on for too long and became abused toward the end, but it did put people to work. Again, the amount of money involved is a drop in the bucket compared to the subsidies, tax breaks and giveaways to big business.

Preview: Chris Hedges on Capitalism’s ‘Sacrifice Zones’

BILL MOYERS: Fit this all together for me. What does the suffering of the Native American on the Pine Ridge Reservation have to do with the unemployed coal miner in West Virginia have to do with the inner-city African-American in Camden have to do with the single man working for m– minimum wage or less in Immokalee, Florida? What ties that all together?

CHRIS HEDGES: Greed. It’s greed over human life. And it’s the willingness on the part of people who seek personal enrichment to destroy other human beings. That’s a common thread. And I think when you use the word “complicit,” it’s true. We — in that biblical term — we forgot our neighbor. And because we forgot our neighbor in Pine Ridge, because we forgot our neighbor in Camden, in Southern West Virginia, in the produce fields, these forces have now turned on us. They went first, and we’re next.

Canal Street, New Orleans,1890s – The Moral Corruption of Conservative Republicans Seems To Have No Limits

Canal Street from the Clay Monument, New Orleans, 1890s

The street cars towards the center back were pulled by mule as the city was not yet capable
of supporting electric street cars. Electrification would occur around 1894. The long dark dresses of the women on the street must have been a challenge by way of keeping up appearances. While they’re difficult to see in the thumb-nail, there are plenty of road apples in the street. And can you imagine how the women and men – with long sleeve shirts, vests and jacket felt in the summer heat of New Orleans.

I bookmarked this and forgot about it. Since Romney and his apologists keep trying to paint a picture of Romney as a “successful” “capitalist” it is still current, Mitt Romney Is A Capitalist The Way A Bank Robber Is A Champion Of The Free Market

The phrase “private equity” conjures up images of venture capitalists pooling their funds and backing promising new ventures or contributing new equity and new management to companies in need of restructuring. But that is not how the game really works most of the time. Typically, private-equity companies borrow a ton of money, sometimes in collusion with incumbent management and sometimes in opposition to it, and take a company private. That is, the company’s shares are no longer publicly traded.

This maneuver has several advantages to the new owners. First, despite the picture of investors putting in equity, most of the money is usually borrowed. That produces a huge tax break, since the interest is tax-deductible. Second, the new owners can pay themselves large management fees as well as “special dividends.” Typically, they take out far more than they put in, by incurring debts carried on the books of the operating company.

For instance, when Bain masterminded a private-equity deal for HCA, one of America’s largest for-profit hospital chains (which has gone from private to public twice and which paid a multibillion-dollar fine for defrauding Medicare), Bain paid itself a management fee of $58 million, even though it had only put up 6.3 percent of the buyout fund.

Many Americans, I hope still a majority, think of capitalism as working hard and getting ahead based on merit. In the real world of the American workplace there are inequities – office poetics, favoritism and various forms of discrimination. Even with that in mind most of us like to think that it is a fair system that at most, could use a few tweaks. Romney and Bain always had part of their ventures underwritten by the American people. Romney, Fox News and various assclowns want us all to believe that people like Romney create profits solely through their own ingenuity, their own hard work without the help of anyone else. Based on the tax incentives and write-offs alone that is far from an accurate picture. Romney and the rest of the elite take risks? Putting up 6.3 % of the money, most of that borrowed is hardly the risk the average family takes when it makes a decision about what job to take or whether to move to another state to seek another job.

Then, there are three possible ways to cash in.  If the company turns out to be a success, like Staples (one of Bain’s big winners), the private-equity owners can take their legitimate share of the reward. But that turns out to be the exception. If the company, newly loaded up with debt, starts to falter, it can be broken up, with massive layoffs and cuts in health and pension benefits, and resold, usually at a profit for the private-equity owners.

Or the company can simply declare bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and shed its debts. Normally, shareholders think twice about incurring risks that could result in  bankruptcy, because one of the consequences is that the stock becomes worthless. But private-equity owners typically have already made their bundle on management fees and special dividend payouts, so even if the operating company goes bankrupt, they are still in the money.

Mitt Romney captain of capitalism or wealthy exploiter of the system. Fox News and columnists at the WSJ have taken to calling Romney and the top 1% producers and everyone else, takers. A more accurate picture would be weaselly con artists at the top make tons of unearned wealth, while the rest of America works for every penny.

