Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Romney Sweeps First, Second, and THIRD!

Yep. Romney has done it a THIRD time. He has a record now:  insulting remarks in each of the three countries he has visited. No other would-be world leader approaches this record.

He gets the brass medal for each event. Not gold, not silver, not bronze. Brass.

This time it was Poland. To be fair, Romney handed off to a chief aide for the event. But the visit isn't over yet, and maybe Boss Romney will pull his own stunt, like throwing up on someone's shoe. For now, it's totally fair to hang the missteps of his aides around the neck of the man who put them on his team. That's "best business practices", folks, especially at the top level. The immediate staff of a business executive has  -  first and foremost  -  the duty to NEVER make their boss look bad. He picked these clowns and he is accountable for them.

So what did Romney's man do? At Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where Romney was engaged in what should be a solemn moment of laying a wreath, his aide told reporters in quite audible tones to "kiss my a**" and to "shove it".

Not graveside language anywhere. Especially not at the site honoring those Polish military who stood so gallantly and hopelessly against the mighty Hitler blitzkrieg. (A "blitzkrieg" is when you are a horse-mounted cavalry fighting armored vehicles, as did the Polish heroes.) The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier also brings to mind the thousands of Polish officer-prisoners methodically executed in the Katyn Forest Massacre against all codes of war and "decency". (As if war can ever be made decent.)

Some commentators are designating the Tomb as "a Polish holy site".  It should be considered a site of significance for all the world:  a monument not only to dead heroes but to no more wars, no more dictators, no more dead heroes, no more dead civilians, no more dead children. Hundreds of millions of people died in WWII. Twenty million more Russians died at the hands of Stalin. Forty million Chinese were killed by Mao. How about Cambodia? Vietnam? The Korean War? Another million? Sarajevo? And Africa, poor Africa? Iraq and Afghanistan? And the "disappeared" of the Latin American countries?

When is enough really enough?

But Romney wants more. As much as his aide insulted the site of the tomb,  Romney insults it more by his mindless war-mongering about Iran. He has made clear that he will approve Israel bombing Iran, probably with a nuclear weapon.  (How else break into the deep Iran bunkers?). Well, that will really advance peace in the Middle East. Sure.

He is also stoking anti-Muslim feelings here and abroad. He is relying for his foreign policy on the same war-mongering "America the Mighty Slaps -'Em-Around" guys who ran George W's shop. And we all know how well that worked out.

Please. No more war. No more dead children. No more inflaming hatred. No Mitt Romney.

I'm the kid sister of the Greatest Generation. Most of them are gone now. But I remember for all of them:  War Is Hell. And warmongers deserve to go to Hell.

So, Mr. Romney, you can just take your war-mongering and hate-mongering and SHOVE IT!

And don't you dare even think of kissing you-know-what!  Just go soak your empty head.

Let Mr. Obama get on with the job of trying to bind up the wounds of this poor old world.

And let's all help Obama to have another four years of the good work he has initiated around the world, finding wherever possible a way without war.

P.S. Hey, Mitt, where are those tax returns?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Mitt Offends Jews AND Arabs In One Swell Foop!

So far Mitt Romney hasn't thrown up on a national leader's shoes at a state dinner abroad as George Bush Sr. did on his way to losing an election. But let's wait. The barf may be coming up sometime soon. (Note the play on words?) Maybe he'll upchuck in Poland? "Hold the pierogi, Thaddeus!"

Since criticizing the English regarding their Olympics  -  which have turned out swell so far  -  Romney has gone on to Israel where he has just managed to double down on offensiveness. In Israel he has made a comment which is offensive to BOTH Jews and Arabs! It's a two-for-one! It's equally racist to BOTH groups!

What is this twofer? He says that "cultural differences" account for Israel having twice the income per person that Palestine has. (Note: Businessman Romney got his data wrong; the difference is a factor of ten.)

Immediately the assistant to the president of Palestine cried "racist". And well he should.

But it is also stunningly racist toward Jews. No prominent Jews have said so yet, so this old Jew will make the point. One of the most prevalent and ugly caricatures used by anti-Semites has been that of the money-hugging, money-bags Jew who  -  per the hate-mongers of yore  -  causes wars for profit, runs Hollywood, and makes money out of everything that is vile. According to the anti-Jew, we Jews ALL know how to make money. And having attributed this to us, they hate us for it. And make it one of the reasons to send us to gas chambers.

So when Romney refers to "cultural differences" that have made Jews in Israel richer than the Arabian Palestinians, guess what ugly image pops up? "Hey, hiya, Shylock! Any pounds of flesh today?"

Maybe he didn't mean it that way. He's just so stupid that it's tempting to write off his insults to his stupidity. But I won't. He went to all those posh private schools and country clubs. I know how they excluded us Jews and how they talked about us. I remember "the quotas" at the colleges, the med schools, the law schools. Oh, boy, do I! Until I learned better, it really hurt: "Mustn't let those Jews in. They'll run right over us! And they'll make all the money!"  So Mitt Romney knows what the anti-Jewish mantras are. He grew up on that crap. He's just so insensitive, so arrogant that he thinks he can scoot right by the implications of what he says.

And he hasn't got the political moxie to KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT. Nor does he have a political team hip enough to stuff a sock in his mouth. Well, as Steve Martin would say, "Gooood for them!" We all deserve to hear what a jerk Romney is. It's just embarrassing that the rest of the world has to hear it as well.

As for Arab/Palestinian v. Jewish "culture",  Romney got that dead wrong too. For one thing, you can't compare cultures.You're always judging another culture from within your own culture. Cultures aren't better or worse. Cultures also aren't governments and they aren't economics. Cultures are a whole other kettle of fish. The Arab culture? Consider their art and architecture and their adaptation to their environment. And let us remember that when Europeans were still thrashing their way through the Dark Ages and a good bit of the Middle Ages, it was the Arabs who preserved the writings and knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome that the European "barbarians" of the early Dark Ages had been so intent on burning. And what about algebra? Do you see, please, that the word "algebra" is Arabian? Etc. Etc. Just ask Eleanor of Acquitane, wife and mother of kings of England and France. When she bumped into Arab culture in the 12th-13th centuries  -  silks, poetry, courtly ways, jongleurs, perfumes, spices, heated rooms!  -  she went crazy with delight and changed everything forever in Europe. It was about the first time the folks in the castle took baths!

