Business


Quite The Contrary

Fiddle Dee Dee, I’ll think about that tomorrow. So says Mitt Romney on how he’ll balance the Federal Budget. First he’ll cut taxes by, oh, four-five trillion dollars and then he’ll square the accounts by eliminating loopholes, cutting waste and fraud and other specific government programs. None of this adds up, of course but when pressed to give specifics, Romney demurs saying all will be revealed after he is President. Just wait.

Anyone with half a load on (and that is you Dear Reader) knows that it will require a combination of tax increases and program cuts to achieve a balanced budget. It will involve cuts to the military and Medicare for sure. Age requirements for Social Security will be raised and SS payroll tax rates will be increased as well. What has to be done isn’t that complicated except for the political will to do the unpopular. Neither political party speaks candidly to the nation about realistic solutions for fear of alienating specific voting blocs.

What absolutely slays me is how any American considers the Republican Party the party of fiscal sanity or responsibility. What a joke. The Republican economic mantra—brayed long and loud—is “Cut taxes and job-killing regulations” for a stronger America. Kids, we’ve tried that and how’s that working out for you?

We deregulated Wall Street and banking (a big mistake Bill Clinton) and got the economic debacle of 2008. Bush 43 cut taxes, predominantly for the wealthiest Americans and here we are today coming out of a Republican-induced recession, and the GOP has the unmitigated gall to claim that if only, if only we cut taxes further and eliminated all those troublesome business regulations, all would be right as rain. Republicans, ironically enough, support taking government out of the boardroom yet think nothing of putting it in our bedrooms.

Again, how’s that Trickle Down Economics working for your family? Clean water? Clean air? A clean environment? At the expense of jobs? What? Are you un-American? Republicans would allow soot in our air and the deterioration of our water and call it progress.

We Americans should be slapped in the face for thinking so short term. Perhaps we have been collectively “slapped in the face” by this recent recession. We should be throwing the spear down the field ten or 15 years (minimum) and developing strategies for achieving long-term sustainable prosperity. Lifting the entrenched impoverished out of “their” circumstances has to be pursued (over decades) from a multi-generational approach. What will America be like once the bulge-in-the-python Boomer generation passes (by 2040)? Do we really need/require another 150-200 million Americans in the lower 48 states? How do you balance generational needs (education vs. healthcare for example)? Is it possible to have a sustainable economy that is environmentally green (healthy)? Could money spent on an imperial foreign policy (war) be better invested at home, in America?

Should we respect today’s Republican Party? Is there a “we” in their vocabulary that is inclusive of all Americans? Or, has the Republican Party devolved into “we” vs. “them?” You know, them—the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Once upon a time America stood for something besides the next quarterly earnings report. Remember.

Mitt Romney has been good at making money but it does not follow that he’d be good for America. Quite the contrary.

Can We Talk?

When did it occur to you that maybe, perhaps, humans weren’t so good for the planet? This is not a particular popular subject in Republican circles for two primary reasons. One is religion, the other is money. But both, however, are based on exploitation.

In Genesis 1:28 it is noted that God instructed Adam and Eve to, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

In the 1960s and 1970s a certain religious system developed out of that Biblical command called Dominion Theology. Regardless of your specific Fundamentalist beliefs the earth is an orchard to be plucked. Some mix in (of course) that diabolical Satan. In the mean time, if Earth is left a plundered, barren desert, well, it’ll all get worked out after the Rapture.

A much more time-honored justification for raping the planet is based strictly on the economic behavior of greed and profits. Exploiting the environment is hardly a new human phenomenon. Whenever or wherever humans have concentrated the environment has suffered. There have been countless historical extinctions (or near extinctions) tied to overpopulation, land exploitation and inclement weather. From the Tigris-Euphrates River valley civilizations to China to Easter Island to the Ancient Mesoamerican cultures, humans have come and gone predicated on ill-informed behavior and poor decisions.

We might cut our ancestors a little slack because they did not have our extensive knowledge, based on science, of exactly how inter-connected human behavior and the environment truly is. That cannot be said of 21st century mankind, however.

