Pundits Crown Big Bird Killer the Winner


Created By John Mavroudis

I am trying to understand why the debate about the debate is starting to bother my core.    Between the hysterics of the likes of Chris Mathews and Ed Schultz, what we have here is a crisis among the pundit class.  They loved how Romney was an in charge powerful white guy.  They loved it.  Did it matter that he was brash and a liar?  Only on a secondary level.   They wanted the guy who is America’s idea of a winner: Paternalistic Authoritarian Oaf.    They want the President become a bully, or at least to fight like a bully.

They wanted  from Obama the appearance, the veneer of domination and power.  Well guys, you will not get that from Obama.   Since pundits live in the world of theatrics, brashness, zingers, platitudes and pseudo sports environment of winning, they want to impose this culture on all of us.   Obama, has an inner core that you still don’t get.   It is not the pushy white guy core.  The pushy white guy, the Romneys, of this world got us to this mess.   Mr. Mathews, I am glad the President does not watch cable news, someone has to step away from the culture of brash and crass.

As someone who worked as a community organizer and in the public sector, I remember countless encounters with men from the public finance sector, investment bankers and such, who would railroad local governments with slick presentations promising everything and offering little substance.  When I would break down their faux complexity, they would always appear frazzled and angry.  Obama was not professorial, he spoke in a simple and clear language.  Romney threw a word salad at us that made no sense.  Obama had more time, but apparently Romney used over 700 more words than Obama.

Everything about Romney’s swift talking, glib gibberish means  to overpower and not inform the listener .   Because, if the listener understood what they were saying, of course they would not buy their gizmo, idea or gadget.    Talking fast of furious, shock and awe, with little desire to inform of the complexity and the risks.   It seems that we are still impressed with such men and we want to give these lazy peddlers the reigns to lead us.  God help us.

So, the pundits declared Obama a loser, based on one debates performance with a verified liar and shape shifter.  They crowned the liar and shape shifter as the winner.  It seems that these are the values that we want to honor and reward.

Obama I think failed in two ways.  Americans do not understand when someone does not look at them.  They think it’s fear, cowardice and shame.  They want a stare down.  Give it to them.  Second, no Mr. President, your position in anything is not like the Romney positions, they are in any way similar and they should not be particularly on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, gay rights, immigrant rights, foreign policy, education and the environment.  Do not give them an opening for discussion, they see it as capitulation.  This is the politics as a horse race class, winners and losers.

The responsibility of the commentators after the debate was to judge the performance, but also the content.  In the end, Romney changed every single position.  Bullied the elder and respected journalist, Lehrer.  Violated the terms and conditions of the debate structure and it seems that was a good thing.   This is what we want, people who want to win at any cost.

Romney displayed everything that I find repulsive about white male behavior in business, government and many other domains.  It starts with a lazy core, it does not matter if you have the skills, credentials, you just have to appear that you have the makings of whatever you are trying to do.   Charles Pierce calls it Political Eloquence, I call it the white guy swagger.

In the end, pundit class  declared the bullying liar the winner.    They even make fun of Obama’s attempt to be polite to the elder Lehrer.  Yes, the President was right, he made a human gesture to Lehrer.  Lehrer’s ability to control the domineering bully was lacking, but it was not Lehrer who should be faulted, it was the rude liar, Romney.   This after all the hype against bullying, we have crowned the supreme bully a winner.  They had a chance to call out Romney for his core failings, they missed it.  How did they miss it?  Obama did not buy into their culture of  bullying passing for a virtue.

( Meme created by Zenpop)

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Empathy and Compassion


Ann Romney has multiple sclerosis and had cancer.  Rick Santorum‘s baby has a major disability.  Both need medical care that is very expensive.  Ann Romney, as the wife of a multi-millionaire, has access to all the care that she needs.  Rick Santorum, assuredly has health insurance and most likely the insurance he was given by the American people as US Senator to cover his child’s health care. We are told their stories over and over to humanize them and to make the “likable” because they suffer.

Yet, Ann Romney is married to a man ,who if elected, has promised to cut the healthcare that is offered under the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Rick Santorum, showed no compassion or empathy with people who do not have access to health care and have sick children.  Before the Affordable Healthcare Act, children with severe disabilities faced the lifetime cap that precluded them from getting anymore coverage.  Some of the children reached the cap at an early age. Compassion and empathy without a commitment to some form of social and economic justice is an empty sentiment.  A cheap Hallmark card.  An empty gesture.

When someone seeks compassion and empathy for themselves and shows no such compassion or care of people who suffer the same condition and have few resources then that is simple sadistic cruelty. Santorum used simplistic analogies of people “expecting free medication”  yet they buy and iPad for $900.  This is exactly the kind of “folksy” oversimplification that is used against people to dehumanize them and to take away a social sense of compassion and empathy for our fellow citizens.  Instead, they become a caricature.

These self same politicians and their wives, want us to see them as humans with real pain and suffering. When you make your life’s work the demonization of your fellow citizens and of the people of other nations, do not cry and beg for my compassion.  Do not try to pull my heartstrings.   So, Mrs. Romney, I do not care about your struggles until I see that you face the heartless policies of your husband.