We are the product of Arab culture and Jewish culture and African culture and English culture and Chinese culture and so on. All the folks of all the world have come here and pitched in something. And it was from the Native Americans that we got the idea of federated states. Ask Ben Franklin. The lamest thing any American can do is talk comparative cultures.

Mitt did it to pander. As a Jew, I'm insulted that he was actually trying to pander to the Jews of Israel and America. Pandering means you think the other guy is dumb enough to be suckered in. It's condescending.

Is it surprising that Mitt Romney is condescending to us Jews? To the English? To the Arabs? Gosh, how did he ever lower himself to run for president of "you people", as Ann Romney calls us? Golly willikers, Squire, we forgot to tug our forelocks in gratitude for your stooping to conquer our political system.

And, by the way, where the hell are those tax returns?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romney Wins Monty Python Olympic Event.

Mitt Romney has gone to London. And made a fool of himself.

Thank heaven he isn't president, for then we would all have to be ashamed of the bad manners he has displayed in insulting the English. Yea and hark, ye all:  He sneered at them, casting doubts on their ability to do a good job hosting the Olympics.

One London newspaper headline labeled him "Mitt the Twit".

Which of course brings to mind the wonderful Monty Python episode of "the twit contest". This was the first Monty Python show I ever saw, and "the twit contest" made me a fan forever. But there's actually nothing funny about Mitt Romney insulting other nations. He wants to be our "head of state". This implies he has to be something of a diplomat, doesn't it? Does a head of state go around insulting our closest allies?

He's such a rude little man. He insulted those NASCAR folks wearing plastic macs against the rain. He thought their gear was unacceptably cheap. Then he came to Pennsylvania and insulted the local cookie maker in one of our villages. He's a great one for sneering at people. The good, hard-working, just-making-it folks who are doing the best they can. Now he's gone international with his disgusting ways.

He is a spoiled brat with very bad manners. In each of the above instances he was a guest. One doesn't go somewhere as a guest and then insult the hosts, demeaning their efforts.

Bad manners sometimes come from lack of opportunity to learn. But Romney didn't come from a deprived background. He had opportunity galore. The other source of bad manners is a bad heart. Indeed, the word "courtesy" comes from the same Latin root as the French word "coeur" as in Richard the Lion-Hearted being "couer de lion", i.e. courageous. But it also means "loving", if you dig all the way back through the Late Middle Ages and Old French. Courage, courtesy, courting, courtly love, and even curtsy  -   all are linguistic cousins. (No extra charge here for the philology.)

Romney sure ain't no Richard the Lion-Hearted. And he is certainly no cousin to the words and concepts that make our civil life civil. He's a jerk. A mean-spirited and arrogant jerk. Even his $77,000 tax deduction dressage horse is more careful in how he steps around.

Mitt Romney is acting more and more like that other spoiled brat  -  George W. Bush.

Well, we've all sat through that movie already and we know the plot:  unprovoked war, tax cuts for the rich, horrific deficits, no regulation of rapacious banks. And we know how that movie ends  - not with a bang but with an enormous CRASH!

If a guy walks like a George W and talks like a George W and smells like a George W  -  RUN for the nearest exit! If a guy is a dumb jerk, he will not be a good president.

It's just that simple.

Now, let's forget what's-his-name Romney. Kick back. Light the torch! And let the games begin!

(Think I'll skip the dressage.)



The Answer? Stay Out of the Weeds

No. Not that weed!

Recently I posted a blog asking for your ideas on answering someone who says he or she doesn't know how to vote and may stay home in November. This segment of voters say they voted for Obama in 2008 but now believe that "he's no different from the other one."

First of all, don't get discouraged by the attitude of these folks. Obama won super big in 2008 partly because these people got fired up and voted even though in an ordinary election they probably would have stayed home. If they now can't see the huge difference between Obama and Romney, they are likely to be low-interest voters. They don't really care enough to be informed, and in 2008 they probably just got swept along by the Obama crowds in what used to be called "the band-wagon effect." Fortunately, Obama had enough margin in 2008 that he can afford to lose some of them this time.  Let's face it. The election in 2008 was an extraordinary one, more like a movement than a campaign. You will likely never see such an extraordinary election event again in your lifetime. So perhaps we just shouldn't worry about the maybe-won't-vote folks.

That being said, we don't want to forget the immortal words of the immortal Fats Waller:  "One never knows, do one?"

We may need every last one of these formerly-Obama voters. Sure, the voters on the far-right aren't enthusiastic about Romney, but they are deeply driven by their hatred of Obama. Count on it. They will show up in huge numbers on election day. Oh, yeah.

So we may need our own wobbly folks very much. Therefore, what do we say to answer their weird belief that there's no difference between Obama and Romney?

Since they seem to be ill-informed even in this "information age", they probably aren't open to us preaching to them the true facts. Nor will they likely respond to arguing. By personality type, they probably have a streak of "I'm exceptional, I'm so cool, and I know better." These people can get very stubborn because they are actually defending their self-image. So it's probably better to stay out of the weeds and not argue on the basis of Obama's record and the contrasting idiocy of Romney.

You might want to try what I used in talking with a guy named Alan at my satellite TV provider. (I'll grab a voter wherever I can find one). We got into talking politics because I had called up to "cancel" my service since I can't afford the price hike that had arrived with my bill. (The satellite company and I play this game every few months.) So Alan solved my problem by waiving the increase for a year. And from there I slid into "what tough times these are".  He agreed. (The first thing in making a sale is to get someone to agree with you about something.)

Now Alan and I are on the same side. And it's the side of the "little folks",  not the rich or even the comfortable among the middle class. He knows I'm a little old lady living on Social Security (that's why I need the lower TV rate), and I know he's working for piss-poor wages because he works answering phones for a TV provider. He likes little old ladies and has just given one of them a break. This means he may open up and talk to me and listen to me. Really listen.

