RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2012

We’ve Got Some Decisions To Make

Big money men are always going to assholes.  You can’t reason with them because they aren’t capable of reason where wealth and power are concerned.  You can’t barter with them because you don’t have anything they want except everything you’ve got and as long as the government is on their side they can just take that anytime. Last, you can’t appeal to their conscience because if they had one they would never have made it to where they are today.  These are after all, the people who go to our finest business schools where lying and cheating are accepted as a normal part of the MBA programs because these people honestly believe that’s what you have to do to succeed in real life.

They have one goal and one goal only… to either own or control everything in this country worth owning or controlling by simply taking anything and everything they can get their hooks into.  They fear no consequences for their actions because in bailing them out we showed them there were never going to be any. In the process of paying the vandals who sacked our country, we wound up with nothing and they… just incidentally I’m sure…  wound up with it all.  We also set a fricking precedent that told them that no matter how far into the primordial ooze they decided to sink, our government would always be there to pull their rancid asses out with our money.

You can’t shame the bastards because they don’t give a rat’s ass what you and the other 300 million serfs think of them.  As long as you acknowledge that they’re richer and therefore far more powerful than you by handing  over the loot they’re as happy as a pig in mud.  In short, assholes are always going to be assholes until we take control back there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Anybody… not blinded by frenzy over the fact that the guy in the White House is black… can look at the history of the last 12 years and know exactly why we’re in the mess we’re in.  I don’t give a good goddamn if you’re Democrat or Republican, Progressive or Conservative, Liberal or Facist… We’re all in this fricking boat.

If you’re too damned stupid to realize that Wall Street is the problem and not any part of any cure and that the agenda of the people and corporations we have come to collectively call “Wall Street” is to BE a fricking problem until they’ve sucked up every iota of wealth in this country solely for the bragging rights over the rest of their malodorous ilk, then YOU are a major part of the problem yourself.  Hell, for the past six months one of them has been running for president, spending months as the darling of what’s left of the MSM and explaining the whole “on my watch the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer” thing to us, and half the fricking country still doesn’t get it.

While the Republicans will always be the main purveyors of water for the financial sector, not all that few Democrats are hopping on that “you scratch my back, I’ll kiss your ass” bandwagon too and if the rest of us don’t wake the hell up and start kicking some goddamned political asses, Fascism in America will be a done deal while half of us are still sprawled in our LazyBoys sucking up a Bud or six and watching the big game or the big race or whatever the big assed spectacle happens to be on the day the fricking epiphany hits.

We talked about income inequality in the last post.  It’s something people tend to talk about for a couple of days when someone releases the results of  a new study or a new poll or survey indicates that the rich just got a shitload richer and that once again it was at at expense of the not rich.  Then we’re back to endless fricking analysis of  why Romney lost his ass or why the people voted for Obama.  I’ll tell you once and for all why I voted for President Obama and why it was so important to me that he be reelected.

I voted for him because of the two, he was the one who was NOT looking me straight in the eye and telling me that the only thing I could expect from him was a doubling down on everything that’s wrong with this country.  Romney’s whole fricking platform consisted of:  “Yes you’ve been boned, are still being boned and if you elect me I’ll see that you’re double or triple boned from now on,”.

Mr. Obama had enough respect for me… or at least my vote… to tell me a few things he knew I needed to hear.  Whether the president will deliver on any of it remains to be seen but for now he has the benefit of the doubt. As long as he doesn’t start that sorry assed “reach out to the Republicans” routine and especially doesn’t start putting things “on the table” that shouldn’t be there before the talking has even started, I’ll remain one of his most ardent supporters.

I don’t expect miracles especially when it’s a given that the entire Tea Party rank and file couldn’t collectively come up with enough working brain cells to make a single normal brain between ’em and that Mitt Romney losing to a black man with nearly 8% unemployment hasn’t taught their little bunker mentality asses anything. I’ll be happy if we can just preserve what we’ve got for now and hopefully make a start toward getting the situation under control.  We do that by dropping the labels and simply looking at the situation itself in terms other than what ism we subscribe to or the letter after our congresspimp’s name..

There are certain things that have gone on and continue to go on no matter WHO is president or what party your congressman belongs to and sooner or later someone is going to have to step up and put a stop to them before we ever start to drag ourselves back up on shore.  Looking around at the sorry state of our entire political system today, I’m pretty sure that someone is going to have to be us.