It dawned on me when I was in my 30s of exactly how lethal humans are to our planet. We are the first generation of human beings to fully comprehend that we are unequivocally murdering our Mother. We are causing the extinction of countless species. It was recently announced that within my daughter’s lifetime all the coral in all our seas will be dead. Go ahead, shed a tear. Gone. I am confident much of the world’s rain forest will be logged. Every month it is said China brings on line yet another coal powered electrical plant with the resulting environmental degradation.

The question becomes, “What should we do about it?” Actually, a more honest question is, “Is there anything we can do about it?”

This is where I differ with my more optimistic friends. Oh, humanity will survive, of that I am confident.

This is the problem. Every attempt at a realistic planet-wide environmental solution to limit climate change and species extinction(s) will essentially be met with one word: jobs. We’ve billions of human beings here and billions more on the way, all requiring housing, food and clean water (that’s at a minimum). Add any modern amenities (AC, color TVs, cell phones, cheeseburgers, a Prius or toilet paper) and for every human added, the planet incrementally suffers. It’s a fact, Jack.

One of the best scenes in the movie “The Matrix” is when the villain, Agent Smith (ironically, a software program) compares humanity to a virus, a disease organism that would replicate uncontrollably until our environment (Earth) was destroyed. Which, if art imitates nature, pretty much sums-up our future.

Is that, indeed, Earth’s prospects? With the two types of Republicans in control, any different outcome is, well, doubtful.

Twenty-Two Second Lobotomies

I recommend the hour-long Moyers and Company TV program, which airs Sunday mornings on PBS. Bill Moyers has been around for years. Most of us were introduced to him as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s White House press secretary. His show presents “important” issues with knowledgeable people in an attempt to add fact and intelligence (reason) to our national discourse on politics and governance. Moyers is the only such show on politics that I am currently watching.

I’ve quit watching the network news or any of the cable programs devoted to politics. I was never able to bring myself to watch (other than for a laugh) the FOX programming of Dreck, Inanity and O’Really. Glenn Beck drank the Kool Aid. Inanity is as his name suggests and O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” is a loopy contradiction of terms and should be more aptly named “No Facts Zone.”

The MSNBC stable of show hosts has become dreary, too. Matthews, Sharpton, Maddow and O’Donnell continue to shill the company line provided by Democrats. They see “victims” everywhere and what is government going to do about it? Oh, I’ll start watching again this fall but what are summers for, but vacations? Relief.

Most Americans get information on their communities from their local TV stations. What passes for news is presented in 30-minute evening segments that are so insulting to the intelligence as to be comical. In 30 minutes, how much airtime, on average, is devoted to substantive news on our communities? I’m not talking about sports or weather but information on our local or state governments, transportation or essential school news. Research indicates twenty-two seconds. That’s right, folks, 22 seconds.

Instead we get a TV talking head describing how Abraham Oliver poured gasoline on his girlfriend, all accompanied by off-camera moans. Then, a “Live at Five” segment announces an elderly sexual assault in Titusville. And, yes, of course, a video of thieves conducting a nighttime pawnshop heist in Ocala. OCALA! And how about a closing 12-second segment on Casey Anthony being sued for defamation? I’d rather have a colonoscopy. What’s that? They are one and the same. No, watching local TV news is a lobotomy.

On his June 3, 2012 program Bill Moyers interviewed psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind. Haidt discusses moral psychology and its implications for our political system. He acknowledges personally moving from a liberal perspective to a more conservative one as a result of his lifelong research and writing. Haidt asserts that politics is really religion from the perspective of sacredness. (What it aspires to accomplish.) And that tragically for the nation we’ve moved to a Manichean confrontation where each side (conservative/liberal) believes “we’re living in reality and the other resides in Lala Land.” I’m fighting for good. You’re fighting for evil. And of course, you don’t ever compromise with evil.

I have never thought Republicans evil, they’ve just sold out. Much like their Democratic brethren. Our political system is corrupt, our politicians corrupt (I am sure your congressman is “quite” the exception). Our Supreme Court is on retainer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the number one job for the president is fundraiser (and all that that implies and money buys).