Among the tales Kosman tells: Thomas H. Lee Partners buys Warner Music, the world’s fourth-biggest music company, and loads up the company with debt to finance the buyout and to pay itself $1.2 billion in dividends. One-third of the workforce is fired. CD&R, The Carlyle Group, and Merrill Lynch buy Hertz, the nation’s largest auto-rental company, putting up just $2.3 billion in cash out of a $15 billion deal. The private-equity owners quickly recoup more than half of their down payment by loading up the company with even more debt. Funds for rental operations are cut by 39 percent, and Hertz’s market share falls. In another example, Bain Capital, the company that made Mitt Romney rich, invests just $18.5 million in KB Toys, extracts $85 million in dividends, then takes the company into bankruptcy, stiffing employees, investors, and creditors.

Romney flunkies can jump up and down throwing a temper tantrum, yelling this is legal all day. That does not mean it is moral or reflects well on the character of someone who claims his character and job creation record are two of his biggest qualifications for president.

Speaking of character issues. There may have been a tendency for moderate minded Americans to think that Bush 43 and his Congressional pushed such a radical right-wing agenda that our fellow citizens would say never again. Yet the tea smokers ran to the right of Bush in 2010 and took control of the House of Representatives. I don’t know what the internet trolls, who insist there is no daylight between Democrats and Republicans, smoke but they need to stop. The conservative movement’s moral corruption seems to be bottomless. Romney To Release Misleadingly Edited Obama Video As An Ad, this link goes into better detail, CNN Facilitates Romney’s Deceptive Highly Edited Video Attack Ad Against Obama

In a July 19 article headlined, “Romney drives a truck through Obama’s ‘build that’ remark,” CNN.com reported on a new ad from the Mitt Romney campaign that attacked President Obama over his recent remarks about small businesses, without pointing out that the ad dishonestly edited Obama’s comments to portray him as anti-business.

Furthermore, here’s the way CNN described the Romney ad: ” ‘These Hands’ [is] about an owner in charge of a family business who challenges Obama’s claim that his family did not build their business on their own.” Again, CNN did not inform readers that Obama made no such claim in his remarks.

In the Romney campaign ad, Obama is heard saying:

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be ’cause I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something: If you’ve got a business, that — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted, however, a big chunk of Obama’s words was removed from that excerpt, making it seem as if Obama said what he said there concurrently:

In the video, the speech is made to sound as if Obama continued straight from “let me tell you something” to “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” But here are the words that Obama said between those two sentences that were cut out (the missing sentences are in bold):

Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.

CNN reported none of this, instead sticking to the he said/she said style of journalism that has been so thoroughly criticized.

As others have noted this is Obama’s version of Elizabeth Warren’s view that fine, you built a business, you deserve credit and a nice chuck of the profits, but you did not create that business in a vacuum. A lot of infrastructure – fire protection, the navy, public universities, educated employes, sometimes tax write-offs, etc. were an ingredient to your success. As a matter of fact several host at Fox News used Elizabeth Warren’s argument and Obama’s, Fox Hosts Adopt Elizabeth Warren’s Argument That Rich Don’t Make It On Their Own

During a segment on wealthy Americans who renounce their citizenship to avoid paying taxes, Clayton Morris offered up this advice to such persons: “Get out of here. But the point is, you’ve made all this money on the backs of the infrastructure, taxpayers that got you there, the roads that taxpayers pay so you can drive back and forth to work to get rich on a regular basis, and now you’re going to leave so you’re not going to pay taxes.”

Alisyn Camerota added, “[A]re they just greedy? I mean, are they just — after this country allowed you the entrepreneurial spirit, the freedom to make all this money, now you’re going to leave it? I mean, that does send the message that you care more about your money than you do about your country.”

If anyone else uses Clayton or Alisyn’s argument, you’re left-wing radical out to destroy America’s entrepreneurial spirit or a raging Marxist. Yet we know that most Americans work harder for 99% less money than Romney. When Romney runs this ad, I think it has started in some markets, it will be further confirmation that Romney can surpass George W. Bush and the tea smokers in the race to the bottom of the moral gutter. If what these pin-striped thieves, stooges, miscreants, charlatans, and two-faced parasites stand for passes for morality and patriotism, this country is in for a world of hurt. They may even manage to make the Great Recession look like the good old days.

Top tea partier demands Obama prove he doesn’t smoke crack and have gay sex

The president of Tea Party Nation declared on Thursday that if Mitt Romney is to release his tax returns, President Barack Obama should release medical records to prove he’s not a drug addict who smoked crack and had gay sex with a lifelong con-man.