As long as Wall Street is allowed to control our economy AND our government… as long as our elected leaders continue to put those responsible for 90% of this country’s economic woes in positions of oversight over their own industries… for as long as our politicians can get more money from Wall Street and K Street than they do from Main Street… for as long as 3-4 global companies are allowed to control 90% of all sources of public information… we’re going to continue to be screwed no matter WHO the president is and the fact that we won’t be getting screwed twice a day by Republicans doesn’t make the prospect of being screwed once a day by Democrats look a whole lot better to those of us who’d rather not be screwed at all.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

And They Call US Takers?

As income inequality continues to grow in this country, it isn’t about the gap between the rich and poor, but the gap between the insanely wealthy and everyone else_Sam Wlliford, Economy in Crisis

Far from being the land of the free, The US has become the land of financial slaves in which millions of serfs toil in conditions of near servitude for the sole purpose of making the very few who are obscenely rich beyond measure even richer.  These very rich people are locked in a veritable pissing contest with each other to see who can accumulate the most wealth because wealth to them is the symbol of power.  This struggle for dominance over the rest has gone on since Ogg the cave man’s days and has only gotten worse as time wends it’s relentless way.  America is a relatively young country and came in on the tail end of the days when there were a plethora of natural resources to be exploited and now that those resources are dwindling, our present day alpha males among the rich and mighty have nothing but the people to exploit.

Because of this the average American will work from young adulthood to old age, often to the grave,  and 42% (a number that increases every time someone does a new poll) of everything they earn will go directly into the offshore bank accounts of Wall Street’s moguls of moola and a large chunk of the roughly 23% that average American pays in taxes will go to support a largely useless congress and government bureaucracy that serves little purpose other than to collect their public paychecks and obscene benefits while carrying the water for the rich.  All the while that same worker struggles from paycheck to paycheck just to put adequate food on the table for his/her family and keep a roof over their heads.

This is not the America that the founding fathers envisioned… or maybe a better way to put it is that this is not the America that those founding fathers described in such flowery language in all those fancy writings, declarations and proclamations they made back in the day.  It is obvious that far from having a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we instead have an oligarchy of the rich, run by the rich for the rich.  The consensus among far too many of those we allegedly elect to lead this country today is that if you… in some way… are not making a contribution to the wealth of the richest one percent of Americans, then you’re nothing but excess baggage, a drain on the economy as the economy is defined by the people who have done nothing all their lives but take from others and who now call ordinary working stiffs… who simply want to make a basic living from their labors… the takers.

So… since we’ve pretty much established that it’s not the people… or at least not all the people… who rule The United States of America, the question naturally arises as to who does rule a country that… according to the founding dads and fancy orators of the 18th century who put it all together… was never supposed to BE ruled?  Professor of Sociology, G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz, in an essay on his Who Rules America website, provides us with a few answers that might be somewhat depressing for those who think we still live in a free and at least semi-democratic society.  Professor Domhoff puts it thusly:

This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the United States, and explains how we use these two distributions as power indicators.

Some of the information may come as a surprise to many people. In fact, I know it will be a surprise and then some, because of a recent study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) showing that most Americans (high income or low income, female or male, young or old, Republican or Democrat) have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is.

I can honestly say that none of this surprises me because I was citing similar data a decade ago on the old labor forums, but he’s right.  I’ve tried to explain this growing inequality to a lot of my middle class right wing white friends and they simply do not get it nor do they want to get it.  I blame it on pure intellectual laziness.  Too lazy to make the effort it would take to actually become informed, they’re perfectly willing to let someone else tell them what to think and who to blame, a fact that underlies the buying up of 90+ percent of all the mainstream media outlets by as few as three or four major corporations whose agenda depends on keeping the public as ignorant as possible.

They look around them for reasons for them not getting to “keep what they make” only in the relative limited arena of their own awareness of the world around them, an awareness that is controlled by talk radio, TV talking heads and overrated pundits and faux “journalists”.  And what they’re hearing is that it isn’t the untold trillions of dollars being sucked up by Wall Street nor the billions secreted away in numbered bank accounts in foreign countries that’s the root of their problem.  No, to your average Tea Party blowhard, it’s the single mom on food stamps or the guy who had his job of umpteen years “offshored” and is now drawing unemployment that are the root of all the problems.

Far easier to simply accept the word of hate spewing gasbags on radio and TV that the poor are the “culprits” than it is to understand that far more money goes into those offshore tax shelters than into maintaining the safety nets for those already made victim by the one percent.  Another thing they don’t is the get the fact that the supply of people beneath themselves on the food chain is not only finite but that the sharks don’t stop eating just because the supply of smaller fish runs out.  That’s way too subtle for their rather limited grasp on the way the whole thing works.