Jonathan Haidt offers two solutions. No demonization of the “other” side and clean-up congressional corruption. Good luck with either.

Oh, a “Live at Five” exclusive! Lindsay Lohan to play Casey Anthony. Details at 11. Lobotomy anyone?

Happy Endings?

It finally dawned on me where I had seen Mitt Romney portrayed in the movies. No, it is not the 1987 movie “Wall Street” featuring Michael Douglass as Gordon Gekko. In that portrayal of American business, Gekko personifies the “stereotypical” Wall Street trader caught up in questionable financial practices as an insider trader. He argued, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Greed is good. He went to jail. In the movies.

Mitt Romney makes no bones about what he does. Nor should he. Romney, an obviously shrewd capitalist, has publicly acknowledged that his sole goal as a businessman was to make profits for himself and his investors. His business model was not to create anything but profits. Least of all was Romney ever driven to create jobs. Romney wasn’t trained, nor did he aspire to create new products, or design or manufacture them. Romney wasn’t about factories or employees or jobs. Romney was about maximizing profit. Which I completely understand and appreciate. That is Romney’s raison d’être.

There are several business models that Romney employed in his line of work. One of them was to acquire “under” performing corporations, slice and dice’um, borrow money against assets, cut expenses (eliminate jobs and employee benefits) and to charge the company millions of dollars in “consulting” management fees and, well, if the company survived or not, Romney extracted his profits, his pound of gold. Romney practiced “a” type of capitalism that is completely acceptable (legal) in many quarters (see: U.S. Chamber of Commerce) yet so, too, was the business model practiced by Henry Potter in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Profiting off another individual’s loss (an American worker, for example) is not illegal. In some circles, it is celebrated.

Celebrated because it separates the wheat from the chaff, it performs what our capitalist economy requires in picking winners and losers. Celebrated for all the reasons that capitalists such as Romney genuflect. Profits. And, once again, I acknowledge the critical importance of profitability in our market driven economy. A business model that does not show/produce profitability is not viable. But if that is your reason for being, if that is the most distinctive motivating factor in your life and is your major justification for running for the presidency, should not the American electorate clearly understand what inspires Republican Mitt Romney?

No, Mitt Romney is no Wall Street insider like Gordon Gekko, although I would like to hear him renounce “Greed is good.”

No, think of Mitt Romney as Edward Lewis, the character in the 1990 movie “Pretty Woman.” Lewis, played by Richard Gere, is the quintessential corporate raider who dismantles American corporations—Romney-like—for profit. He and his associate, Philip Stuckey played by Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) are poised to take over an underperforming shipbuilding company run by James Morse (Ralph Bellamy). Lewis, during the negotiations, has mind-altering sex with another entrepreneur, the prostitute Vivian Ward played by Julia Roberts.

And voila, Lewis experiences a profound change of heart (mindboggling sex often does exactly that) and, rather than dismantling Morse’s corporation, instead partners with him to make the company again viable. Oh, Lordy! Wipe away the tears. Lewis then shows up in a white limousine (horse) and sweeps Ward into his arms, redeeming the two fallen capitalists.

I love happy endings, don’t you? Only in the movies.

Don’t expect any with Romney. Happy endings. Unless, of course, Henry Potter is your inspiration and primary constituency.

E Pluribus Unum Extinctus.

Free market capitalism has always been a government subsidized, bubble-inflating, swindlers’ game. By the exploitation of the many, a ruthless few have amassed large amounts of capital by which they dominate mainstream narratives and compromise elected and governmental officials, thereby gaming the system for their benefit. Phil Rockstroh

Ah, the American Dream. It is much in the public eye these days what with the realization that our Middle Class has been shrinking the past 30 years. That and the fact that more and more of America’s wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, um, pockets. And that much of that wealth shift is a result, not of changing global labor markets or disruptive technological innovations but of a collusion between America’s moneyed class (and their smarmy lobbyists) and Washington (and state/local) politicians. They’ve created laws, tax codes and regulations that favor the few over the many. E Pluribus Unum Extinctus.