So I ask him if he plans to vote in November. (NOT whom he is supporting. That's too nosey.) And that's when he tells me about how he has fallen away from Obama, seeing him as no different from Romney. I don't argue Obama's record because that's as good as saying that Alan is a fool and ill-informed. Instead I keep it to the common ground we share:  being "just folks".

"Well, you know, Alan, I look at it like this after living a long time. I ignore all the blither-blather  TV and just look at where the guys came from. What is their story? That way I can get a pretty good idea of whose side they're on." Then I mention Obama being raised by a single mom and the struggle they had and her fighting the insurance company while dying of cancer. And him being orphaned and raised by his grandparents. "So he knows what it's like for us folks."

And the other guy, the rich one? Well, rich guys can be okay, like FDR. Because FDR had trouble in his life too, what with being a cripple with polio. He knew what it is to have it tough. We know a guy like that has good stuff in him, some real steel and some heart.  "But Romney seems to have had it soft the whole way."

All along, Alan has had a chance to agree with me as I paused after each point about Obama's background. (Who except birthers can deny Obama's biography?) So when I get to the last point  - essentially, that Romney is not on our side  -  Alan again agrees with me. He's formed the habit by then of agreeing with me.

Will Alan vote for Obama in November? We don't know. But the chances now are better that he will. For a moment I had taken him back to those glory days of 2008 when Obama's story touched millions of low-interest voters, before the push-and-shove of actual governing clouded people's perceptions.

Was I being manipulative? No. Because everything I said was true, including the conclusion that Obama is on our side and Mitt Romney definitely isn't.

Now go out there and sell Obama! Just remember to reach your audience where they live, the ground where they stand. Don't get into the weeds of arguing the policy facts. (Unless there is one issue that this one voter has a big stake in.) Don't razzle-dazzle and show off. Keep it simple and go for the core, remembering that PEOPLE VOTE FOR THE GUY THEY LIKE! Just ask Ronald Reagan.

And if you do this often enough, then maybe Fats Waller was wrong. Maybe "One never knows, do one" should be modified to "Sometimes one knows, don't one."

Can we know we can make that difference?  Yes, we can! Oh, yes we can! And we do know, don't we?



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GOP Aims Tax Hikes at YOU!

You're the target, baby!

The GOP Senators want to end those payroll tax cuts Obama got for you. Remember those? Well, you've been spending that money for three years, and I'll bet you forgot to send the Boss a thank you.

Obama fought hard for that money for you. He even cut a deal to get it and help you out. But lots of liberals HATE Obama cutting deals. So why don't they send the money back? Because they needed it! And they economy needed it  -  and still needs it  -  in order for the economy to continue its recovery.

The deal was made a year after your tax cuts were first obtained by Obama. He let the GOP extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for two years in order to preserve your tax break.

Now the Senate GOP Senators are proposing that the 2.7 million wealthiest keep their really fat tax breaks permanently but you have to give up yours. So does the rest of the middle class and the 13 million working poor, the most put-upon Americans.

Sucks, doesn't it?

Throw da bums out!

It's baseball season so let's get really raucous. Let's take some of that money Obama got for us and send him a thank you present by contributing to his campaign. It's the decent thing to do. And the smart thing to do.

Because unless we keep control of the White House, YOUR taxes are going to go up big time. And  -  also rather important  -   the nation and the world will go to hell in a GOP hand-basket. You can bet the farm on that one.

But we need more than the White House. So pick a Senate race and start backing a Democratic candidate. You can find one, can't you? I don't have to do all the work around here, do I? How about Virginia, Montana, Hawaii, Ohio? They all need you. (Don't worry about Massachusetts; our gal there has plenty of bucks.) And consider Nebraska. Bob Kerrey is struggling against a Sarah Palin- endorsed GOP woman who has a zillionaire backer who gave her $3 million in her GOP primary.

Meantime, let's dance with the guy who brought us. Let's show Obama we remember that he has never forgotten us and has tried the very best anybody could to watch out for us. And let's give him a Democratic Senate so he doesn't have to stand all alone in D.C. against that GOP cabal.

You going to leave that skinny, smiling, graying guy all alone on the ramparts? I don't believe it.


Hard to Post Your Comments? "Grandma Jo", You Okay?

On July 24 "Grandma Jo", a reader of this blog, tried to post a comment and got one sentence up before quitting in despair. (Or being kidnapped?)

I'm so sorry, Grandma Jo!

So I've spent hours trying to get Google to fix things. Everybody complains about how hard it is to post comments on blogs, no matter the service. But, of course, Google Blogger is least cooperative of all.

Nevertheless, I've tried some fixes.

So PLEASE try again to post comments. Any and all of you. And PLEASE let me know on this posting if you've had an easier or worse time of doing so since 5 p.m. EDT (USA) 7/24.

Can we defeat the inscrutable ways of Google? YES, WE CAN!

And, Grandma Jo, are you okay? Not kidnapped are you?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What's Your Answer?

[I am deliberately not commenting on the Colorado tragedy. Ever since JFK was shot, this country has never surprised me by what heinous things its men can do with guns. And so we grieve. When enough people care, things will change. Things certainly won't get better under GOP control. Therefore, I'm staying on topic:  the 2012 election.]

So here goes:

A reader recently commented that he had voted for Obama in '08 but now he doesn't know what to do. He says Obama has "shown himself to be not much different" from Romney. He calls this election a "lose/lose" for the American voter.

I replied by citing some of Obama's many achievements. (I plan to do a blog soon on the remarkable Obama record.)

But then I got wondering. How would YOU answer this concerned and puzzled reader? I assume he/she is genuinely puzzled and not just a stalking horse.

What do YOU see as the differences between the two candidates? Let's leave out the personal attributes, like Obama really can sing and Romney CAN'T. And Obama is cool, and Romney is a jerk. And Obama came up the hard way, and Romney was born with a silver rod up his spine. (That's why he walks so strangely.)

You're going to be confronted with this question by others over the next months: What's the difference between the two guys? Almost 10% of voters have not made up their minds yet.

So, what are you going to say?

What YOU say to friends, associates and family counts far more than anything else in politics, second only to party registration. And the people who are still undecided are generally not registered with either party. So YOU are the number one influence. Isn't it nice to know that you outweigh the influence of all that GOP super pac money and all the lies that the GOP tells?