Professor Domhoff has charted both wealth distribution and net worth distribution in the charts at the left.  Only a dunce could look at those figures and not determine that there’s something wrong with a system that allows this kind of financial disparity between its workers and a ruling class that’s not even supposed to exist but obviously at least 47% of the voting public has not yet attained dunce level.

Most Progressives and Centrists and even more than a few conservatives are recognizing that this is a totally unsustainable model, one designed solely to put the most wealth… and therefore the most power… in the hands of the smallest possible number of people.  The idea that 80% of the population of any country having to divide only 5% of the wealth that they themselves have made possible should prohibit that country from calling itself a “developed” nation or even a civilized one.  And yet almost half the people in the country continue to scream loudly about socialism and its “redistribution of wealth” with not the slightest inkling that it has already taken place.  It just hasn’t been redistributed to where the Tea Party patriots think it has.

Professor Domhoff dispels the notion that a healthy Wall Street means a healthy America and that what’s good for the billionaires is automatically good for the rest of us.

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

So it should be readily apparent that the only people who actually derive any benefit from the machinations of the country’s financial industry are the people who actually make UP that financial industry and that the rest of us not only gain nothing but are actually losing ground.  Except to the Tea Party.  Again, that 47% of the voters that voted based on Tea Party “principles” has to be ignorant beyond belief to cling to the idea that any part of the one percent has any concern for them.  Yet that’s the percentage of voters that voted for the man who made no secret of the fact that he felt that in usurping 42% of the wealth of an entire nation, the one percent… of which he is a card carrying, dues paying member… were only taking what they were “entitled” to by sole virtue of being rich already.

Sometimes I start to feel kind of sorry for all my Tea Party friends because of the rude awakening so many of them have coming but then I stop I stop and think about what so many of the rest have had to endure because of their self inflicted ignorance and any such feeling of incipient sympathy is gone like a fart in a whirlwind.  In fact, there a few I’m gleefully looking forward to seeing get their comeuppance.

I recommend a full reading of Professor Domhoff’s essay at his site (linked above).  He’s one of the few people I have found who not only has a secure grasp of the situation and it’s underlying roots but knows how to explain it so laypeople like myself can readily understand it and if I can understand it at least anyone with an average IQ should be able to grasp it with no problem.  I’m not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier by any means but then again,I didn’t buy into Mitt Romney’s load of grade A prime bullshit either, which definitely places me in the smarter half of the voting public.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

These Buzzards Think They’re Eagles

Just a quick word on Pizzagate and then on to more important matters.  I’ve only eaten Papa John’s Pizza once in my life.  Fact is, their pizza totally sucks and once was enough, so while I can’t really lay claim to being part of any boycott, I almost wish I’d liked the food so I could actually boycott the place.  John Schnatter is to me the epitome of the “I want it all so %^$! everybody else” class of “job creators” and deserves nothing less than to lose his ass and be forced to live the way his employees have to live.  Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works in a country ruled by Neocapitalism and it will be the lowest of the rank and file who will continue to bear the brunt of this man’s avarice and there are apparently enough people in the country who believe in his way of doing business to keep him going.  Far better that John Schnatter be able to take $250 million from our economy without putting anything back than have to pay the three cents per pie it would take to provide health insurance for his workers.

Hostess is another story.  Hostess did indeed fall victim to forces beyond it’s control just as many have claimed.  It was NOT however the greed of its workers or their union that brought the whole thing down but but a combination of several of the facets of modern American capitalism in action, most notably the fact that over a period of several years… was simply and systematically sucked dry by it’s major shareholders which included at least one “private equity” firm and two hedge funds.

Understand, This is what “vulture capitalism”, the thing that was OK with 47% of the voters in the country is all about.  An outfit like Bain Capital for example.  They buy up distressed companies… some of which aren’t really all that distressed… and they milk every dime they can from it by cutting back on employees, eliminating benefits and pensions for rank and file employees, “monetizing” brand names, closing plants or outlets and selling off real estate or equipment… you name it.  If there’s a nickel to be gotten they’ll get it.  But where they really rake in the loot is they also borrow tons of money against the company’s assets which then… instead of being invested in the compnay goes for huge salaries and perks for their picked management teams, hundreds of millions in “fees” for the hedge fund managers and massive ROI for their institutional shareholders.  This creates huge amounts of debt which they know full well will never be repaid and eventually the companies wind up bankrupt and fading away to nothing but ONLY after the vultures have picked every scrap of meat they can from the rotting carcass.

What happened to Hostess provides a classic timeline of how it all works.  Oh I know, I know… Fox News has its usual screech on that the unions killed Hostess and well known voluminous radio gasbag Rush Limbaugh has naturally found a way to tie the loss of his favorite Twinkies and gravy breakfasts to the president but the simple facts are that Hostess has been dying for years and not only has no honest effort been made to save it, but the people that in a normal world would have been trying to save it have instead been systematically looting it for the their own gain. 