It is hard for me to understand why Americans are such a complacent lot in light that so many are being hosed by so few. Complacent and confused. The confusion stems from the fact that we believe deep down in the goodness of our democratic souls that government is actually working for “all” of us. Oh, it is. But it’s working in a way that heavily favors the few over the many. Please, now apply President Reagan’s completely discredited “Trickle-Down Economics” to yourself and your family. Like what you’re left with? We are as fatted-cows complacently led to the slaughterhouse via the election booth. Moooo!

Part of the problem for many Americans is the challenge of understanding just how “rigged” our system has become. At every level of governance. And I’ve a local example that illustrates the problem.

Right now, today, the city of Orlando is planning the demolition of the old Magic basketball arena. Built with your tax dollars (contrary to the argument that they’re tourist-related tax revenue) the building was deemed obsolete and unprofitable. Regardless of the civic/aesthetic value system that constructs public buildings only to tear them down, willy-nilly, much as you would a temporary shed in your backyard, the larger question remains, why subsidize a billionaire’s private toy (a basketball team/franchise, in this instance)?

Orlando (city/county governments) felt justified constructing a $500 million new arena to replace the old. The DeVos family (said billionaires) kicked in approximately 12% of the cost with the remaining money (85%+) coming from our local tax revenues. Oh, the politicians will say, Jepson, you got it all wrong. We’re funding this half-a-billion dollar building with taxes secured from visiting tourists. It costs you (Orlando/Orange County) nothing. And, anyway tourist tax revenue can only be spent in such ways (to increase tourism).

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Why subsidize billionaires. Why invest public revenue for the benefit of billionaires? And why restrict tourist revenue in such ways? Man makes the laws anyway he/she sees fit. Period. End of story. To say we’re going to subsidize billionaires because our hands are tied, well, doofus, untie your hands.

Imagine if we had invested half-a-billion in local arts. Or Cops. Or teachers.

But, my critics will say, “We need a professional sports team cuz Orlando aspires to be world class!”

Tell that to our collective civic ego every time a millionaire Shaq or Dwight Howard says, “I love ya’all but trade me out of this two-bit market!”

Game On! . . . the “capitalist” way.

And the swindle continues.

Stuck In The Middle With You.

You may ask yourself, my god, what have I done?

Lyrics from “Once In A lifetime” by David Byrne

I was at a genuinely swell party last Saturday night at a stylish Baldwin Park address. The food and beverages were spread out over four rooms with drinks available by a glittering pool. I kissed the hostess and hugged the host.

I mingled. I chatted. I could not resist. While standing next to the dessert table (in the designated dessert room!)—and while eating brownies without even the good manners of placing them first on my plate—I asked the five folks who were generously piling sweets on their plates if they thought the Republican presidential debates would have the net affect of giving the election to the Democrats—so obviously asinine the GOP candidates, so infantile their beliefs, so absurdly simplistic their proposed policies.

One woman, taking my prompt, looked-up from the assorted delicacies and cautioned against any such confidence. In a quiet voice she suggested, in so many words, that the American electorate is not particularly bright, that “we” could be likened to that famous quote erroneously attributed to P.T. Barnum that “There’s a sucker born every minute.” I nodded approvingly.

A couple—whose eyes immediately averted downward—quickly loaded-up their plates with Bonbons and the like and hastily made for the exit. They were going to have none of this! Hrumpf! Who is this cad? To suggest that the Republican nominees are asinine, infantile and simplistic! We thought this was a party!! See if we RSVP next year!

Folks think that when I tear into Republicans that I’m blind to the shortcomings of the Democrats. But my gawd, not even my father (Mr. Republican) would go for these clowns. I think Rick Perry has even embarrassed Texans, which takes some doing. (Please recall George Bush.) Rick Santorum, if he ran the world, would outlaw birth control. That is the “pill!” What a joker! C’mon Ricky, not ever woman wants ten kids, whatever the number you’re working on. Amazing, isn’t it ladies, how men would ban birth control. If only. If only men were the ones getting pregnant. They might not be so cavalier in requiring women to have babies until their teeth fall out.