Judson Phillips, whose for-profit group is better known to Tennessee as the “Tea Party Nation Corporation,” explained in an essay that also went out in a mass email to his followers that the American people must know whether the president had secret financial support in college due to his status as a “foreign student” — and dredged up a long-disproved story of Obama’s alleged encounter smoking crack and having sex with a gay prostitute.

“A man named Larry Sinclair claims that in 1999 he and Barack Obama had sex and then smoked crack cocaine,” Phillips wrote. “This is 1999, nine years before Obama would run for President. Crack cocaine is very addictive. It is very destructive. Addiction specialist will tell you that a crack addiction is very tough to break.”

He added: “Is Obama an addict?  Was he an addict in the past? These are all legitimate questions to ask about a man who has his hands on the nuclear trigger.

Dear Judson Phillips, as soon as you prove you do not have sex with animals in ally ways while drinking moonshine and shooting up heroin – which are rumors that deserve to be properly vetted, your concerns will be addressed. Isn’t this a fun game. Everyone gets to dig into the darkest part of their imagination, accuse others of being guilty of what you have imagined, and they are guilty until they can prove they’re innocent. Or maybe it is a sick tiresome game indicative of the depraved minds of fake patriots like Phillips, who has more in common with Muslim conservatives in Iran than Thomas Jefferson.

Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Aurora Shootings Result Of ‘Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs’. Which is kind of strange in light of this,James Holmes: From Quiet Kid To Accused Mass Killer, “His neighbors described him as a shy, Presbyterian churchgoing teen.” Let’s think like a conservative for a minute and draw the kind of cause and effect lines between events that Republicans draw. That means Presbyterians are a cult of murderers. Republicans do not do this once in a while – which would fall into the category of human flaws, they’re called attrition errors – Republicans  do them all the time about everything. Whooping cough disappear? Must have been because I buried that potato in the back yard under full moon. Not because the cough had run its course. And conservatives resent being called stupid.

 

 

Blue Flame wallpaper – The Republican Agenda Is Not An American Agenda

Blue Flame wallpaper

It is hard to ignore these seemingly daily polls, Economic Fears Hurting Obama, Poll Indicates

The new poll shows that the race remains essentially tied, notwithstanding all of the Washington chatter suggesting that Mr. Romney’s campaign has seemed off-kilter amid attacks on his tenure at Bain Capital and his unwillingness to release more of his tax returns. Forty-five percent say they would vote for Mr. Romney if the election were held now and 43 percent say they would vote for Mr. Obama.

When undecided voters who lean toward a particular candidate are included, Mr. Romney has 47 percent to Mr. Obama’s 46 percent.

Both results are within the poll’s margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Instead of trying to ignore them, the media always seems to win this portrayal of elections as horse races narrative, activists should do what they can to sway potential voters. Going by some metrics concerning the issues, President Obama retains a slight lead. The hard-core partisans on both sides made up their minds long ago. It is now a matter of getting the fence sitters  to take an interest and get swing to realize that Romney is Bush 3.0. The last is an ongoing conundrum of politics. Every time Republicans get power – see Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey governorship taken in 2010 – they go for the most radical goals of the right-wing agenda. Reagan was such an awful president – Iran-Contra, previous record for worse recession, working class Americans lost ground or stayed even, multiple scandals, sending troops to Beirut with no clear mission – yet voters quickly forgot and elected Bush 43, who made Reagan look like a liberal. Romney’s economic plan is the Ryan budget plan. One that continues the conservative movement’s determination to make seniors, the disabled, the working poor and the middle-class pay for the lack of revenue caused by the Bush tax cuts and the recession caused by Wall Street. Obviously Democratic bloggers are well aware of the history and causes of when, how and why we got to where we are. Most voters look at their income and their bills, than wonder who will make things better. Much of the issues bloggers on both sides blog about everyday is just so much noise. There have been some research papers done on that, but for practical purposes let’s just say its a fact of life. That is not to say it is not frustrating since most Americans when polled on individual issues, lean left of center. The far Right noise machine should not be underestimated. Their bile and craziness should be confronted, but that they create so much noise day in and day out is, in a weird way, cause for optimism. If we had those mythical civil discussions about public policy issues – no hyperbole from the fire breathers on the radical Right – the center left would win the war of ideas. Those ideas and ideals frequently get lost in the noise. That is the reason the conservative movement must have its noise machine. If nothing else to get a lot of decent hard-working people to throw up their hands in frustration – the I don’t know who to believe or both sides go too far crowd.