Indeed the fate of Hostess is the fate most companies meet once a private equity firm or hedge fund get’s its suckers attached.  One needs only to follow the saga of Sears, once THE icon of retail in America, under the thrall of Eddie Lampert since 2005 to see the parallels between it and other companies that have wound up being sacrificed after having been bled to death in the name of increased return for a hedge fund’s major shareholders.  But as for Hostess:

In 2004, the company entered bankruptcy with approximately $450 million in debt. It emerged after investment from Ripplewood Holdings. Today, it now stands at just shy of $1 billion in debt, despite additional investment by two more firms, Silver Point and Monarch. How did this happen?  These firms borrowed money to invest, which then they transferred that debt to the firm, simple. In effect, there never was any investment, only more debt added.   To emerge from bankruptcy, the companies unions agreed to large concessions which these vulture capitalists demanded, cutting thousands of jobs, transferring benefits or cutting benefits entirely. The companies also agreed to modernize the factories, which were running at a loss due to the age of the equipment, some of which dated to the 1930s. The investments from Silver Point and Monarch were to go towards this modernization. Instead the company found itself saddled with even more debt. To add to the company’s woes, the holding companies stopped supporting the retirement fund, raiding it for easy cash to extract from the firm. The current estimates put the liabilities of this fund at over $2 billion currently.

Hostess is certainly not the first but next to Sears, it’s one of the most significant examples of how “venture capitalists”, hedge funds and private equity firms make their money.  The 47% of the voting public mentioned above either remain blissfully unaware of the damage that people like Mitt Romney and companies like Bain Capital have done and continue to do to this country on a daily basis or they know full well what’s going on and simply feel that it’s more important to get the black dude out of the White House than it is to protect the country from predators like Mitt Romney.

One or the other.  They’ll have to wrestle it out with their own consciences as to which it was when vultures come for the company THEY work for.

And one thing you can bet on:  If you work for  wages for some company, eventually the vultures WILL be sitting on a limb looking down at you… kinda like them old boys on the left there… and deciding that you’re totally expendable and this kind of vulture isn’t known for having a lot of patience.  The fact that your company has attracted their attention means your goose is cooked.

So Mr. Tea Party Stalwart, I hope you thoroughly Enjoy this new world you’re helping to create for as long as it doesn’t suck your ass into the mess you’ve made for everyone else.   I have a distinct feeling that it won’t take long once you’ve helped the carrion eaters take control.  The joke… if there can be said to be one in a case like this… is in your thinking that you yourself are or ever were anything but carrion, just like the rest of us.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Back To Normal

By @TomBales1 It’s been one of those weeks when while there’s nothing really huge going on, there a lot of not so huge stuff going on everywhere and you can’t find time to get yourself around most it. One thing that always emerges from the smoke and mirrors of American Politics though is that… far from having learned any lessons from being soundly beaten by the man they’ve done nothing but vilify and obstruct for four years… Republicans are still pretty sure that the only way they’re ever going to get back into power is to obstruct and vilify even more. That’s the trouble with a one trick pony… when people finally get tired of the one trick, the pony has nothing else to keep their attention.

The right was able to inflict Bush on us during the early days of their Hate Is Good Politics agenda, which they warmed up for by attacking… even impeaching… Clinton for matters pertaining to his personal life when they could find nothing in the conduct of his office that would warrant it. This time, their target hasn’t presented them with anything in his personal life OR his conduct in office that would even begin to justify their rabid assed attempts to destroy him both politically and personally so they’re having to pull stuff directly from their rectal orifices. If it didn’t have such dire consequences for the country and for a people the majority of whom who only want someone to actually govern in their name, it would be funny to watch.

As it is, watching some of the country’s richest people acting like five year old brats throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get two cookies while everyone else got one (or none) is just another example of the sorry spectacle American politics has become. Actually the majority of us could… and rather would… be doing something of benefit to all if we weren’t being deliberately, and with malice aforethought, obstructed and harassed at every step of the way by a bunch of caterwauling crybabies vying for media attention by being as obnoxious and crude as they possibly can. Hence we get crap like the following:

Now nobody… at least nobody here is going to deny that the dude on the right can run his business any way he sees fit. But neither is anyone here going to deny that we have a right not to patronize that business if we feel that he’s being a total dick. Which he most certainly is, by the way.  What we’re pointing out here is the fact that once again, there is a double standard.  Those same Republicans who vilified Scott Van Duzer to the point of even writing phony reviews for his restaurant… in spite of the fact that most of them had never been in the place and indeed many didn’t reside within a hundred miles of it… are the ones supporting Mr. Schnatter and his right to treat his employees as pawns in his political games by punishing them for the reelection of Mr. Obama.