So  -  again  -   what are YOU going to say? What do you suggest that our other readers say? Let's share ideas!

And speaking of other readers, BIG WELCOME to the first new readers in CHINA and in AFGHANISTAN! I am deeply grateful that people who obviously have a lot of other things on their minds would take the time  -  and even some risk?  -  to read this blog.

I know that leaving comments on these blogs is a bit of work, but please try. We need YOUR ideas! Let's have 'em!

And please keep a good thought for those readers in Afghanistan and China. Plus all the brothers and sisters! Together, we shall overcome.

Yes, we just gotta!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Romney, Bermuda, China, and Chocolate Cake

Romney and the GOP keep complaining that we voters and the media and the Democratic Party just don't understand how business works.

Sorry, Mitt. We do get it. All too well.

We know why you have investments in Bermuda. Exactly why.

Bermuda was your conduit for your investments in the Chinese appliance manufacturer that took jobs away from workers at such good ol' American companies as Sunbeam. By investing through a Bermuda set-up, you hoped to avoid a detectable trail of how you were not only outsourcing jobs but reaping profits from the Chinese companies getting those jobs.

I take this very personally, Mitt. You should have kept your hands off Sunbeam. I loved Sunbeam. They made wonderful appliances. Mixmaster, for one. I learned to cook at age eleven because my dad got my mom a Sunbeam Mixmaster and with it came a recipe booklet.

You want chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?

That Sunbeam cookbook and Mixmaster made the best there has ever been. And they made me a good cook. Twenty-five years ago I bought the same model Mixmaster at an auction. It was then over 30 years old, and it worked fine. When I sold it a few years ago it was still working.

An appliance that lasted over 55 years!

By contrast, I recently purchased a Sunbeam coffeepot. When I got home and opened the box, there was no basket for the coffee. I live twenty-five miles from the stores, and the 50-mile round trip hurts my poor old knees and costs me about $7 in gas. Now that damn coffeepot has cost me two trips! 100 miles of driving and $14 of gas. You stole from a poor widow, Mitt, and caused her physical pain.

I hate you, Mitt Romney and all you greedy guys who have outsourced our lives and drive us nuts with shoddy crap instead of decent, quality-controlled products. My new Amana frig of a couple of years ago had part of the door gasket missing. The AC I got last weekend was missing a major part. The new toaster thinks the settings I choose are a joke and does whatever it wants to.

I hate you, Mitt Romney, you "pioneer of outsourcing" and crappy appliances.

I don't expect an appliance to last 55 years like that Sunbeam Mixmaster. Even 5 years would be nice. But, Mitt, you and your GOP business cohorts don't think about 5 years. You think about the quarterly report, the shortest route to the biggest profit. You don't think about goals that take time  -  like rebuilding education, and our infrastructure, and a greener energy world. You don't think up. You think down. It isn't called "the bottom line" for nothing.

Companies used to build customer loyalty. Good, reliable products. Straight dealing. They were in business for the long haul. There were even honest banks. In fact, the town banker was the symbol of rectitude. Now everyone is Mr. Potter. YOU are Mr. Potter, Mitt Romney!

You care too much about money. You wouldn't dump the Bermuda-Switzerland-China syndrome of investments even though you've known for a long, long time that these would hurt your someday candidacy for the presidency. You wanted what was lucrative more than you wanted to be our president. Well, Mitt, it is OUR presidency. And if you  -  an already wealthy man  -  wanted additional money more than the presidency, then we don't want you to have that presidency. We value it a lot even if you don't.

And you can't have any of my chocolate cake either. Outsourcing to China and investing in a China company that got the outsourced jobs enabled you to have your cake and eat it too.

That's all the cake you are going to get, buddy boy!

Now get out of my kitchen!

And stop hypocritically going to church until you get some real ethics. God doesn't like men who are irresponsible in society and mean to old widowed women. Haven't you ever read the Bible!

Outta here before I take the broom to you!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romney the Bad Manager, Part 2

Mitt Romney has known for a long time that he was going to run for president. He might have had it in mind way back when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate. He certainly knew back in 2006 when he started his 2008 run for the nomination. And the moment John McCain lost in 2008, Romney knew he was next in line to be the GOP presidential nominee come 2012.

So why didn't he clean up his act? Why didn't he get rid of the accounts in the Caymans and Bermuda and Switzerland? Etc. etc. etc.

And why didn't he get ready for the questions he knew would be coming his way about his tax returns and his years at Bain? Ted Kennedy's campaign attacked him on this same stuff.

How dumb do you have to be? He's been caught flat-footed on all this very predictable brouhaha.

The man is a bad manager. Maybe you can get by in business by being half-assed (I can think of notable examples in businesses) but you can't do it in politics. You have to THINK! And plan. And anticipate. And prepare. It's a skill and a craft and hard work. A lot of business people think it's a hobby they can take up when they get bored with business. They think it's easy. In fact, they despise politicians as not-quite-bright.

Oh, honey, that's a big mistake. Sure, there are some really dumb politicians. (Remember Anthony Weiner?) But to run a good presidential campaign you have to be very good at the craft. In fact, how a candidate runs a campaign is a good indicator of how well he might run the country. Of course some guys have become president who screwed up royally once elected. Remember George W? But they hadn't run their campaigns. They just showed up.

What impressed me initially about Obama after I heard his Iowa speech in January '08 (and was blown away) was the quality of his 2008 campaign. I recognize he didn't run the whole thing. But he found the people who could. And that's what counts.

It was a beautiful, breathtaking job. By golly, he beat the famed "Clinton machine" in the primaries! He beat ol' Bill himself and the very appealing Hilary and all "the smart money". Then he beat war hero John McCain and the lipstick pig from Alaska.

And what's Romney done? One term as governor of Massachusetts. He couldn't even polish off the feeble guys who ran in this year's primaries. Not until they had done him a lot of damage and raised the same Bain Capital/tax return stuff that Obama is beating him over the head with now.

Romney is one sloooow learner. Very slow. We can't afford a president who is a slow learner. No indeedy.