All of the candidates have swallowed the Grover Norquist/National Chamber of Commerce Kool Aid concerning taxes and government regulations. Taxes . . . Bad! Regulations . . . Bad! Government oversight . . . Bad!

If only the marketplace was liberated, was free to work its bountiful magic. If only Ayn Rand’s Objectivism was the prevalent economic system, all would be “right” in America. (Oh! And don’t forget! God likes a good return on investment, too!)

The Gilded Age of Excess never happened in America. Teddy Roosevelt never felt compelled to break-up monopolies. The Great Depression never occurred. America, today, is not inexorably moving to more wealth concentrated in fewer hands. And Noah loaded dinosaurs on the Ark.

Sometimes we have epiphanies. Humans are capable of change. I hope enough Republicans arise Election Day in a cold sweat and say, “My god, what have I done?” To my country. To America.

I’m not holding my breath.

Rather, let’s all hum along to these classic 1972 lyrics, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

Much more apropos.

Stop The Looting of America.

Hell No! We Won’t Go! It would be hard not to understand what protestors (men in this case or the women who loved them) wanted when they marched against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. There was no confusion as to the public message. I’ve watched with interest the Occupy Wall Street movement and have listened to the criticism by some that the people involved are unwashed, unruly and unsavory. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself? But mostly I’ve listened for the message. What specifically do “they” want? For themselves, for America?

The following is an attempt at capturing what I believe the protest is about, what is at stake and what needs to be done first.

Another criticism of OWS is that its message is unclear. That it is a nebulous criticism of capitalism run amuck, about economic injustice.

I unequivocally believe special interests have their finger on the scale and their hand in the till. That we’re being slipped a very real shiv in our backs by “smiling faces.” That America is being betrayed—tragically—while betraying itself.

Let me explain that last sentence. I write this at 3:24 AM on November 15th. My stomach is upset from cancer treatments and my sleeping is fitful. I’ll be fine long term but I use my specific life as an example of who is participating in the betrayal of America. People exactly like me. People who are busy. Who have “things” on their plate. Other things to do, life to enjoy. People who are living the good life—the educated, advantaged, the relatively well off—people who know better while “Rome” burns.

America is being looted not by invading Huns (or Al Qaeda) but by our fellow Americans. We witness it everyday. We read about it in our newspapers. We have it shoved in our faces on TV’s 60 Minutes (see 11/13/11 show on Congressional insider-trading – just another congressional perk). We witness it in our closing factories and in our unemployed and laid off.

We witness it in our rising poverty numbers and our shrinking middle class. We see it as our progressive tax code become less so. We see it when banks and Wall Street are beneficiaries of socialism yet people are reduced by the harsh realities of unfettered capitalism. We see it when corporations have the same rights as people.

We see it when we privatize our government, roads, and prisons. Prisons full of black men. We experience it when we forsake our environment by deregulating our air/water standards. We do that for whom exactly?

We witness it when our elected officials are outed doing sweetheart deals (legislation/regulation) for their donors/lobbyists. Or, when they personally benefit from their “public” service. (See Wekiva Parkway leg of Orlando Expressway.) We see it when 1% of the population owns 40% (and growing) of the pie.

We see it when our age is justly compared to the Gilded Age of Robber Barons. We see it when we elect crooks to office. We see it when unions and collective bargaining are characterized as un-American. We see it in our decaying infrastructure. Such a metaphor for America.

We are culpable when we blame everyone but ourselves. If America were a woman, she’s being relentlessly, repeatedly raped. We hear her screams. “Can you hear me now?”

We continue to turn our backs at our own peril.

The Major Leagues of Poverty

Okay, kids. Today’s question deals with economics. How many poor people are enough? We need’um, right? Poor people. Seemingly we do. Else, why would God create so many of them? Huh? It’s just how many poor people are the right amount?