Some reports have indicated that Mr. Schnatter contributed enough to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to have paid for health insurance for his employees for the next ten years.  Not only that, but you need to stop and ask yourself a simple question: How many rank and file (non-management) pizza parlor employees are enjoying full time jobs with benefits and who would actually get employer provided health insurance?  Not sure in this particular case but based on the situation everywhere else in the fast food industry I’d guess that the answer would effectively be zero, and that even if it comes to pass, the costs would be negligible compared to what he spent trying to maintain or lower his own taxes and that therefore Mr. Schnatter is simply a double dick who’s grabbing at a chance to gouge his customers while blaming it on his employees and… not incidentally… the President of the United States.

As many others are pointing out, there are thousands of other pizza places out there… most of which in my opinion serve better better pizza than his joints ever did… and many of them are local  mom and pop businesses.  Might I suggest that most of us need to seek them out and patronize them from now on and let big chains like Papa Johns continue to suck up to the one percenters by catering only ignorant bigots?  Let’s see if they can survive with only that demographic anywhere outside the CSA.

And then we have yet another descent into ignorance and irrelevancy by John McCain who, after four years, is still refusing to calmly accept the fact that he lost in 2008.  Mr. McCain is determined to make the Benghazi affair into some kind of cudgel with which to beat the president over the head for the next four years and in order to do so he has allied himself directly with none other than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.  Now I don’t know about you, but when I see anyone whose parents named him Jefferson Beauregard, I’m reasonably sure I’m looking at someone who’s an ignorant racist redneck simply on the basis of who he was raised by.  Mr. Sessions has never once done or said anything that would dispel me of that notion and the fact that he’s Mr. McCain’s new BFF tells me a lot I already suspected about Mr. McCain.

As to who might be behind this attack on our highest ranking military personnel?  A little clue:  He has always been a staunch friend of the Military/Industrial Complex but like most high profile right wingers has little use for the people who actually serve in our military.   Oh alright. I guess that could apply to just about any of them so… believing in the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words I’ll simply refer you to the picture on the left.  Anybody recognize the young lady with him?

Yeah, I thought you might.  Begins to look suspiciously like the generals were set up by someone who wanted to embarrass the President and like so many of the Republican schemes of the past four years it suffered from the Republicans’ horrible sense of timing.  I have no idea why Cantor withheld the information until it was too late to make a difference in the election and in fact, I’m not convinced it would have made much, if any, difference at all.  But what I do know is that the crime scene has Karl Rove’s fingerprints all over it and as far as I’m concerned and until someone proves me wrong,  this picture is all the evidence I need of the connection.

Somebody needs to pound it into the Republicans that the way to win elections in a free and democratic society is simply to provide better governance than the other guys.  Maybe it’s time the GOP stopped relying on mass hysteria, fake outrage and childish little foot stamping tantrums and gave it a try.  Believe me, fat old white guys losing power is NOT the worst thing that could happen to America… not even to fat old white guys like me.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

He Lost Because Nobody Liked Him

I’ve been sitting here all day laughing my ass off at the pundits and talking heads with their multitudes of reasons why the Republicans lost big time this past cycle.  Given some of the excuses I’ve seen coming from some of the more “respected” right wing analysts… and I use that term very loosely… I figure my opinions are at least worth the same two cents there’s are.

The more ignorant of the Republican/Tea Party base, the functionally illiterate RW tweeters and the self appointed blog cops of course simply believe Mr. Obama somehow stole the election and that Mr. Romney was the victim of a vast (insert choice of “isms” here) conspiracy to deliver the country into the hands of some Kenyan/Muslim/Indonesian cabal.

Even the supposedly more “credible” of the conservative hate jocks… well OK, make that the ones in big studios with fancy sets… manage to riff off of that basic theory with Fox blowhard Bill O’Reilly describing it as yet another attack on the white power structure.  Karl Rove, fighting desperately for his political and possibly financial life flew by a couple of different theories before he finally took up orbit around Hurricane Sandy, claiming the the super storm had “broken Mr. Romney’s momentum” and allowed Mr. Obama to appear presidential. I get the impression that Mr. Rove thinks that doing one’s job during a time of disaster is somehow not playing fairly with Republicans but maybe if they would just man up and do theirs instead of trying to run others out of office, he wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Limbaugh… well… Limbaugh was Limbaugh.  He  wailed about doomsday for the Republicans a bit before settling into his normal routine of bashing anyone not as fat, ugly,hateful and white as himself. Routine Limbaugh

Now for my own highly accurate and totally unbiased analysis of why Mr. Romney not only lost but lost hugely.  I made up my mind that there would be no personal attacks on Mr. Romney once he had lost and so far I’m sticking to it fairly well.  But I will say this: If all else had been equal… which of course, all all else was not… there would still be one inescapable conclusion that would have come from the election… every day, fewer and fewer people like either the Republicans themselves OR their message.