Back during the Clinton era up through the Bush administration, a staple of the noise machine was the conservative cultural critique. Some group – liberals, feminists, gays, Muslims ( after 9-11), Hollywood, Sponge Bob Square Pants ( that’s not a joke, they really thought Sponge Bob was undermining the nation’s values) was going to destroy the USA. Cultures can be undermined by embracing abhorrent values, it just happens that the right’s target for demonization were hardly a threat and more about directing attention away from Republican’s own abhorrent values. One of which is the kind of corrupt business culture of America. Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals? Scandals Reflect Failure of Business Education

The recent scandals at Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks might give the impression that the financial sector has some serious morality problems. Unfortunately, it’s worse than that: We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.

…Oddly, most economists see their subject as divorced from morality. They liken themselves to physicists, who teach how atoms do behave, not how they should behave. But physicists do not teach to atoms, and atoms do not have free will. If they did, physicists would and should be concerned about how the atoms being instructed could change their behavior and affect the universe. Experimental evidence suggests that the teaching of economics does have an effect on students’ behavior: It makes them more selfish and less concerned about the common good. This is not intentional. Most teachers are not aware of what they are doing.

My colleague Gary Becker pioneered the economic study of crime. Employing a basic utilitarian approach, he compared the benefits of a crime with the expected cost of punishment (that is, the cost of punishment times the probability of receiving that punishment). While very insightful, Becker’s model, which had no intention of telling people how they should behave, had some unintended consequences. A former student of Becker’s told me that he found many of his classmates to be remarkably amoral, a fact he took as a sign that they interpreted Becker’s descriptive model of crime as prescriptive. They perceived any failure to commit a high-benefit crime with a low expected cost as a failure to act rationally, almost a proof of stupidity. The student’s experience is consistent with the experimental findings I mentioned above.

Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers, JP Morgan etc all deeply corrupt – if not legally, certainly morally. When NYT conservative columnist David Brooks recently wrote about Romney that if he can sell America his vision of what capitalism is, he’ll be fine with voters. What is Brooks, Romney and the big banks trying to sell – that exploiting the system is good, rewarding wealth and punishing work is wholesome, that greed is an American value, that turning the entire economy into one big Ponzi scheme where only the top 10% reap the rewards is the new morality. The movement that is under the deep delusion it has corned the market on morality is the same movement that has made America a more corrupt, devious, coarse, dog-eat -dog nation.

I’m just going to post the first one because it is the one that conservatives like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – a big spender from 2000 to 2008, like to use as a cynical dishonest whip, Four Spending Myths That Could Wreck Our World

Spending Myth 1:  Today’s deficits have taken us to a historically unprecedented, economically catastrophic place.

This myth has had the effect of binding the hands of elected officials and policymakers at every level of government.  It has also emboldened those who claim that we must cut government spending as quickly, as radically, as deeply as possible.

In fact, we’ve been here before.  In 2009, the federal budget deficit was a whopping 10.1% of the American economy and back in 1943, in the midst of World War II, it was three times that — 30.3%. This fiscal year the deficit will total around 7.6%. Yes, that is big. But in the Congressional Budget Office’s grimmest projections, that figure will fall to 6.3% next year, and 5.8% in fiscal 2014. In 1983, under President Reagan, the deficit hit 6% of the economy, and by 1998, that had turned into a surplus. So, while projected deficits remain large, they’re neither historically unprecedented, nor insurmountable.

More important still, the size of the deficit is no sign that lawmakers should make immediate deep cuts in spending. In fact, history tells us that such reductions are guaranteed to harm, if not cripple, an economy still teetering at the edge of recession.

A number of leading economists are now busy explaining why the deficit this year actually ought to be a lot larger, not smaller; why there should be more government spending, including aid to state and local governments, which would create new jobs and prevent layoffs in areas like education and law enforcement. Such efforts, working in tandem with slow but positive job growth in the private sector, might indeed mean genuine recovery. Government budget cuts, on the other hand, offset private-sector gains with the huge and depressing effect of public-sector layoffs, and have damaging ripple effects on the rest of the economy as well.

There are many ways to tell when you’re dealing with mindless zealots and this is one – How Public Sector Layoffs Killed 750,000 Private Sector Jobs. Republicans are guided by two things – their hatred for Obama and loyalty to the conservative agenda over loyalty to the best interests of the country. And just recently, Conservative Republicans Rail Against Administration’s Action on Helping the Unemployed

To help states more effectively provide support to individuals while they seek employment, the Obama administration is allowing state officials to seek waivers of some requirements of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

But The New York Times reports the administration’s move has stirred consternation among some conservative lawmakers. In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), complained that Congress did not intend for states to be provided “waivers of TANF work requirements.”