As far as I am concerned, you are nothing more than the wife of a mobster, Carmella Soprano comes to mind.  You choose to be with that man.  You have free will.  Your struggles are artificial and deserve little of my attention.  I will save my compassion for those who are left out without care, without protection.

Mr. Santorum, your parents worked for the VA, the biggest national healthcare.  They paid for your healthcare as a child from generous public benefits.   If they were so capable, why did they not work out in the private sector?  You have been on the public teet your entire life and you go around scolding others as if you are some type of self-made man.   I know a scoundrel when I see one, and you are one.

To the Republican Party and particularly the Romney household.  Your personal narrative of suffering should be repressed and kept private.  If you follow your core values, your fellow citizens do not owe you one ounce of compassion.    

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The Taxes Message: Stupid


 

The Tax Structure

 

People often cannot understand why Americans vote against their self interest.   Some claim that Americans imagine that someday they will be in the upper classes and they don’t want to face the higher tax rates.  In fact it’s much simpler.

  1. They cannot imagine what the rich people really make.
  2. They don’t understand the difference between income from your labor and income from your investments.  Investment income, money making money is not familiar to people who labored for generations.
  3. When the tax rates are discussed, the first thought is:  ” Wow, 35% of what you earn, that’s not fair”.  They imagine their meager income in the blank, since they cannot imagine the rich American’s income from #1 above.  Empathy is not for the rich person, the leap is made to their meager income.
  4. They don’t understand arithmetic.  Most people have a hard time figuring out a tip in a restaurant, understanding taxation arithmetic is horrifying.
  5. They don’t get the nuance that the higher rates are applied to an amount above X, not the whole income, with a large dose of exemptions and deductions.
  6. They don’t get it that rich people spend a good part of their income and time finding ways to avoid taxation.
  7. People’s eyes glaze over when the discussion of taxes takes place.  They just know they don’t like it.
  8. Basic lack of a civics education that provides understanding of how the government works and what is paid with the taxes.

So, all the discussions about taxes should be made under this basic understanding of the audience.  A visceral aversion to something they don’t understand and don’t care to understand because it is so complicated.  All that most people think:  ” I don’t like to pay taxes”.  The rest is confusion and avoidance.  Of course this confusion and avoidance is the political game of both parties.

Romney and the Republicans, know how to push the key words that first bring empathy and then confusion.  In this three card monty, the voter just takes away one message:  ” more taxes no good for anyone, this is the only way I will be safe”.

Unless the Democrats understand these short comings in the voters they will miss the Romney opportunity.    Because of the shortcomings in the list above, voters will miss the obvious:  ” Romney is the Marie Antoinette moment of the GOP”.  Of course, they also enjoy the confusion and ignorance of the voter.   In fact, he is worse than Marie Antoinette, at least she had some redeeming qualities and was thrown into a situation to be the stooge for the aristocracy.  Romney is a product of America’s aristocracy and dedicated to preserving it at all costs.

I am waiting to see who will start speaking in plain language, with clarity and with the desire for the voters to understand and not to perpetuate the confusion.  First they create a complex system, then they try to sell you nuance in the system.  The game is rigged against the majority of taxpayers and voters.  Voters need basic education about their system before they can make decisions.

We are in a fog and we are led by people who manage the fog machine.

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Romney: Wrong Man For the Job


This Sunday on ABC’s  This Week, George Will said the following about Romney:

WILL: I think they do both. But they probably, on balance, immunize him more. It’s been 70 years, George, since Joseph Schumpeter, a famous Austrian economist then at Harvard, put into our vocabulary the phrase “creative destruction.” American people are clear that capitalism destroys jobs on occasion.

Actually Mr. Will, Karl Marx first used the term to describe the cannibalistic nature of capitalism.  Then, your Austrian friends white washed the term to describe a rebirth.  I am not an economist, but unlike the Federal Reserve governors, I saw the economic collapse coming.   Where George WIll and Romney see creative destruction making room for new companies, I see that society is left with the people and the things destroyed.  Same with the American people, they know that jobs will be lost, but they need and want some kind of help from the nation when that destruction takes place.  In fact, sometimes, if not often times, the Romney style “creative destruction” did not take place because of some up coming new idea, it happened because there was money to be made in simple “destruction”.  The creative element was not part of the Romney equation.

Romney, the “creative destructor”  moved to find another body to destroy.  The destruction, the unemployed and the empty factories then became a social responsibility.   Picking off the carcasses of dying companies, or even viable companies, simply to nourish  portfolios from the transaction of the kill has negative outcomes that are never considered in the cost of the Romney style transaction.  The negative social outcomes are then left  to the individuals and the communities that were effected to manage.  Will and Romney tell us that wait, the public funds, like a Canadian Teachers Union Retirement fund benefited.  Well if they did, that was just as bad and they should have had policies to not invest in such transactions.  There are socially responsible policies that do not rely on such outcomes.