When you’re through slicing dicing and serving it up, one of the very bare bottom reasons Mr. Romney did not at least make a better showing than he did is that nobody likes Mitt Romney. I’m sorry but Mitt Romney is simply one of the most unlikeable people ever to run for high office. He wasn’t even the MOST likeable of the 8 or 9 extremely unlikeable people people he beat out for the nomination although I’d be hard put to say who was.

I would have to say, based on personal observation and not on any desire to be snarky, Mr. Romney was probably the worst candidate the Republicans could have put up given the fact that he is a major player in the group that most Americans hate the worst and the group that more and more of us are coming to realize was the real force behind the financial collapse.  And it CERTAINLY didn’t help that he very obviously felt that there was nothing wrong with destroying the economy of entire countries, including this one, to make himself and his ilk even richer than they already are.

Mr. Romney was attempting to sell Plutocracy to the working class and not really even trying to hide it while at the same time he was doing the work shirt and jeans thing… trying to pretend to be a man of the people and in tune with the trials and tribulations of that working class… and simply wasn’t a good enough actor to pull it off.  Only the most ignorant can’t tell when they’re being talked down to and Mr. Romney talked down to us every time he opened hid mouth.  It wasn’t much help help when his wife would go on national TV oozing contempt for the “lower classes” that you had to be deaf and blind no to recognize, but  Mr. Romney’s own tendency to sneer at the working classes when he thought nobody was looking or listening were huge contributions to his downfall.

The Republicans simply did not need a rich, elitist “you may kiss my ring” style billionaire type to carry the message of required personal sacrifice that their platform was demanding.  Preaching that a situation requires major personal sacrifice from everyone else when you yourself are not only not sacrificing but actually making money from it… well, I’m not to sure that’s the best strategy to use with folks who are struggling… literally stuggling… through the biggest financial disaster in 80 years.

Even moderate Republicans didn’t buy it and a lot of them proved it, either by voting for Mr. Obama or by simply NOT voting for Mr. Romney.  Basically, the only demographics he DID win in any significant fashion were white middle class Republicans willing to settle for the crumbs from his table and the  white redneck Tea Party male faction around whose demands that he tried to build his campaign and he only got that vote because most of them hated Obama more than they disliked Mitt Romney.

So there’s my humble little opinion as to why Mitt Romney, the man who thought he was entitled to be president, became one of the major losers in the more recent history of presidential politics.  Make of it what you will but remember, you got it here free.  Fox News can’t say that about O’Reilly.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Follow The Bucks

I know I’m doing a lot of these on the subject of hate lately but I don’t think there’s ever been any better example of a hate based society than many of the examples produced by a large number of Americans during the presidential election just concluded and since I’m getting to experience the fallout from it in a more up close and personal way than many, it’s a subject that weighs heavily on my mind lately.

As someone who was a long time Republican (now an Independent) I find myself doing a bit of wondering from time to time as to just when it was I began to feel that my party had moved a whole lot farther to the right than I cared to go finally reaching the point where if it goes much farther it will wind up going full circle and coming at me from the left.  At various times, a lot of different events have come to mind that all played a part but there was never any really BFD that I could point to and say THAT’s the one. THAT’s when it happened.  There were many contributing factors which over the years combined to produce a change in mindset that I didn’t even know was occurring until finally I woke up one day and realized that the Republican party had moved so far to the right as to be operating in the realm of extremism while I still remained firmly planted in the 60s.

Thinking back… WAY back… the reason I had become a Republican in the first place was because the Democratic Party, while containing a few “liberal lights” such as the Kennedys, Humphrey  and McGovern. was largely made up of hateful bigoted racist old southern white guys like Orval Faubus and Lester Maddox and the one that was pushed into our living rooms via TV most often, George Wallace.  Those old farts were some of the most hateful people the country has ever produced and even had their own name for their particular brand of Democrat.  We called them Dixiecrats because the majority of them were old school, deep south antebellum Democrats who refused steadfastly to admit that the Confederacy had actually LOST the Civil War, which to this day they still call the War of Northern Aggression, and that indeed ALL men were truly created equal and that included the black and brown ones.