In a July 12 statement, HHS Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon says the Social Security Act provides the department the “authority to grant states waivers of certain TANF provisions for the purpose of testing new approaches to meeting the goals of the TANF statute. The Secretary is interested in using her authority to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.”

The Times, however, notes that conservative lobbying groups, which have fought to eliminate a social safety net, primarily by supporting economic policy that starves government of revenue by slashing taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, are decrying the administration’s move as detrimental to a program that has allegedly “lifted millions out of poverty.”

Such a claim is as bizarre as it is laughable.

The number of people now in poverty is larger than at any time since the Great Depression. As many economists have noted the nation’s middle class is shrinking, poverty is growing, and the only people who are faring better are the superrich.

As Columbia Business School Professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote last year, all of the nation’s economic growth “in recent decades – and more – has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George used to deride Among our closest counterparts are Russia with it oligarchs and Iran.”

Jared Bernstein provides some details about how the TANF changes will help people get jobs and provide businesses incentives for hiring. So no wonder do nothing career Machiavellians like Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are screaming like someone stole their last can of caviar.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) Points To Huma Abedin As Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrator. Bachmann may need an exorcism, she seems possessed by the ghost of Joe McCarthy. Huma Abedin is married to former Congressman, Jew and staunch supporter of Israel, Anthony Weiner. Though the Bachmann apologist brigade has an answer for that as well,

But if you recall, the sharia-paranoiacs have an answer for that, too. (It involves the wild notion that Muslim infiltrators positioned Abedin into her marriage to Weiner, or that Weiner himself is a secret Muslim, depending on the direction the wind is blowing that day.)

At any rate, if the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to infiltrate Congress, why wouldn’t they do it the way everyone else does — cut huge campaign checks and get their lobbyists to offer legislators lavish rewards for writing legislation?

FOX News whose parent company, the Rupert Murdoch controlled News Corporation, has as its second largest shareholder Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Yet somehow Bachmann’s freaky fantasies do not lead her to point any fingers at Fox. Funny how that works.

Conservative Republican Journalist and Pervert James O’Keefe Fails To Find A Scandal, Union And Public Works Edition

The raw footage also debunks O’Keefe’s claim that the video shows “the willingness of public officials and lawmakers to secure funding for projects just like [ESR’s].” Actually, the men question aloud how the company has ever managed to receive public funds before. About halfway through the video, Anthony Tocci says: “When you do these grants, the fellows you have writing them up, you know, in the past — like Ronnie said, what do they put in there, outside of this? They must fluff it up, so to speak.”

As the faux-ESR workers press the union men for information on getting public funding, they emphasize that grant projects need to have a purpose; Ron Tocci says that federal support wouldn’t be guaranteed, but would “be based on how good the grant is.”

So, the raw footage of O’Keefe’s supposed shock video shows nothing more than three men kindly trying to explain to two youngsters that they can’t run a business just by digging holes and filling them with dirt, and that the government won’t pay them to do that either. The only thing these men are guilty of, if anything, is being too polite to the O’Keefe actors.

The Breitbarf legacy continues.

Presto! The DISCLOSE Act Disappears

Ask any magician and they’ll tell you that the secret to a successful magic trick is misdirection — distracting the crowd so they don’t realize how they’re being fooled. Get them watching your left hand while your right hand palms the silver dollar: “Now you see it, now you don’t.” The purloined coin now belongs to the magician.

Just like democracy. Once upon a time conservatives supported the full disclosure of campaign contributors. Now they oppose it with their might — and magic, especially when it comes to unlimited cash from corporations. My goodness, they say, with a semantic wave of the wand, what’s the big deal?: nary a single Fortune 500 company had given a dime to the super PACs. (Even that’s not entirely true, by the way.)

Meanwhile the other hand is poking around for loopholes, stuffing millions of secret corporate dollars into non-profit, tax-exempt organizations called 501(c)s that funnel the money into advertising on behalf of candidates or causes. Legally, in part because the Federal Election Commission does not consider them political committees, they can keep it all nice and anonymous, never revealing who’s really behind the donations or the political ads they buy. This is especially handy for corporations — why risk offending customers by revealing your politics or letting them know how much you’re willing to shell out for a permanent piece of an obliging politician?

That’s why passing a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act is so important and that’s why on Monday, Republicans in the Senate killed it. Again.

Why? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Perhaps Republicans want to shield the handful of billionaires willing to contribute nine figures to sway a close presidential election.” The election, he said, may be bought by “17 angry, old, white men.”