Let’s see? America has all sorts of poor people. It does. It will be real, real hard for America, however, to get into the big leagues of poor people. China and India already have that market cornered. For generations to come. Hard to compete in the Major Leagues of poverty. But America tries. It does. Now Mexico has so many poor people it exports them. Hey Now! Isn’t that exciting! Maybe that is the way to America’s brave new future – exporting our poor! Maybe to Canada! Or, Nova Scotia.

Why is America creating so many poor of late? Well, that’s the $64,000 question. It took decades for America to gut its middle class but damn if we “ain’t” dogged in our determination to be Number One in creating poor folk. God wuvs-um you know. The poor.

There are two ways to the poor house. Haha! To the poor house. Where are you going America? To the poor house. Haha! Why? Cuz we be dumb.

How dumb be we? We are too trusting. We trust our leaders to look after all of us when they are only looking out after themselves. They are. They say America needs to be more competitive with the world. If we don’t cut wages and benefits, jobs and factories will go to Vietnam. The jobs go. Wages are cut anyway. Towns die. More jobs go. Oh, and jobs go because a Chinese factory can pollute but not so much in America. America loses jobs because it’s too clean. What a dirty rotten shame. That America has such standards.

We create trade treaties. Trade treaties you say? Yea. We trade America’s middle class for cheap foreign goods. That is the real trade! Walmart is happy. And everyone makes out “they” say. Except, chickens do come home to roost. No wage increases for decades, jobs gone and a shrunkified middle class that is broke. That is progress though. Huh? Remember today’s lesson? How many poor people are enough? Don’t forget, too. God, wuvs his poor ones. He makes so many of’um. How?

We breed’um, too. What? Yea, we say to all our poor, go ahead and breed and have more poor because every sperm and egg is real special. You’re broke, no job, no prospects, no future, no skills and your little-honey is pregnant. Yet again. And again. And again. Sex is free (and fun) except later when those babies cry because things “ain’t” working out so good. But God loves’um. From afar. Don’t-cha see. God doesn’t want birth control. He wants all his poor to be born. Poor. Least that is what the faithful say. God wuvs the faithful more because He’s bring’um home. Someday.

So America’s rich has to learn a new trick. And fast. Our poor don’t keep to themselves. Unfortunately. They go public. They stand on corners with their poor hands out. They protest. They sleep on grates and make America’s downtowns smell stinky. Those poor are stinky.

You rich folk, just drive by. Continue on. And don’t worry your pretty little selves at all about the poor because God wuvs’um. All of them. Mostly in heaven though.


Music To Fiddle While Rome Burns.

It’s merely a number. And how many of us, really, paid that much attention to it prior to America’s recent congressionally-induced financial imbroglio. Besides, as Les McCann sings on his quintessential 1969 album (Swiss Movement), “Make it real compared to what?” I speak of the recent S&P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

I’m not one to get all enamored with the hyped-prospects of the emerging markets of China, India or Brazil. No doubt those economies, today, have a vitality and energy not found in America but those nations have challenges of unimaginable proportions. Even if their respective middle classes experience phenomenal growth, there will be hundreds of millions of Chinese left in crushing poverty. Say that 700 million Chinese do indeed achieve the American dream of a suburban split-level, two cars and the deluxe stereo system, those left behind will number more than all Americans now residing in North America. What of them?

What is of particular interest to me is something that may not have occurred historically in quite the same way it will happen to America. Our nation is an imperialist power and has been so, unequivocally, since the Mexican-American war of 1848. We will experience inevitable decline. The “nut,” as they say, is unsustainable. What is dawning on Americans is their awareness that the ship of state (our nation) is taking on water, is listing starboard (tragically). We’ve lost track, as a people, of what is honorable, sustainable and democratic.

It is said of Nero, “That he fiddled while Rome burned.” It sums-up well the quality of American leadership today. The ship is sinking and our leaders, rather than correct course or bail water, point fingers and wax forever idiotic.

Obama is not the agent of change for which I hoped. He doubled-down in Afghanistan, hired as administrators the agents of our 2008 economic debacle, turned a blind eye to the corrupt greed perpetuated by America’s banks and Wall Street and lacks the spine to pursue his convictions. Perhaps that is the nut of the problem. That Obama simply does not share the values (convictions) I think necessary for a “healthy” America.