Once the choice was made to be a Republican and not to be part of or support all that, I just trudged along through life, sometimes  taking note of the cracks in the façade of Democracy that had been so carefully erected in this country, but like all the other rank and file Republicans, always taking the cheapest view and blaming the Democrats (the terms “Liberal” and “conservative” weren’t flung about as meaninglessly as they are today by us mere working class types) for every social ill that befell the nation.

So absorbed was I in my own little corner of the world and in sweeping it up and keeping it tidy, I didn’t even notice the quantum paradigm shift that was taking place beginning with the passage of the Civil Rights act of 1964 which I was naïve enough to think marked the beginning of the growing up of America.  So many of these old southerners were so enraged over what they felt had been outright treason by Lyndon Johnson (whom they felt was one of their own) and the northern Democrats that they began to leave the Democratic party in droves and of course the Republican Party, always looking to establish itself as the majority party, was only too happy to open its big tent and bring them in.  A lot of Democrats actually changed parties back in those days including the patron saint of modern Conservatism, Ronald Reagan.  By the time of his presidency the shift was pretty much a done deal with just enough of the hateful old Dixie/Democrats like Helms and Byrd left to remind us of the era preceding it.

The upshot was that I gradually started waking up and taking more and more notice of what was going on in other places until one day it finally sunk in that my party was no longer my party and that far from all those bigoted old Dixiecrats having died out they were actually not only still around but in greater numbers than ever and actually thriving under the Republican banner.  Not sure when you could pinpoint the actual dawning of enlightenment or if there even was one.  All I knew was that my perspectives, woefully behind the times, were going to have to do some catching up here.

And since I was going to have to do all this soul searching and evaluation anyway, I might as well go for it and see if I could get at least a glimpse of the causes and effects that had produced an almost total cessation of societal evolution in huge parts of the country and among huge segments of the population.  Not being a scholar or a trained journalistic investigator, the specifics of my conclusions are of course open to question but one thing is inescapable… the first thing anyone seeking these kinds of answers needs to do is determine how much money is involved in any otherwise inexplicable situation and who stands to profit from it because nothing happens in this country that doesn’t because of or in spite of the Wall Street bankers.

You’ve all seen me rant about the various “industries” that shouldn’t be industries.  The prime example is of course, health care and a system that allows private corporations to hold the very lives of American citizens in their hands with final decisions based on nothing more than a requirement to maximize the return to institutional shareholders.

In the same vein we have our war industry where corporate contractors are making billions of dollars betting the lives of our loved ones against… well… against enhanced returns to their institutional shareholders which requires that our kids be in harm’s way somewhere on constant basis, hence our pretty much eternal eternal state of war these days.   I we ever succeeded in taking the profit out of war there would never be another war but today the average American works over six months a year just to finance wars and war spending.

Education… where out kids mortgage the first 10 years of their working lives to pay for the exorbitant costs for a secondary education that will allegedly enable them to get decent jobs… and now even basic or primary education in which instead of attending public schools where education itself is the primary motivating factor, our kids get to attend “charter” or private schools where the primary motivating factor becomes… you guessed it… enhanced return to institutional shareholders,  After all who better to determine the levels of knowledge required to function in our new servant service to the rich based economy than the rich themselves?  Really, how much education does it take to mow lawns or scrub floors or push the button on the car elevator when the batteries go dead in the remote?

Those are just a few examples to illustrate the fact that nothing happens in America today unless someone is making huge profits or otherwise deriving huge dividends from it.  Our entire government has become structured around maximizing profits for institutional share holders of huge multinational corporations and it’s for that reason the same hate and bigotry that dominated the first century after the Civil War has not finally evaporated but has actually intensified.

By keeping half the population constantly at the throats of the other half , attention is distracted and when attention is distracted the skunks are going to wind up in the hen house sucking eggs.  That’s just human nature people.  Give someone greedy enough to have already amassed more wealth than he can spend in a hundred lifetimes an opportunity and he’ll take everything you’ve got.  Elect politicians venal enough to put private money ahead of public service on a regular basis and they’ll help that rich dude do exactly that.

So that’s where I find myself today.  Right back… or maybe still… pretty much where I was 40 years ago except now the fat rich old southern white dudes that hate anyone not a fat rich old southern white dude are called Republicans and the Dixiecrats are called the Tea Party.  The major difference is that the intensity of the bigotry has increased a hundredfold or so since some Wall Street banker figured out how to suck up to his shareholders by manipulating the basest instincts of the human race for profit and the people getting rich(er) by exploiting the easily aroused hatreds… and the desire on the part of the ignorant to always find someone else to blame for their own f**kups… just keep right on taking.