Romney claims that this expertise, the “creative destruction” niche, gives him the expertise to manage the economy.  Well, if you consider that the economy has been savaged and is on the brink of more catastrophe, why, would we hand it off to an expert in “creative destruction”?   There are other capitalists, such as venture capitalists, who invested and financed new companies and new ideas.  Romney was not a “work out genius”, nor did he have a keen eye for new ideas that would take economic sectors out of the “creative destruction” phase.    Now he claims that he has the skills, the knowledge and the credibility to fix the “creative destruction” remnants.

Romney, was good at what he did.  In fact at Bain he was very good at “creative destruction”.  As far as I can tell, these are not the skills we need to serve the nation and the people.  Capitalism may be fueled on “creative destruction”, but nations are not.  Nations are populated and serve all the people, not just the segments that are growing and or have potential.  Nations have to serve the people who were creatively destroyed because frankly, the markets never look back.   Romney has never served or cared for the communities or the people he “creatively destroyed”.   Wrong man for the wrong job.

Is America going to be his last project in his “creative destructor” career?  Creative destruction has negative outcomes and consequences.  Romney never paid attention only to the outcomes that served him and his company.  Let me put it kindly, or in the language he would understand:   ” Mr.  Romney, you are the wrong fit for the position of President of the United States”.

 

The picture is from my garden.  The leaves fall, I gather them .  They go into the tomato cages.  By summer I will have some mulch for the new plants.  Creative destruction at work in the garden and in nature.  Not the same idea in Bain style capitalism.  

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When People Are Not People


Governor Romney, while on the campaign trail, told us that Corporations are people.  Then just the other day, on the campaign trail, he told us : Corporations are people too.   Then, in January, he tells us he ” Likes to fire people” 

The newly minted socialists, Perry and Gingrich, grab the moment to paint him as the meanest man in the world.   On the left, many of us jumped to accuse Gingrich and Perry of taking the quote out of context.  That is wrong, the word is perfectly in Romney context.  People are people.  Corporations are people.  Therefore, Romney loves to fire both.  Easy.  Now Perry and Gingrich, just like to fire teachers and public employees.  You see, in their dictionary, teachers and public employees are not people.

You see, in the past century and millennium, people used to be people.  We even had songs about people.  In case you don’t remember what people used to be.

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The Casey Anthony Trial


Medea (about to murder her children) by Eugène...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, in the 102 degree heat, sitting on the easy chair with clicker in hand I took a tour of the TV nether lands.  An alien area where  people pick one crime, one incident, to re-enact all the social goo we love.  I would not be one to deny anyone their low brow entertainment, but there was something tragic and pathetic with the attention and the devotion to watching the trial.

I frankly know nothing of the case and the characters and do not care to find out. But, for sure, the accused has no chance.  The mobs outside have drawn and quartered her.  The TV announcer, in a sportscaster tone, spewed the highlights and the drama of the day in court.  If I was an alien from another planet, I would think this was the only murder of a child in America, ever.  Ninety percent of America fancies itself to be a forensic expert by merely watching some television shows such as CSI.  People across America are glued to this spectacle of  Roman Colosseum style justice.

Medeas have come and gone and they have alway grabbed our attention.  They offer one balm to the shallow thinker: ” Evil”.  A clear and true manifestation of all that is evil beyond the shadow of doubt, or argument.  It seems calming to offer up to the masses something they can all agree on:  an evil mother.  Annually about 1,400 children are killed/murdered, 60% of those deaths are committed by parents.  Yet, this woman is chosen for the drama.  This pathetic oddity who seems to have wanted to relieve herself from the burdens of parenthood.  So once again, we take our social problems and dilute them down to a melodramatic passion play.  A play that makes us feel superior and cleansed and united in a common social value system.

I am not making excuses for any parent who harms a child.  In fact, there are no excuses.  In the drama spectrum we have the Disney apotheosis of the orphaned child, the ultimate angel.  To the tragic cases such as this, the Medea, the mother that kills her child, the ultimate manifestation of evil.  As our moral compass is tested, time after time, we look for the easy black and white narratives to comfort us.  Our politicians have adopted this language of the grotesque to soothe our confused little brains.

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GOP Jobs Double Speak: aka, “how to fuck the workers”


The Republicans speak of caring for workers.  Many workers believe that somehow the Republicans have their interests at heart.  But check this out:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), along with Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), are asking the White House to drop its demand to include an extension of the trade adjustment assistance (TAA) program as part of a package that would also include bills implementing long-stalled trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

What is the TAA?  Not just an acronym:

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program is a federal program that provides a path for employment growth and opportunity through aid to US workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. The TAA program seeks to provide these trade-affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, resources, and support they need to become reemployed. The program benefits and services that are available to individual workers are administered by the states through agreements between the Secretary of Labor and each state Governor. Program eligibility, technical assistance, and oversight are provided by the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance.

The wholesale betrayal of the American worker in the name of job creation by the treacherous GOP leadership.  Get the trade deal for business, do it quick but don’t give anything to displaced workers.  The whores of the Senate, the GOP, at work.

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