Worse, America’s Republicans are moronic. Both Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry do not believe in evolution. They may as well say that The Scientific Revolution of the 16th & 17th centuries as well as The Enlightenment simply did not occur. The other Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, believes Jesus Christ pole-vaulted across America. He and Rick Perry are the business candidates. Romney’s company purchased corporations, dismantled them, eliminating thousands of jobs and sold the remaining detritus for a profit. Yea, Baby! That’s some record of rebuilding America. Perry’s Texas miracle is an economic fraud. How stupid are we? If another ignorant Texas Governor gets the Republican nomination, we deserve our future good and hard.

Mitt Romney says a corporation is the same as you or me. Same rights? Really? One reason for a corporation is to escape liability. Well, Republicans sure do that well. Everything is Obama’s fault! Yea.

Democrats and Republicans alike are worthless as teats on a boar. One lacks the courage of their professed convictions and the other, well, they’re little more than simplistic, shameless bagmen for corporate interests.

Well, folks, put on J.S. Bach’s “Chaconne from Partita in d minor.”

Nero may have had it right, “Party-On, Garth!”

This Ain’t No Knife Fight.

It’s become a cliché but bears repeating, “Don’t show up at gun fight with a knife.” This appears to be how the Democrats approach governance with their Republican counterparts. It’s a metaphor, folks.

I could have conducted better negotiations with the Republicans than President Obama. I don’t say this lightly because politics is a knuckle-ball, grab their scrotum, take no prisoners process. But if the first chip you toss on the negotiating table is “the store,” what’s left to dicker over?

I kept waiting for the Democrat’s “end game” to become readily apparent. Alas, I am still attempting to understand how the language of the debate became so focused on Republican priorities. Oh, it is argued that is because of the 2010 elections and the Republicans becoming the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives. So what? It’s as if all the insightful, politically astute, get-your-game-on Democratic strategists are on vacation. Who exactly is advising Obama? Hello! Time to send in the “ringers.”

If I had it to do over—know what I know today—I’d support Hillary Clinton. Granted she badly bungled her Iraq war vote (no inconsequential issue for me) but I’d much rather that Clinton be negotiating, on the nation’s behalf, our domestic policy.

Facts, for many, are irrelevant today, from how we got into debt to whether economic history supports cutting government spending during such an acute recession to whether a return to Clinton level tax rates on higher income Americans would “crush” whatever recovery we are experiencing. I have my understanding of these “fiscal” considerations but many Americans think otherwise. As is their right. That said, “box of rocks” comes immediately to mind, as in, they must be dumber than a box of rocks.

It is argued that Obama thinks that liberal Democrats have no choice but to support him in 2012. That for Obama to be re-elected he must secure “sufficient” independent voters and that fact alone explains his actions and policies. For the life of me, what has Obama achieved that particularly appeals to independents?

Anyone, with half a brain on knows that Obama was handed a horrible economy and two wars. Ballooning deficits, a collapsing economy, record job losses, war. Hell, add drought and his problems are nearly Biblical in scale. It is hard to make lemonade out of any of that. It is.

But Obama’s alleged card-up-his-sleeve was his ability to be “the” great communicator. To communicate. I’m a scorekeeper and Obama has been a dismal failure in this regard. I want the debate clearly framed by putting all the cards on the table as to what exactly America confronts. Frame the message and drive it home. Day in/day out. According to Republicans “We no longer are all in this boat (America) together.” This “Gilded Age” truism needs to be tattooed on Republican foreheads.

I knew we were “had” when Obama pursued no malefactors from the 2008 economic meltdown. Too many of America’s “premier” corporations, banks and financial institutions unequivocally and criminally harmed the nation. Yet, no one swings from the yardarm. No accountability. Bonuses, ironically enough. Business as usual.

Obama, sadly, wasn’t the change we need.

We require a Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. No more showing up, under-gunned, for battle with the Clanton-like Republicans. This ain’t no knife fight.

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