But if you ever find yourself wondering why the more things change the more they stay the same and if you ever want to try to find some answers to questions like that, you can’t go wrong by following this little rule… always follow the money.  It’s become my motto and in today’s NeoCapitalist American society, it’s the umbrella all other explanations reside under.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

We Won! (Didn’t We?)

Well here it finally flipping is, the day after the most important election in US history.  What’s changed?  Not much really although what has changed is largely for the good.  Grayson’s back, Baldwin, Duckworth and Warren are in.  Allen West got his second no so honorable discharge.  So yeah, there are some bright spots.

On the other hand, my predication that hate would be real winner and that the Tea Party/GOP would only double down on the hate and discontent with which they dominate and control political discourse in this country started coming through even before the election results began to be known.  Indeed the Tea Party is already calling for our president to be impeached.  Not sure on what grounds, although rumor has it that they have found a loophole in the law that allows being elected while black to be interpreted as some kind of high crime or misdemeanor.

The list of pathetically hateful comments by leading right wing commentators and bloggers would already gag a maggot and the signs are that these people are just getting warmed up.  I suspect the alpha hog, Rush Limbaugh will be practically melting our radios this morning in a foaming at the mouth denunciation of just about everyone who doesn’t meet his standards for hate… actually that’s not too different than any other day on his show but today it may include a few Republicans.  Bill O’Reilly is leaping once again to the defense of the white Christian male power structure, a thing indeed of his own construction and the defense of which he has used to justify his hate stirring rhetoric on more than one occasion.  Dick Morris says he has “egg on his face” and The Donald posted several childish little white trash Tweets during the proceedings, most of them since deleted (but preserved for posterity by various organizations).

Some folks on the left are praising Mr. Romney for his “gracious” concession speech.  He appeared alone to deliver it, without Mrs. Romney or Paul Ryan and his wife but then he’s done a lot of,,, shell we say… “non-traditional” things during his campaign.  I only listened to bits and pieces of it but in none of them did he ever mention PBO’s name, referring to him only as “he” or “him”.  I’m told by people who did hear the whole thing that this was the case throughout.  He called for an end to partisan bickering without ever acknowledging things like the record number of filibusters and the 33 votes to repeal the ACA or the rock solid Republican platform as was spelled out by Mitch McConnell, a platform in which every plank had the specific purpose of denying Mr. Obama a second term.  Indeed the “bickering” HE refers to was all in the left not going along with everything the right brought to the table.  All in all, it was a fairly mundane speech crafted very carefully to express regret at losing without ever giving any hint of credit to the winner.

Several prominent right wing voices are already shouting that this election was lost because they “weren’t conservative enough” and that the GOP needs to move even farther to the right.  I’m sure there’s a specific medical term to describe someone who, having lost the last two election cycles because the thinking people in this country repudiate their extremist policies, thinks the answer is to become even more extreme in their conduct of the people’s business but until someone tells me what it is I’ll just roll with sociopath.  That’s a term describing a condition that has been illustrated in exquisite detail by Mr. Romney throughout his life and indeed became the foundation for his rather checkered political career and was never more evident than during his just completed presidential bid.

All in all, for a layman like me there is one HUGE reason for the GOP loss that will never come out of the mouths of the right wing pundits and commentators charged with polishing the turd that the GOP’s image has become and  that’s because the GOP… dominated by the Tea Party and the cult of ignorance surrounding it… offered up what was quite arguably the worst slate of candidates in history who then proceeded to run the worst campaign in history, once  insisting that since their extreme right wing policies were being rejected by the majority only because they weren’t right wing enough.

I’m pretty sure that most Americans are able to grasp the fact that you don’t stop people from thinking you’re an asshole by being an even bigger asshole but I’m also pretty sure that there are enough people out there who don’t understand or otherwise reject that simple fact to make American politics the disgusting spectacle it has become.  Trump is right.  The world IS laughing at us but not for the reasons he puts forth.  In fact, he himself is one of the main factors in why the world laughs at our expense.

Anyway, it’s over for a week.  That’s about all the time we get before the posturing for 2014 and beyond gets started in earnest.  All in all, I feel pretty good.  A lot of the people I wanted to win did so but that’s tempered by the fact that a lot of people we needed desperately to lose won also.  We still have Bachmann, Cantor, Issa and the like so the hateful core of the not so flipping loyal opposition still exists to go right on making our lives miserable but hey… it could have been a whole lot worse and I’ll take not quite so bad over worse every single time.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized