The above title is a fact. It does not mean that Mrs. Romney hasn’t worked hard to raise a family. But working hard to raise a family can not be compared to experiencing the work-a-day world up close and personal. In fact, both Mitt Romney and Mrs. Romney are shockingly inexperienced and tone-deaf to the issues that those who live in the work-a-day world discuss at their kitchen tables.
The Wealthy Perceive the World As Fair & Square - Perception Is Their Reality:
Full confession here: I was raised in a wealthy family. Nothing approaching the Romney’s or any of the super-rich that define wealth in the 21st century - but fears about financial security were notably absent. My Grandfather was a CEO, my father was a lawyer and we all lived very, very well.
My mother worked and had a career prior to her marriage, she did so in the freelance world and did not have to take every job that came her way. After she married, she lived a life not unlike Ann Romney’s. And like Ann Romney, she saw the world of business and work as a decent place where people were reasonable and advancement was based on a meritocracy. During my teen years, our situation gradually changed but I didn’t have to face the work-a-day world until I was almost 20. And I confess that I was totally unprepared for how capricious and unfair it could be. And my late mother, learned vicariously through me, that her vision of the world of work was flawed. You have to experience it to “get it”.
The latest round of republican rhetoric regarding contraception has left my head spinning. Sure, I expect the social conservatives and elements in the tea party to brush off the abortion issue every four years but the out and out open attack on contraception and Planned Parenthood was beyond my wildest imaginings. Its a horrifying thing and proof positive that freedom can not be taken for granted for so much as a minute These are issues that I thought were settled either before I was born or shortly thereafter - nearly 50 years ago!
Since we are coming up on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I thought this would be an appropriate way to commemorate an event, that no matter how terrible, was one of the defining moments of the 20th century.
Thomas Frank - Pity the Billionaire:
First some true confessions. I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the past couple months. A brief illness had put me off my game for a while and somehow a good read keeps the mind vital without taxing it as much as a steady diet of writing. (In other words, I have been lazy for the past few weeks - but only for medicinal purposes.) During that time I worked my way through Thomas Frank’s “Pity the Billionaire”.
Frank has some very cogent arguments about how the far-right operates and how reality has morphed into an almost alternate universe from the rest of us. Its a place where grass is blue and the sky is green. In that topsy-turvy upside-down world one of the most glaring ironies is the resurgence of Ayn Rand. After all - corporate corruption and regulatory complacency had almost brought the entire world economy to its knees. That should have been enough to consign copies of Atlas Shrugged to the paper shredders for the next half century. But no…quite the contrary.
Ayn Rand For Dummies:
Rand contends that the true heros are the billionaires. The talented and few. They are the masters of the universe. They are our betters. They make ships like the Titanic possible. But they are also the victims. They are victims of our ingratitude. Our inability to appreciate how they have made our lives better makes them so. They employ the people who built the ship and lifted them from them from homelessness and an early grave to mere poverty. The people should be grateful to the likes of these billionaires. They are the producers. So they made a few mistakes and almost pushed us in to a second Great Depression that would have made the 1930’s seem like a cake walk - no biggie. After all, they are the JOB CREATORS! And now the job creators are on strike, refusing to hire because we, the ungrateful public have made their lives so “uncertain”.
Thanks to his cadre of talented campaign advisors, Mitt Romney has allowed us to see the man behind the curtain, revealing himself for what he truly is…an empty suit with an etch-a-sketch. Substance doesn’t matter and words are easily rewritten to match the sentiments of the constituency of the moment. The opinions and needs of the electorate certainly don’t matter. Just package your into an attractive, or at least palatable wrapping and the content becomes irrelevant. ”I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign…its almost like an etch-a-sketch. You can shake it up and start all over.” Sadly, that pretty much sum it up.
In a perverted way, perhaps we owe the Romney campaign a debt of gratitude for being honest enough to tell us the truth. The needs and priorities of “we the people” ceased to be of any concern to Washington insiders years ago. The Romney campaign is simply honest enough to dispense with any pretense.
At the end of the day, the etch-a-sketch with an empty suit is a pathetic metaphor for what our representative government has become.
As of this writing Obama has presented his plan before the American people and a joint session of Congress - A Congress that graciously begrudgingly gave him a time slot at their convenience.
The republicans are probably somewhat chastened by a brutal August among their constituents. I know for our part - New Yorkers gave Nan Hayworth little peace. The heckling started the minute she returned home and she was shadowed by angry constituents every day of her recess. One even stripped off her shirt (she was wearing a bathing suit) saying that she was losing her shirt to tea party policies. Ironic, since she was a “job creator” with her own (now outsourced) business. But I digress. It appears to have been a similar period of purgatory in other districts throughout the county. Sooooooo - doing nothing is probably not an option. But giving Obama a victory is also NOT an option.
The republicans have FINALLY found a tax hike they can get behind. Why? It increases taxes on he poor while sparing the super rich - who are carry so much water for the rest of us - from an more undo responsibility.
But in order to justify the tax hikes - there must be a villian - a group of people who can be demonized for not properly pulling their weight. What better target than Main Street America - particularly the working poor?
No this is not a parody on freedom fries and all things anti-French American.
Once my brain stopped rattling today - I came to a epiphany that had long been hibernating in the darkest corners of my mind. It was one of those “ah -hah!” moments that is generally cause for self-congratulation. But not in this case. My epiphany can summed up in a simple sentence: Our government is no longer a functioning entity.
Our Government has been hijacked a religious and ideological faction:
Our government no longer functions because it has been hijacked by by religious and ideological extremists locked in an unholy alliance with a Machiavellian oligarchy. The power rests with the monied elite in the oligarchy while the tea party extremists are merely tools for business interests. The tea party enables and the oligarchy continues to disable what little is left of our republic.
After Nov. 2010 - I thought we were through with the “silly season” of politics for a while. We had quite a time - between Carl Paladino wielding a baseball bat, Sharon Angle and her “second amendment solutions, and Christine O’Donnell - who reportedly still is not a witch. For a trip down memory lane with some prose and videos you can go to BOO!!! The Silly Season of Politics Turns Scary! or Concession Speeches dos and dont’s.
As entertaining as all this was - the specter of would-be public representatives behaving this was uniquely disturbing. The reprieve from lunacy ended abruptly with the Iowa straw polls where the politics once again descended from the merely absurd and dangerous to the insane and surreal. Once again - you can’t make this stuff up.
Ed Schultz - of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” reported that Michelle Bachman is now promising that if she became president, gasoline would return to levels not seen I was earning my Ph.D. (I think we went north of $2.00/gallon in about 2002). Promising gasoline prices less than $2.00 a gallon which would be achieved by a “drill baby, drill” policy of off-shore drilling. According to Bachman , this would increase our production by 500,000 barrels a day by 2030 - magically creating a glut of oil and lowering prices. Hmmm…..500,000 barrels a day is a drop in the bucket - no pun intended. And 2030 is almost 20 years away last I checked. Ed Schultz rightly pointed out that the price of gasoline is driven by world demand and that gasoline prices below $2.00/gallon would require a world wide economic melt-down. But then again - may be that’s the whole point. A Bachman presidency might but the catalyst to do just that. I’m just sayin’…..
From - http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/
I have long been an Obama apologist - after all we have an entrenched “tea party” of freshman congressmen along with massively corrupt DC infrastructure thanks to unlimited campaign funds from big business. Obama entered office at the worst possible time. There is a common saying which is actually a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” A worse curse might will be “May you win high office in interesting times.” Politics - after all - is the art of the possible. Those who dig in and won’t budge - in the end won’t last.
However, the president’s performance this week tells me that he may not have what it takes to govern in this environment. He is first and foremost a constitutional lawyer and a scholar. Nothing wrong with that. I would rather have a scholar than a cowboy like Bush as POTUS in such a challenging environment.
Obama gave his response to the House’s so-called 2012 budget on Thursday. In that speech he invoked the two R’s - Reagan and revenue! Although I agree that invoking Ronald Reagan and Bush 43 for their reckless and his tax cuts to make a point about revenue loss over time puts the blame where it belongs - I do see it as something of a missed opportunity.
Reagan - Revenue - & GE…
Lest I seem “soft on the republicans” for creating this mes let me digress a moment and refer back to a recent article in the New York Times“G.E.’s Strategies Let it Avoid Taxes Altogether”. In that wonderful example of journalism (and I mean that sincerely) there is a passage about Reagan and corporate tax loopholes…Even in the 80s GE had managed to create some rather aggressive “creative accounting” that allowed it to legally avoid paying large sums in taxes. The loopholes that this type of gamesmanship involved were closed by none other than Ronald Reagan himself - who commented to his Treasury Secretary “I didn’t realize things had gotten that far out of line.”