So go back to Bain, Romney. Unreactivate your "retroactive retirement". Or go over to London and straighten out the traffic jam around the 2012 Olympics. Stay with the small stuff, mister. You don't belong in the big leagues.

And don't bother to write if you get work.


Romney the Bad Manager

Obviously Mitt Romney didn't learn much as a businessman about how to manage a political campaign.     That's not surprising because, as I've contended all along, running a business isn't at all like politics and -  more important  -  it isn't at all like governing. Politics/governing is about as much like running a business as golf is like knitting. Remember that Romney the Businessman would have killed off General Motors and Chrysler, while Obama the Politician/President chose to save the American auto industry.

This must be why Romney can't talk about his years as governor of Massachusetts and why he dropped out after one term and why he lost a senate race to Ted Kennedy. He just doesn't have the right stuff to govern or campaign. Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job-production during his four years as governor.

Look at his campaign. It's the second half of July and he's being thrashed over Bain and his income taxes. Obama's campaign is remorselessly doing what it has to: painting a picture of Romney that is quite off-putting and doing it before Romney has been able to paint a portrait of himself.

And Romney is helping the Obama campaign by doing one dumb thing after another. He should have released multiple tax returns long ago. He should have made Bain's business records clear. Instead he has run away from disclosure so vehemently that HE is effectively suggesting that there's some horrible secrets in those papers.

His dumb mistake is three-fold: not disclosing makes everyone want to see the "bad" stuff all the more; he's making the bad stuff seem worse than it may be; he's lost control of how the questionable stuff is being interpreted. Above all, he is breaking the Number One Rule of politics (all my political rules are Number One):  Don't play the game in the other guy's ballpark. Romney has repeatedly let the Obama team set the ballpark: women's health rights, gay marriage, non-deportation of children illegally brought to the USA, the Supreme Court health care act decision, and now the Bain/tax returns mess.

Romney is pig-headed, definitely not a good quality in a president. From his businessman perspective, he stubbornly thinks that all he has to do is keep saying that Obama hasn't been a good business manager in restoring American jobs. Romney believes that a weak economy will automatically make him president. He's a one-pitch pitcher. He's a backhand-only tennis player. He's a fast-start-only distance runner. But it takes more than one move to win at anything. Be adept or die. Any competitive athlete knows that psyching out the competition and its likely moves is very, very important. You can play circles around the guy who only has one move.

Political people like sports metaphors better than business ones. We are more interested in the "finish line" than the "bottom line". We calculate by a different arithmetic. Take the GM/ Chrysler  decision. Obama did what was good for the country. Romney wanted to do what was best from his business point of view: "let Detroit go bankrupt". That worked for him in making millions at Bain. It was perhaps a defensible business decision vis-a-vis the auto industry, but it would have been a disaster for America. Running a business is NOT like running a national economy. We MUST NOT have a businessman in the Oval Office!

We have to hang on to my hopeful take on Romney's ineptitude as a campaigner, fingers crossed that he will continue to botch it up. Why? Because there's some merit in his assumption that the economy can defeat Obama's re-election bid. The current economic news has gone soft again, and experts say there's not much hope for an upswing before Election Day. The GOP-controlled Congress has consistently blocked Obama's moves to help the economy, but will the voters see that and assess blame accordingly? We can only hope so. And all the time we have to brace ourselves for the coming wave of anti-Obama super pac money that will explode this fall.

Meantime we can do one of two things. Go out and buy a new refrigerator and thus help improve the economy. Or take just a portion of that money and donate it to the Obama campaign to help offset the Romney Money Machine.

The choice is yours. The one choice we don't have is to do nothing. That's the one move that is fatal to our future. Your future, my friend. And the future of your children.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Harry Truman v. Mitt Romney

Well, there's a comparison to make your stomach churn.

Mitt Romney sure ain't any Harry Truman. Romney made hundreds of millions in business; Harry Truman went broke at every business venture he tried. But Harry Truman was a damn good president, and Romney would be a disaster.

Harry knew something  -  and lived and governed by it  -  that Romney never has grasped and never will. It was portrayed on the sign Harry put on his desk in the Oval Office. Let's write it big:


Romney says he's not responsible for the bad deeds of Bain Capital, such as outsourcing jobs overseas, making tons of money off of companies Bain was bankrupting, firing thousands of people from their jobs and thereby destroying communities. He says he was out in Utah in those years, running the Olympics and not running Bain. But he OWNED Bain throughout the years in question. AND he swore to the SEC under penalty of perjury that he was the sole owner, the CEO, the chairman of the board, and the president of the company.

Now he wants to claim he had "retired retroactively" from Bain for those years of Bain naughtiness. Wow! Talk about a do-over! How many of us get to change our history and duck responsibility "retroactively"? I guess being super rich allows you to get out of anything. Or try to.

But the bottom line is that Romney OWNED Bain and held all its chief operating offices. The buck has got to stop with him even if he was off running an Olympics on Mars.

That's just the way it works in life, baby. Kind of like "You break it, you bought it." Or else we have to say that Hitler isn't responsible for the Holocaust because he wasn't running the death camps on a day to day basis. I'm not saying Romney is Hitler. But he is a dangerous man. He could get us a big step closer to a Hitler. I know because I remember the Hitler era. Keep in mind that Germany's economic depression is what brought Hitler to power. Romney's discredited economic theories can take us  -  and the world  -  into an economic catastrophe the likes of which you don't want to see. How do we know this? Because the same old tired GOP theories just brought us to the edge of it in 2008.

And now our weakened economy and the world's shaky one would really go down if another dose of dumb GOP measures were put in place. It's the GOP Congressional fixation on these stupid ideas that has held back a present recovery, all for the sake of denying Obama some success and a victory in 2012.

Remember, folks, that the GOP was ready to let the USA default on its debt last summer. There is no limit to how far the right-wingers will go. And Romney has never shown one bit of backbone in standing up to them. But even absent their extremism, Romney's clearly-wrong economic theories are enough in themselves to take us into economic disaster.

And what happens when people get hungry? They get their guns. And they get their brown shirts. And they look around for someone to blame, preferably "the other". With lots of America's middle-aged and older white folks already nervous about the increasing number of brown Americans, we can see where all this could head. It ain't pretty. Imagine Glenn Beck and his cohorts cheering on the throngs!

This is the ultimate nightmare, I admit, but a bad downturn short of this could be bad enough. It could cost you YOUR job.

So send Obama a few campaign dollars. While you still have a job. It may be the cheapest unemployment insurance you could ever get.

And it's the right thing to do. Just remember all those "good Germans" who did nothing when Hell was about to swallow their once-proud nation.

Don't be like Romney. Be like Harry Truman. Take responsibility. In this election, the buck stops with YOU.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mother Jones and the Thursday Night Massacre


Thursday night Mother Jones broke the big story that Romney not only pioneered in outsourcing jobs overseas but had ownership in a Chinese company that GOT the jobs.

This was in 1998. No question that he was at Bain when this went down. He has never claimed to have left Bain as early as 1998.

So who's a "liar" now, Mitt Romney? You should apologize for calling Obama a liar in your new TV ad and in five major network interviews. The Obama campaign has been telling the truth. You ARE an outsourcer. In spades.

You should apologize to the American workers who are victims of outsourcing. Who have lost their homes and now live in poverty.

You should apologize to the American voters for all your hypocritical campaign statements about getting tough on the Chinese to protect American jobs. You MADE MONEY being part of the Chinese game. You made money at BOTH ends of the deal. You made money on the cost cutting by American firms and on the Chinese workers who got those jobs earning pitiful salaries and working in dreadful conditions.

The Mother Jones Thursday night story is not only a remarkable piece of journalism but also notable for having been released on a Thursday night. News-wise, Fridays are the Black Hole. Everybody with any sense avoids releasing news on a Friday (and therefore a Thursday night) because there's no audience. The public is all drunk down at the local bar after about noon on Friday. (Or so the thinking goes.) So are the journalists.

This strangely-timed release of the Mother Jones story indicates how hot this story really is. It couldn't wait.

It's also reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre when Richard Nixon's presidency unraveled on television before a transfixed American public. Nobody went out to the movies that Saturday night! It was the on-screen chopping block for Nixon as he fired in rapid succession one after another of his Attorneys General because they wouldn't help him continue the Watergate cover-up. That night he lost the American people.

If there is any justice in America  -  and any true journalism  -   this Mother Jones story should be main stream media big-time. This should be the cornerstone from now on in a media campaign narrative that shows Romney to be what he is  -  not only an outsourcer but a liar and a hypocrite.

That's what should happen. Or were all the journalists celebrating TGIF on Thursday night and missed this really big story? And if so, when in hell's name are they going to sober up and take their jobs seriously? When are they going to give us an honest picture of Mitt Romney, the most dishonest man who has ever run for president of the United States?

Good job, Mother Jones! You have lived up to your namesake, the grand old gal who was the inspiration of the early union movement. She fought for jobs; you have too.

And for truth.

Would there were more like you.    

At the Bottom of Bain Is Richard Nixon?

It's five months to the day since I blogged about "where are the rest of Romney's tax returns?" Especially, where are the returns for the Bain years? Why should you care? Because it could mean the election. If Romney was running Bain when it was outsourcing jobs, swing voters in the Midwestern job-deprived swing states are going to be furious.

But Romney isn't handing over his tax returns, thus defying the precedent followed by all prior presidential candidates, beginning  -  oh, how life loves irony!  -  with his own father.

 Now the media is trying to figure out WHICH were the Romney years at Bain. Was he there when the bad stuff went down? They won't find out from Romney because he's a man of essential falsity.

He changes any story to fit the one constancy in his nature: what's good for Mitt Romney. That's all that apparently matters to him. Not truth, not justice, not the American way. He looks like Clark Kent but he  has none of the ethics of Superman, that's for sure. There's nothing under that business suit.

Back in the critical years at Bain, he filed documents with the SEC saying that he was the president  of Bain. AND the sole owner. AND the CEO. AND the chairman of the board. All these starring roles while it was doing naughty stuff  -  well, politically unpalatable stuff  -  like outsourcing jobs. He subsequently filed papers with the Massachusetts State Board of Ethics, again saying that he was in Massachusetts in these same key years and active with Bain even while hopping off to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics. He was even paid at least a $100,000 salary by Bain that Olympics year. (The salary could have been millions because the form only shows "$100,000 or more".) This salary was in addition to the millions in company profits he was raking in as sole owner of Bain. He couldn't have been filling more roles at Bain unless he had started being its janitor. In fact, he WAS Bain.

These two filings were used by him to establish he was a resident of Massachusetts so he could run for governor.

Now it's become more convenient politically to claim he was hands-off-Bain in those years and couldn't possibly have been involved in its business decisions because, by golly, he was in Utah.

Like there weren't any telephones or jet planes or FAX machines or e-mail in 1999-2002?

Like a guy who holds every decision-making position in a company  -  who OWNS the company entirely  -  did not know what was going on with that company?

Oh, give me a break!

Second honesty issue:   Besides possible information about Bain, what is in his tax returns that makes him so fearful of releasing them for those years? It's got to be something really stinky because we already know about the outsourcing by Bain and about Romney's investments in  the Caymans, Bermuda, and Switzerland. For example, was there something unlawful about his gifting $100,000,000 to his kids tax-free?

Or is there fraud back there against his own investors? Some of them took a bath when Bain put companies into bankruptcy after "looting" them. Take a look at my February 14 blog on this possibility.
This type of fraud would also likely be revealed by Bain's tax returns and corporate records, but Bain won't release its returns for the Romney years and says it has "lost" its corporate records for that period?

Give me another break!

If those records don't exist any more, it's because they have been destroyed, not lost. It's Nixon and the erased 18 minutes on the Oval Office tapes. In fact this whole thing is beginning to look like Nixon all over again. And we all know how that one turned out.

Nixon could erase tapes but not his tax returns and a falsified document therein. So tune in next time for "Romney, Richard Nixon, and Falsifying Documents".  

Meantime, nobody in the Obama campaign should apologize to Romney for talking about Romney's possible "felony" in making false statements to the SEC, etc. Instead the media should just keep digging, and Obama should keep the pressure on Romney to come clean.

It's OUR presidency. It's OUR country. And we have the right to know who the hell this guy Romney really is. And what he has done.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Man with the Golden Heart

It slipped past the media. But it deserves attention.

At the height of the Colorado wildfires, when firefighters were working for days without a break in 100-plus heat and smoke, NBC Nightly News ran a brief segment on the fact that these federal firefighters have no health insurance or other job benefits. It's because they are classified as "seasonal workers".

Their "season" is one of heat, smoke, flames, sleep deprivation, and the constant possibility of a fiery death. Some of them have fought to save the homes of others while knowing their own homes were going up in flames because they were not there to save them.

So what do we give them for their heroism and self-sacrifice? The back of our hands.

Except President Obama.

A few days after the brief NBC story, the Nightly News had a follow-up announcement. It was just a couple of sentences. Obama had ordered that the federal firefighters be allowed to buy into the federal health insurance system just like other federal employees.

That's kindness. And it's not the first time he has acted in what can only be described as a compassionate manner, using the power of his office to fix things for folks who need help. Among his acts of kindness  -  or call it justice  -  he ended don't ask/don't tell. He spoke out in favor of gay marriage. He stopped deportation of almost a million people who came here as children without going through the immigration process. His Justice Department is fighting tooth and nail to stop the elderly, students, the poor, and minorities from being denied the right to vote in more than 20 states.

And he has righted a century of horrific robbery suffered by the Native Americans. He has ordered the back payment of the royalties systematically withheld from the tribes by oil, gas, timbering and other Big Businesses. This is billions of dollars stolen by some of America's wealthiest corporations from some of America's poorest people  -  its First People.

As one Native American leader has said of Obama, "His words are golden".

So is his heart. He didn't have to do anything for the Native Americans. It wasn't political. On the scale of political clout, the Native Americans aren't even on the yardstick, to mix metaphors. Generally speaking they have seen little reason to participate in a system which has always betrayed them. They also don't see why they should have to lobby for their rights. As one traditional spiritual leader said to me, "Why does a government have to be forced to do what is right and to follow its own laws?" Yeah! Why indeed?

In my last blog, I angrily asked why you and others aren't supporting Obama with more dollars. I ranted. I apologize. Maybe you're all doing the best you can.

But are you really? Can't you give just a bit more to the man who has chosen from the beginning to help the poor and the helpless. Remember Sarah Palin sneering at him for having been a community organizer? That kind of says it all, doesn't it, about the difference between Republicans and Democrats?

And it's not just Sarah Palin. This week Romney reiterated his mantra that people who "want free stuff" can vote for "the other guy". He has also said in the recent past that students being crushed by college tuition should stop whining and take responsibility by picking up the phone and asking for a loan from their parents. He actually said that!

The man is a hard-hearted nut job!

Don't let the old cynical saying triumph:  "Nice guys finish last". It doesn't have to be that way if we all pull together.

Think about the poor children of America, of all races and ethnicities. Give more for their sake. The "free stuff" at risk here is food for their hunger. The GOP wants to cut food stamps.

What more do you need to know?

Join your golden acts to the golden words and heart of Obama. Let the nice guy finish first this time. If he does, you do too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's With The Women? AND What's With You?

Some poll came out today showing more married women favor Romney than Obama. And the opposite as well. More single women favor Obama than favor Romney.

The pundits think it could be that people who get married these days are more conservative. Or maybe they are older and thus more conservative. It maybe this or maybe that. Or maybe something else?

I have a an awful suspicion   -  so awful that I hesitate to share it. We know that the majority of men always favor the Republicans. Therefore, could it be that women who marry then switch their political views to suit their husbands? I hate to think this could be true, but the political difference between married women v. unmarried women has been a constant for years, as has been the persistence of men leaning Republican. Thus it appears one side is giving in, and the other isn't.

This takes me back to the bad and stupid old days. When we walked precincts back in the fifties and sixties and early seventies, married women often told us at the door, "Oh, I just vote the way my husband tells me to."

If that's enough to set your hair on fire, consider this one: We didn't even think that was strange or outrageous. Kiddo, that was the norm for those times in all things. It was in every way still a man's world. 

So what's with these women who switch their vote after they marry? Are they trying to "stand by their man"? Or are they just crazy? Or are the two things the same?

The GOP has nothing to offer women, married or unmarried. They have opposed virtually everything women care about: funding for education, better health care, family health leave, equal pay, better provision of care for elderly parents, tougher food inspection, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

I am ashamed. I already carry the onus of being old and white and therefore am classed with a group of retrograde dinosaurs who oppose everything except increases in their Social Security and Medicare. Now do I now have to be ashamed of being a woman?

I guess I'll have to give Obama more money. Have to do something to make up for the sisters who have their heads you-know-where. And the poor guy really needs the bucks. He got out-raised by Romney in June by one-third. And that's not counting the super pac money. You folks let him down.

Do I have to carry this campaign all by myself? People, I am seventy-six years old and living solely on Social Security. What else is there for me to sacrifice so as to further help the scrawny kid with the graying hair? I gave up getting hearing aids this year so as to send him some dough. And going out once in a while to eat. And getting my hair cut. And buying a chair to replace my broken recliner. And sending grandkids presents. And replacing my worn out shoes. I even turned the thermostat down to 50 this winter and went cold.

I did it for you. If Obama doesn't win, you're in big trouble. And so are your kids. So is the whole world. The fox will be back in the chicken coop. Romney will be George Bush all over AGAIN! I'll be out of here before long, gone to the big Democratic convention "on the other side". But you'll be stuck here with rotten Republican sure-to-fail economic plans and some more wars and an end of environmental and consumer laws and a Supreme Court that will make you very, very sorry.

So what are you doing to save yourself? To save the world? Are you really doing your share? Shouldn't you do more than your share? God in heaven knows that all of us in this country have had more than our share of the good things of this world than has virtually anyone else.

Come on, darlings! It's pay-back time!

Send the man the money! Right now! And  -  oh, yes  -  you sure as hell can! Don't kid me! Mama knows!

You can't afford not to.  



Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Soothing Sounds of Nate and Norris

The soothing gentlemen referred to in the title are Nate Silver and Floyd Norris. No, they are not household words but they should be among those who care about politics. Each is very well-informed in his specialty and doesn't "go with the flow" of whatever is the current punditry. They look at numbers, not at what "everybody" is saying.

In politics, numbers are everything. Most people don't like to hear that because numbers seem boring or difficult. But don't forget, numbers are how we tell who has won or lost an election. And numbers are the guideposts as we move through the race.

So far, the numbers are with Obama. He's got a handy lead in the swing states. So forget the national poll numbers which are much tighter. (They don't count because we elect presidents state by state.) Partly on the basis of Obama's strength in the swing states, Nate Silver's sophisticated computer analysis gives Obama a 66% of winning the election v. Romney's 33% chance. That's 2 to 1 odds on Obama!  I'll take that!

In the electoral college Silver gives Obama 297.1 votes to Romney's 240.9. This is far better than the prediction of  the NY Times (Silver's home base). Why the difference? The NY Times is based on pre-computer analysis techniques, i.e. the old-fashioned "conventional wisdom". From my long years in politics, I know that you go with the guy who has the best handle on numbers.

So when cloudy days come for Obama  -  and they will  -  look to Nate Silver's soothing prediction.

As for Floyd Norris, he's the chief of the NY Times business section. And his soothing words? The job picture is better than is being shown by the Labor Department statistics released the last three months. He bases his case on the possibly out-of-date formula for "seasonal adjustment". He argues that employers are being more cautious these days and hiring fewer "seasonal" workers and letting fewer go when the season supposedly ends. The use of the "seasonal adjustment" therefore has an enormous and faulty distortion effect. He concludes it has understated the job gains by 800,000 per month for EACH of the last three months! That's a BIG distortion!

Is Norris right? Well, something has to account for the fact that housing starts and other construction are up markedly but construction jobs are reportedly not. This anomaly can be seen in other aspects of the economic picture. Without getting into the economic weeds, maybe we can accept what Norris says and just feel better when faced with supposedly flat job numbers this summer.

We can also choose to be heartened by what Norris is predicting for this fall. By his rationale, the continued use of the distorting "seasonal adjustment" will make it look like the job numbers take a big jump this autumn. (Employers will not have laid off the number of employees assumed by the seasonal adjustment.) This result may come just in time for the fall election. But it will be close. The earliest of these good-looking numbers won't be reported until early October and then again four days before election day.

Admittedly, that's too close for comfort. Conventional wisdom says that voters' perception of the economy firms up in the summer months before the election. And in politics, perception is reality. So we shall have to keep our fingers crossed.

Countering the conventional wisdom, however, is another piece of conventional wisdom. This one says that the six per cent or so that actually decide the election don't make up their minds until the last minute. If this be true, then summer job numbers don't matter. What will count will be that October jobs report and the three presidential debates.

And who wouldn't bet on Obama in the debates?

All that being said, Romney's super pacs are out-raising Obama's one little super pac by TEN to one. The GOP poison will flow, full of lies and scare tactics. All that stands against the purchase of the presidency by the uber-wealthy is YOU. Volunteer! Contribute some bucks! Think about the hungry kids and how many more there will be once the disastrous Republican economics take over the government again.

You want four more years of George W in spades? You want a rerun of the '08 crash?

Of course not! So be a hero! This is your chance to justify your existence. World peace. A fair deal for everyone. The fate of the planet. Have the stakes ever been bigger?

So get off your duff and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good News for Celebrating the Fourth!

We've got a lot to celebrate this Fourth of July!

1. The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. No matter whether you like this law or wanted a single payer, a decision it is unconstitutional would have hurt Obama's chances enormously.

2. A BIG increase for Obama's chances of winning, per the justly famed Nate Silver and his analytical computer model. (See N.Y. Times today.)  Silver now gives the Prez a 67.8% chance of winning, up almost 10% from mid-June. AND this increase came BEFORE the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act! Silver also has upped Obama's likely win in the electoral college by 9 so it's now a lovely 298! Wowzer!

3. An 8 point lead for Obama in the swing states. Again, this was polled before the Supreme Court decision.

4. As of Thursday, Europe looks like it's finally doing something intelligent about its economy, causing the stock market to jump nearly 300 points on Friday.

5. Consumer buying power just moved up for the first time in quite a while.

6. Gas prices are down.

7. More Americans are telling pollsters that they think the economy is improving.

8. Obama's ads depicting Romney as a job exporter in his Bain career are a success. The ads are shifting voters away from Romney in the Midwest where a lot of the election action is based. This is doubly reassuring because, not only is the result heartening from the Heartland, but because it shows that the Obama campaign knows what it's doing. As you may recall, Bill Clinton, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, and some other right-of-center Democrats attacked the ads as unfair to private equity (from which Booker, Clinton et al get all their moola). The Obama team resolutely ignored these not-so-wise guys and kept on with the ads because their internal polling shows they are working!

9. Romney and his team are falling for the oldest trick in the book. They are delaying defining him. They are letting Obama do it while they are "concentrating on raising money" after their expensive primary fight. Yes, they will try to bury Obama in negative ads later, but we've got Obama's back.

Don't we?

And that brings us to Number 10 on our list of Happy Fourth of July items.

10. We live in a country where "We the People" still really means something. Romney believes corporations are people. But they are not. We real people vote. We volunteer for campaigns. What we tell other real people counts more with them than do ads. (Studies confirm this.) There are so many of us who support Obama that if we each donate SOME money, we can out-raise the GOP super pacs. We are not only We the People. WE are the real super pac! It isn't the 60s slogan "Power to the People". We the People already have the power! And we are going to use it, right?

This is OUR country. And it's not up for sale, Mr. Romney.

So each of you have a great and glorious Fourth!  God bless America and all the ships at sea! And God bless all of you, including you in other countries who also care about liberty and the dignity of each person. And welcome to the new readers this week in Pakistan and Colombia. Let's all of us, in all the countries where there are readers, raise a glass to each other on the Fourth because we are all brothers and sisters.   And let's salute all the brothers and sisters everywhere who gave the last full measure of devotion down through the centuries that "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth."

Hip Hip Hooray!