Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvest Of The Grapes Of Wrath

The Working Poor build castles in the sand. The Middle Class live in them. The Power Elite collect the rent. This is what happened during the drought of 2011-2013.(CBS Evening News, Sept 27, 2012)

"Turns out the U.S.’s GDP is already suffering. The Commerce Department on Thursday said the economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.3% in the second quarter, a steep drop from the first quarter’s 2% and the fourth quarter’s 4.1% — and significantly lower than the government’s earlier estimates of 1.7% and 1.5%. (This is the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s third and final take on second-quarter GDP — the one that usually doesn’t yield big revisions.)" (Shah 2012) (CBS Evening News 2012)

"The worst drought in more than half a century baked more than two thirds of the continental United States this summer and its harsh effects continue to plague the parched cities and towns of the Great Plains. More than half of Texas is having a drought that is rated severe or worse, and more than 95 per cent of Oklahoma is rated as experiencing the more serious category of extreme drought.The entire state of Kansas is rated in severe drought, with 88 per cent of the state falling into the more serious "extreme" drought category. The designation comes as farmers struggle to plant winter wheat." ((Gillam, Reuters September 27, 2012)

"The portion of the United States under 'exceptional' drought - the most dire classification - rose to 6.12 percent from 5.96 percent a week earlier. Conditions were most severe in the High Plains, with severe or worse drought levels covering 83.80 percent of the region, up from 82.81 percent the prior week, according data gathered by federal and academic climatologists that was released on Thursday. More than 24 percent of the region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, was in the worst level of drought, dubbed 'exceptional." (Reuters September 27, 2012)

"Because the old kind of laborers, Mexicans and Filipinos, are being deported and repatriated very rapidly, while on the other hand the river of dust bowl refugees increases all the time, it is this new kind of migrant that we shall largely consider. The earlier foreign migrants have invariably been drawn from a peon class. This is not the case with the new migrants." (Thomas 2011)

 (Thomas 2011) "They are small farmers who have lost their farms, or farm hands who have lived with the family in the old American way. They are men who have worked hard on their own farms and have felt the pride of possessing and living in close touch with the land." 

 (Thomas 2011) "They are resourceful and intelligent Americans who have gone through the hell of the drought, have seen their lands wither and die and the top soil blow away; and this, to a man who has owned his land, is a curious and terrible pain."

 (Thomas 2011) "They are descendants of men who crossed into the middle west, who won their lands by fighting, who cultivated the prairies and stayed with them until they went back to desert.  And because of their tradition and their training, they are not migrants by nature. They are gypsies by force of circumstances."

 (Thomas 2011) "from John Steinbeck. Grapes of Wrath. New York: Knopf, 1993, pp 264 and The Harvest Gypsies, Article I published in the San Francisco News, October 5, 1936 as found at The New Deal Network, The Harvest Gypsies."

"Texas has endured its worst one-year drought in recorded history." (Gailbraith, August 2011) 

Drought is hindering agricultural production across the Midwest and has driven up corn and soy prices. Ethanol production is down, but has already taken 40% of the corn crop. Only about a quarter of national corn and soy crops are reported to be in good condition.

Fires have burned in parts of the drought afflicted Southwest, affecting millions of acres. In Missouri, as in other sections of the country, hay production has fallen precipitating livestock sales as producers are unable to feed them.

"Get used to fires -- bigger, hotter, longer fires. As William DeBuys recently wrote for TomDispatch, 'A lethal combination of drought, insect plagues, windstorms, and legions of dead, dying, or stressed-out trees constitute what some pundits are calling wildfire's 'perfect storm.' But DeBuys cautions that it's not really a 'storm' in the sense that it's not 'sudden, violent, and temporary.' No, the conditions that are feeding fire seasons are really what many scientists think will be the 'new normal." (Lohan 2012)

"If you surf the blogosphere looking for fire information, pretty quickly you’ll notice a dust devil of “facts” blowing back and forth: big fires are four times more common than they used to be; the biggest fires are six-and-a-half times larger than the monster fires of yesteryear; and owing to a warmer climate, fires are erupting earlier in the spring and subsiding later in the fall. Nowadays, the fire season is two and a half months longer than it was 30 years ago." (deBuys 2012)

Scenarios for higher heat-trapping gas emissions producing climate changes affecting national ability to produce food, feed, and livestock products have already come to be seen this year. "Increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity...{and} swine, beef, and milk production are all projected to decline in a warmer world". The foraging availability has already been seen to decline because of the effect of increasing carbon dioxide on plant nitrogen and protein content, whereas weeds and pests benefit. "Fruits, vegetables, and grains can suffer even under well-watered conditions if temperatures exceed the maximum level for pollen viability in a particular plant; if temperatures exceed the threshold for that plant, it won't produce seed....and....reproduce."  (US Global Change Research Program Impacts 2011)

A clear parallel may be drawn that the current severe drought has much in common with the 1930s “Dust Bowl” drought as does the recent recession did with the Great Depression, and the common denominator being the present regressive congressional and election year political situation. And across the U.S., climate predictions show an ever increasing decrease in summer precip as global temps increase. Therefore, the 2012 U.S. drought has implications for weakening the current recovery while contributing to famine in the developing world. And food prices are expected to rise aproximately 5% across the board according to Dept of Agricultural estimates. But I suspect even higher price hikes. 

The sunshine patriot himself R-money will be playing the crowd at the upcoming debates, while America's heartland withers away with no relief from what a Farm Bill may have provided this unusual drought and wildfire season. Some areas have been going on two years of the same oppressive conditions.

"Call it Jurassic Park or Dinosaur Train: Mitt Romney’s team of energy and economic advisers, like his energy plan, is dominated by fossil fuels. Romney’s energy team relies on the expertise of lobbyists, coal and oil industry insiders, several of whom crafted the polluter agenda of the George W. Bush administration, a trend Politico described as, “Bush-era energy policy wonks … finding a new home with Mitt Romney.” (Leber, 2012) 

With more than half of United State's counties declared disaster areas as of the first of August (Muskal 2012), Congress went home on the sixth of August for an entire month, also leaving millions of people in need of food stamps in the lurch when the present Farm Bill expires (Abrams 2012). The House Teapublicans are obstructing again by inaction, in favor of deep cuts to those that need the help the most in the SNAP progam, as well as leaving be the necessary negotiations to reconcile the House farm aid version with the Senate version of the bill. If they were firefighters, this would be the equivalent of returning to the station and shutting the door to have dinner while the bells are going off.

With a quarter of the country experiencing an exceptionally severe drought that is expected only to deepen, with the government projecting that much of the spring’s record corn planting will wither away, with significant damage to soybean and wheat crops and with prices for feed at record levels, farmers and ranchers are increasingly anxious about the gridlock in Washington.” (Steinhauer 2012)

( Leonard2012) "The dysfunction doesn’t end there. Conservative activist groups also opposed the House bill, on the grounds that 'farmers and livestock owners should have known better'{ Wasson 2012}"

“The food stamp program would take a $16.5 billion cut over the next 10 years. The bill also makes changes to eligibility requirements, and the Congressional Budget Office said two million to three million people would lose their food stamp benefits. Nearly 300,000 children would also be ineligible for the free lunch program under the new bill, the budget office found. Farm programs are not spared. If Congress does not pass a farm bill by Sept. 30, more than 100 farm programs would expire.”( Nixon 2012)

"In the midst of a severe drought, the House Republican leaders are proposing to walk away from farm states and decades of precedent by not calling up the new five-year plan before the current law expires Sept. 30. (Rogers 2012)

(Rogers 2012)"Whatever its flaws, the bill promises $35 billion in 10-year savings from exactly the type of mandatory spending that Congress promised to tackle in last summer’s debt accord. But rather than disrupt its political messaging, the GOP would put it all at risk by delaying action until after the November elections."

(Rogers 2012)"No, the real reason for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to delay the farm bill is not because there will be better answers after the election. It’s because he doesn’t like the answers he sees before."

"Democrats in the House have pledged to use every tool at their disposal to stop House Republicans from slashing $16.1 billion from food assistance programs over the next 10 years in their version of the 2012 Farm Bill (...) "These proposed cuts show a total disregard for the real impact they would have on hungry kids and families across the country," Connecticut Democrat Rep. Rosa DeLauro said at a press conference Tuesday."(US News, Wire Services, July 11, 2012)

(US News 2012)"DeLauro says between two to three million people would completely lose their benefits and about 300,000 kids would not be able to receive free school lunches. "These cuts are a slap in the face to millions of people trying to make ends meet," says California Democrat Rep. Lynn Woolsey."

 (US News 2012)"Forty-five million Americans rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) every year. And that number has grown exponentially since late 2007 when the country dipped into a recession. The Center on Budget Policy Priorities estimates about three-quarters of SNAP participants are families with children, and more than 25 percent of homes on SNAP have a senior citizen or a disabled person under their roof."

"We actually have until about Jan. 1 before we run into a lot of administrative problems with this bill reverting to some very high prices," says Mary Kay Thatcher, director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation.".(Rovner 2012)

(Rovner 2012)"That's because while the date on the law matches the federal fiscal year, the 2008 measure covers all of 2012's crops. So even if they haven't been harvested yet, things growing now are covered by the 2008 legislation. The first crop that would be affected by the new price supports 'would be next spring when we harvest winter wheat,' Thatcher says."

"Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit.." (Corn 2012)

The point is, R-money and friends have been reaping the wrong harvest. Instead of culling voters from swing and other states that may be inclined to vote for their own preservation, the Teapublican's power elite need to be helping to mitigate the biggest agricultural disaster since the Dustbowl of the 1930s. In these times, the Teabillies are just going to reap what they DIDN'T sow, and that's the support of the American people who can still see through the dust kicked up by the Teapublican masters' TV propaganda machine. 

"Extreme weather jeopardizes farmers and our food supply. Rural economies that are the backbone of the country are fragile. Our health is being threatened by a food system driven by corporate interests. We don't have a lot of time," said executive director Carolyn Mugar. "Now, more than ever before, we must grow a better food and farming system."  (PRNewswire-USNewswire, Yahoo News, Sept 22, 2012)

"Right now, family farmers all across the country are facing extreme drought conditions that have devastated their crops and dried up their pastures. Many farmers have lost their crops, and with them their income for the year. For livestock and dairy farmers, the cost to keep their animals fed will obliterate their earnings. These farmers who are most at risk are the farmers who are building the local food systems that are so crucial for thriving local economies and emerging food systems." ( 2012)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Only The Stench Survive

Or Why the Teapublican Tailspin Tommies Should Buy the Farm !!

New hurdles creating a suspiciously timed gauntlet just before the Federal elections in November are clearly being intentionally directed by the 2010 Teapublican wave that has created misrepresentation at all levels of government. During a period of national economic crisis, not to mention war, the only laws that appear to have been drawn up and passed are primarily regarding abortion and voter suppression to help win back the presidency and consolidate their power nationwide.

"The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s. (Keyes, Millhiser, Van Ostern, White, "Voter Supression 101" April 2012)

"Now, back when our great-grandparents were riding that Underground Railroad, back when John Lewis was marching across that bridge in Selma, and Jim Clyburn was sitting in an Orangeburg jail, the injustices we faced were written in big, bold letters on the face of our laws.  And while we may have had our differences over strategy, the battles we needed to fight were very clear." (Michelle Obama, Sept 23, 2012)

(Michelle Obama, Sept 23, 2012) "We knew that to end slavery, we needed a proclamation from our President, an amendment to our Constitution.  To end segregation, we needed the Supreme Court to overturn the lie of "separate but equal."  To reach the ballot box, we needed Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act."

(Michelle Obama, Sept 23, 2012) "See, these are the types of decisions that are made by the folks in our city halls and our state legislatures, by folks in our statehouses, in our Congress, and, yes, in our White House.  And who's responsible for selecting those public servants?  Who is ultimately responsible for the decisions they make -- or don't make?  We are.  That’s our job.  As citizens of this great country, that is our most fundamental right, our most solemn obligation -- to cast our ballots and have our say in the laws that shape our lives."

(Michelle Obama, Sept 23, 2012) "You see, today, the connection between our laws and our lives isn’t always as obvious as it was 50 or 150 years ago.  And as a result, it’s sometimes easy to assume that the battles in our courts and our legislatures have all been won.  It’s tempting to turn our focus solely to what’s going on in our own lives and our own families, and just leave it at that." 

Other studies indicate that there already exist various pressures of daily life that prevent some people from registering and following through to vote: "The survey found that 28 percent of infrequent voters and 23 percent of those unregistered said they do not vote or do not register to vote because they are too busy....Still, 93 percent of infrequent voters agreed that voting is an important part of being a good citizen and 81 percent of nonvoters agreed it is an important way to voice their opinions on issues that affect their families and communities." (Longley 2012)

(Longley 2012) "Who are the non-voters? The survey found that nonvoters are disproportionately young, single, less educated and more likely to be of an ethnic minority than infrequent and frequent voters. 40 percent of nonvoters are under 30 years old, compared to 29 percent of infrequent voters and 14 percent of frequent voters. Infrequent voters are much more likely to be married than nonvoters, with 50 percent of infrequent voters married compared to only 34 percent of nonvoters. 76% of nonvoters have less than a college degree, compared to 61 percent of infrequent voters and 50 percent of frequent voters. Among nonvoters, 54 percent are white or Caucasian compared to 60 percent of infrequent voters and 70 percent of frequent voters."

Young people may be included in the apathetic group, and now disheartened as well, lacking in the idealism that was displayed so prominently in 2008, with disaffection even beginning to resemble nihilism (Saulny 2012)

 I believe in taking collective responsibility and speaking out against the new Red state voting suppression moves. First, some appear clearly aimed against black folk, in the early voting periods that allow church groups to assist in taking "souls to the polls" after they assemble in their respective churches. The problems with Ohio's system of 88 Election Boards were well documented in 2004, with long lines of mostly African Americans at the polls waiting to cast their ballots. (Dao, Fessenden, Zeller 2004)

(Michelle Obama, Sept 23, 2012) "Congressman Lewis understood the importance of that right. That's why he faced down that row of billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, risking his life so we could one day cast our ballots.  As he put it, "…your vote is precious, almost sacred.  It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union."

Rep John Lewis (D-GA), an early and highly respected participant in the Civil Right Movement himself,   took his protest right to the floor of the House of Representatives: "Each and every voter ID law is a real threat to voting rights in America. Make no mistake, these voter ID laws are a poll tax. I know what I saw during the 60s. I saw poll tax. And you cannot deny that these ID laws are another form of a poll tax. In an economy where people are already struggling to pay for the most basic necessities, there are too many citizens that would be unable to afford the fees and transportation costs involved in getting government issued photo Ids. Despite all the voter ID laws across the country, there’s no convincing evidence — no evidence at all — that voter fraud is a problem in our election problem." (Somanader,2011)

 Rep. Lewis further states: "It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled," Lewis says. "Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. It’s precious. It’s almost sacred. We have to use it. If not, we will lose it." (Goodman 2012) (Matthews, "Hardball" interview with Rep. Lewis 2012)

The US House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, long associated with the Civil Rights Movement, outlined the prejudicial photo ID bill recently enacted in his state, comparing it with the Jim Crow laws:  “It was effective then, and if we aren’t vigilant, it will be effective today,” Clyburn said. “We must make sure that people are aware of the danger to our democracy.” (Rosen 2012)

"[I]f you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and - and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally - and very transparently - block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it's nothing short of that blatant." (Smith, 2011) 

"Whenever one speaks of crows, its wisest not to be too definite. The behavior of crows can vary widely from place to place. However, we can say that in many places, crows will gather in fall and winter to spend the night in large communal roosts containing several hundred to many thousand birds." (Westerfield 2010)

Besides not having the correct identification required under new onerous procedures ("poll taxes"), many elderly people of all backgrounds are unable to get around on the poor public transportation systems both in the urban centers and the rural areas, where they may be non existent. Remember that such buses and the like may not even be available on Election Day, or run on greatly reduced "holiday" schedules. We all need now to plan accordingly to encourage people to get out and vote.

  Hispanics are already intimidated by law enforcement and language barriers in some states or have become apathetic enough by false promises on immigration reform so that their increasing power as a voting bloc is already diminished instead of growing. In Florida recently the state sent out voter "purge" lists to the county Election commissioners. "That list included so many people of color that some voting rights advocates insisted the purge is a database-driven example of old-fashioned voter intimidation, discrimination and suppression. Nearly 60 percent of the voters on the list are Latino, yet Hispanic voters make up only 16 percent of the state's electorate. 'If that's not disparate impact, I really don't know what is,' said Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida." (Ross 2012)

"After all, Romney’s deficit in the polls is not a momentary blip. He hasn’t led in the polls since 2011. And as Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien point out in ‘The Timeline of Presidential Elections,’ in the last 15 elections, which are all the elections we have accurate polling for, every candidate who has led in the polls at this point in the cycle has gone on to win in November. It would be literally unprecedented for Romney to mount a comeback at this stage." (Klein, Washington Post, Sept 24, 2012)

(Klein 2012) "Which isn’t to say it can’t happen. But time is running short. Romney’s probably got at least until the first debate to show he can make up some ground. But if he’s not able to make some big gains soon, his last remaining advantage could collapse."

(Klein 2012) "At some point, if Romney looks likely to lose, the RNC and the super PACs are going to move to a strategy of damage control, flooding House and Senate races with cash in order to assure that most anything Obama attempts to do in a second term will have to make it through a Republican Congress."

"Knowledge of our system of government is not handed down through the gene pool. … The habits of citizenship must be 
learned … But we have neglected civic education for the past several decades, and the results are predictably dismal."

— Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

"Ignorance is the father of fear, and knowledge is the mother of trust." (Coley and Sum 2012)

“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are pressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.” 
― George Orwell, 1984

All of these measures are not simply tactics, they're really being legislated into American law and therefore lay claim to the lame defense of "states' rights". But that's precisely what the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and it's subsequent extensions of Section 5 is designed to protect us from.

It now appears that we need the protection more than ever before, and in more states than originally intended, which is so sad, with the Republican party trying to drag us back to pre-Civil Rights Movement times, and even to earlier centuries in terms of women's reproductive rights. You can also intuitively feel that this is the real reason why the Republicans were clumsily going after our Attorney General Holder in a transparently false witch hunt, resulting in the congressional equivalent of a legal lynching holding him in contempt. It's no accident that he was picked to be made an example of the showing of Teapublican legislative power in an attempt to intimidate all those who oppose them.

Still, the hurdles thrown up against the American public's right to vote do not justify inaction, especially now when the stakes are so high for the correction of congressional misrepresentation by incumbents who may be either such ineffective or recalcitrant political hacks that the gears of lawmaking have ground to a virtual halt. These "non-lawmakers" seem to have be born in the wrong republic, since they only wish to act as if they were members of parliment in a foreign land as adroitly as Mittwitt keeps his investment counselor retirement nest egg taxed at 15% buried in treasure chests around the Carribean and in "the old countries"strongboxes.  "When it comes to civil rights, and voting rights, the party of Lincoln -- the party of Everett Dirksen -- sure has come a long way." (Cohen 2012) 

And the presidential choice is now so obvious that it might seem to be an easy selection to a simpleton, but unfortunately as we have seen misinformed simpletons predominate in red states and overpopulate even some swing states. The dumbing down of the electorate to the point that 20% of "low information" voters who get all their so-called "information" from Fox Noise adds more peril to the integrity of our democracy. 

Get out the vote as if you life depended on it, because this November it actually does. This is especially important for those in the 47% as defined by the Mittwitt Tailspin Tommies, who at their core have the moral compass of a weathervane in a Great Plains tornado. But it's not just about Kansas anymore. The Great Tax Wizard has a plan for the middle class that will doom us all into second class citizenry. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Mittness Tax Scam Protection Progam

Or How to Grow Your Hard Earned Cash Overseas Instead of Investing it Back into America

After R-money released his 2011 tax returns on Friday night (of all media times) and declared that he paid just under 14% and claimed an average of a 20% tax rate  average annual effective tax rate of about 20.2 percent between 1990 and 2009 in a PriceWaterhouseCooper summarized report, not the actual returns.

Besides getting that extension to doctor the charitable amount to keep the campaign pledge to a certain percentage, there is still nothing to show to the contrary that he probably still has those blocking accounts to shield the completely unexplained stuffed IRA that had impossible deposits from time to time.

"Mysteries also arise when one looks at Romney’s individual retirement account at Bain Capital. When Romney was there, from 1984 to 1999, taxpayers were allowed to put just $2,000 per year into an I.R.A., and $30,000 annually into a different kind of plan he may have used. Given these annual contribution ceilings, how can his I.R.A. possibly contain up to $102 million, as his financial disclosures now suggest?" (Shaxson, "Where the Money Lives", "Vanity Fair", Aug 2012)

"All we know is really that it's a big number, and we're a little bit baffled as to how it got so big,' Sheppard says. Candidates list their assets in broad ranges, so we know Romney's retirement account is worth somewhere between $21 million and $102 million. Law professor Ed Kleinbard of the University of Southern California says that's a lot of money considering the most Romney could ever contribute to the account was $30,000 a year." (Horsley, NPR, Sept 23, 2012)

(Horsley, NPR, Sept 23, 2012) "Either Gov. Romney is sort of the modern-day equivalent of Jack and his magic beans, who somehow created a mighty beanstalk, or he took a very aggressive position with respect to valuing insider stock,' Kleinbard says."

And all those Cayman/Bermuda accounts in his so-called "blind trust" to keep running that 15% max tax rate he enjoys as "carried interest" only allowed as compensation to certain ACTIVE private-equity execs, even though he claims to have retired from Bain long ago. This IS unethical on it's face.

"Why would anybody (or anybody’s blind-trust manager) put his money in the Cayman Islands if there were no tax benefit? Douglas Holz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office Director who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, and now runs a conservative think tank, offered this explanation a couple of days ago on the National Review Web site: ' Almost everybody with a global business has a Cayman subsidiary, as do many U.S. colleges and universities. Why? First and foremost, any venture interested in having the participation of foreign investors needs a location that has a strong rule of law, well-developed financial services, and is outside the reach of the IRS. International investors need the protections and financial services, and have no desire to have their investments entangled with the IRS. The Caymans, along with Bermuda, the Bahamas, and others fit the bill." (Noah, "Romney Claims No Tax Advantage In The Caymans", "The New Republic", Sept 21, 2012)

(Noah Sept 21, 2012) "Now, it’s my understanding that the IRS is in business to collect taxes. So if you want your money to be “outside the reach of the IRS” that means you don’t want the IRS to take it away. How can Holz-Eakin and Romney claim otherwise? It turns out they’re playing word games. The taxes you evade by putting your money in the Caymans aren’t your own personal income taxes, but your offshore investment fund’s corporate income taxes."

(Noah Sept 21, 2012) "In striking contrast to nearly every other developed country, the United States continues to tax worldwide earnings of corporations. Thus, for example, if an international investment headquartered in the Caymans earns $100 in Brazil, it will first pay the $15 in tax due to Brazil. For other international investors, that is the end of the story."

(Noah Sept 21, 2012) "U.S. investors, however, must then pay a second layer of tax to the U.S. government, bringing their tax rate up to the U.S. level of 35 percent. This additional $20 is owed, however, only when the earnings are brought back to the United States (“repatriated”). If the funds merely flow back to the Cayman-based subsidiary, the tax is not yet due."

He's been flat out lying about the "blind trust" administrator, even though it's been publicly known that it's one and the same as his own privately retained lawyer, so he can keep the "attorney-client privilege" going to direct the accounts discreetly.

"The Romneys’ blind trust was created when Mitt was elected governor of Massachusetts. (...)The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer." (Shaxson, "Where the Money Lives", "Vanity Fair", Aug 2012)

(Shaxson 2012) “What Romney does not get,” says Jack Blum, a veteran Washington lawyer and offshore expert, “is that this stuff is weird.” (...) The Washington Post summarized the opinions of experts across the political spectrum by saying Romney’s disclosures were “the most opaque they have encountered.”

The key is obviously to transfer funds to your offshore account to safeguard it there, where it will build by interest and or as collateral for any loans you may wish to take, all tax free until the funds are repatriated. But most never are, according to the offshore banking industry and government sources.

" Mitt Romney saved himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes in 2010 by transferring stock in two companies from his personal account to a nonprofit entity he set up. The stock maneuver included $172,397 in shares of Sensata Technologies, a company now under fire for a high-profile effort to offshore central Illinois jobs to China." (Grim and Carter, Sept 23, 2012)

(Grim and Carter, Sept 23, 2012) "Romney had received the Sensata stock as part of a Bain payout; he listed no cost for it on his tax return. By transferring that stock to his nonprofit Tyler Charitable Foundation, he avoided roughly $25,000 in capital gains taxes he would have owed. He also shaved an additional $50,000 off his tax bill by deducting the charitable contribution from his income."

(Grim and Carter, Sept 23, 2012) "In 2010, Romney also transferred about $1.3 million worth of stock in Domino's Pizza to his nonprofit, which shaved about $600,000 off his tax bill. He reported paying nothing for the pizza shares, having acquired them as part of Bain's takeover of the company."

So Rmoney's foreign holdings are his own best examples of some of the numerous loopholes that he claims he will close to support his "revenue neutral" magic budget.

As if these shortcomings weren't comprehensible to the average voter, much less the average investor. Give me a break (too) !

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Romney's Rolling Calamity Roadshow

"The Romney campaign has to get turned around," she wrote. "This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity. (...) In her column, Noonan said Romney has the opportunity to gain momentum during the presidential debates. The month between the first debate and Election Day is enough time for a "healthy spiral" to begin, she said." (Condon, CBS Campaign 2012)

Not likely. Nothing appears to be of any help for the CEO who's been thinking he's a candidate for the last seven years or so. The Electoral College odds say so. And Wall Street seems about to be putting their next batch of ill gotten gains anywhere but in Mittwitt's mouth.

“There are only about 50 days left for the presidential campaigns,” says Doug Kass, a hedge-fund manager at Seabreeze Partners Management, ”and regardless of one’s political views, as we move closer to the first week of November, time brings greater clarity as to who will win the election. It is generally recognized that the Romney campaign is now in trouble.” (Vigna, WSJ, Sept 18, 2012)

(Vigna, WSJ, Sept 18, 2012)  "The general Street wisdom is that Republicans in the White House do better by the stock market than Democrats (President Obama’s count on this score notwithstanding). But in this case, a Romney implosion and clear Obama victory might help the market (we have no horse in this race, mind you, so keep your shirt on). Why? Because of the fiscal cliff."

(Vigna, WSJ, Sept 18, 2012) "The fiscal cliff is a daunting headwind on its own, but imagine how much worse it would be, our colleague Kathleen Madigan writes over on Real Time Economics, if there was a protracted legal battle after Election Day to figure out who actually won (think Bush-Gore 2000)"

Even the Rasputin of evil in American politics Karl Rove cast his curse upon Mittwitt's campaigning:

“You have to shake your head. Gov. Romney went to the London Olympics at invitation of the International Olympic Committee. It was a great opportunity for him to talk about his experiences, look, he stepped away from the leadership of Bain Capital for three years in order to step in and save the floundering Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. I bet there is lots of stories he could be talking about what a wonderful experience that was and how uplifting and inspiring it was. Instead he got stuck making a, somehow or another that the comments the Brits took as insult, and walked it back pretty quickly and walked it back adroitly but nonetheless the damage was done." (Francois, July 28, 2012)

"The trend over the last three days is clearer: Mr. Obama’s forecast is up from a 72.9 percent chance of winning the Electoral College on Tuesday. However, he remains off his highest point in the forecast early last week, when he topped out at 80.8 percent." (Silver, NYT, Sept 21, 2012) (Yahoo News 2012)

So we have a winner. Can anyone even remotely suggest a chain of events that might lead to the likelihood of the Mittwitt  getting a bump, or even regain his lead after the debates? I didn't think so. Yes, of COURSE this is not the time for liberals and the primarily progressive thinking American public to lay back on it's laurels. The danger of a further Teapublican theft of democracy by way of civil rights still looms large, and needs to be thwarted. These favorable polls are only a harbinger of things to come from those likely to vote, not the actual turnout which appears to favor those Teabillies enthusiastic of making a last stand. 

Now why has the Mittwitt proved to be such a poor candidate ? Well that's simple, and has no need of long winded explanations by now. While businessmen have nearly always made poor presidents and few have even tried being such strange bedfellows, now it is abundantly clear that CEOs do not both a candidate and campaign director make. 

(Condon, CBS Campaign 2012) "{Peggy Noonan} suggested the campaign should look to James Baker III, who served as chief of staff in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, for inspiration and insight into how to run a campaign. 'Mr. Baker's central insight: The candidate can't run the show,' Noonan writes. 'He can't be the CEO of the campaign and be the candidate." 

"Joe Scarborough agreed, characterizing Romney as a “control freak” who can’t let go or delegate to others." (Alvarez, Sept 21, 2012) Finally, something I agree with "Morning Joe's" unfortunate namesake. 

Romney's style at Bain never even included the usual corporate board of directors process, usually retaining all these posts for himself and directing his company in a manipulative and dictatorial style of management, not easily described as leadership. 

“The Boston-based venture capitalist likes to be in control. ‘(At SLOC) I don’t have the kind of control I’m used to in thebusiness world,’ he said. ‘When I was involved in (the resurrection of the beleaguered international firm BainConsulting), I insisted on having almost dictatorial powers. … That was essential.’” (Lisa Riley Roche, “Mitt ExemplifiesThe New Openness Sought For SLOC,” Deseret News , 2/12/99)

As a corporate cultist as it were, "cults have a shared commitment to a charismatic leader and uphold a transcendent ideology, the nature of which varies dramatically from group to group but which is as likely to be secular in nature as it is religious". (Lalich, 2004).

"In particular, Maccoby (2000) suggests that many charismatic leaders are narcissists. They have a strong need for power, high self confidence and strong convictions (De Vries et al, 1999). However, whatever their virtues, narcissists tend to be overly sensitive to criticism, can be poor listeners, lack empathy, have a distaste for mentoring and display an intense desire to compete (Maccoby, 2000).

In addition, Conger (1990: 50) has argued that charismatic leaders may find themselves prone to:
Exaggerated self-descriptions.
Exaggerated claims for the vision.
A technique of fulfilling stereotypes and images of uniqueness to manipulate audiences.
A habit of gaining commitment by restricting negative information and maximizing positive information.
Use of anecdotes to distract attention away from negative statistical information.
Creation of an illusion of control through affirming information and attributing negative outcomes to external causes."

 (Tourish and Vatcha, "Charismatic Leadership and Corporate Cultism at Enron: The Elimination of Dissent, the Promotion of Conformity and Organizational Collapse" 2005) 

"People suspect, perhaps correctly, that Romney really doesn’t believe all the things he’s saying. … [S]uch hypocrisy, which turns off voters, is something like a job requirement for CEOs. In the executive suite, abandoning deeply held attitudes and reversing positions are job requirements." ((Daniel Gross, “The CEO Candidate,”, 2/26/07) 

And so we no longer need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows from Tampa. It blows against thee, Romney. Pass the grey poupon s'il vous plait ? 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bad Boys Billionaires Club

What's Wrong with this Picture ?

Ok conspiracy theorists, help me out here. You all seemingly have theories to explain every darn thing. Well this one just defies explanation. Why would a candidate for the highest office in the land just try to capitalize on the first grave national security crisis that he could ?

The obvious is clear. You can count on one hand the number of businessmen in the 20th Century of the United State that have become  occupiers  of the White House AND effective leaders. One is Harry Truman, and events of 1948 seem to be repeating themselves for the 2012 election year. And one might attempt to make the case for George H.W. Bush, but he got ushered out after one term by a failing economy. (Allan 2012)

"The fact is that no successful businessman has ever been a successful president, and only a few have even been serious contenders for the job." (Kazin 2012)

"This is not to say that no successful businessmen have ever become president. A few have, among them Warren G. Harding (an Ohio newspaper publisher and editor), Herbert Hoo­ver (a multi-millionaire mining engineer, investor, and consultant), and Jimmy Car­ter (a Georgia peanut farmer and warehouse owner)." (Purdum 2012)

I don't count Jimmy Carter as one of them myself, since he was also an accomplished junior naval officer.  During his presidency it was the only time we were not at war in recent history, which is remarkable, considering the turn of events during the Cold War. What prevented his second term was at the end of his presidency that age old harbinger of doom the slumping economy combined with the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis that exposed a military inept in joint operations through the failed Desert One operation.

"John Stewart puts it bluntly: .'The truth is that you search in vain for a single example — just one — of a successful businessman who then took his business experience and used it to become a successful president of the United States. " (Shields 2012)

(Shields 2012) "Why is this the case? Because, according to Stewart, 'running a successful business venture — like Bain Capital, to pick one at random — has almost nothing in common with leading the United States as her president."

Now we are faced with an effective elitest businessman who runs for consecutive higher office as a rich man's hobby. He appears to consider the methods of attaining the highest office in the land much as a souless corporate raider would do.  There is no trace of "compassionate conservatism here" even though he surrounds himself with the bumblers of the last eight years of Republican treasury squandering. Even more represented are the architects of their professional war mongering, the likes of which we thought that we lost to the dust bins of history years ago.

"But what’s troublesome about Romney on foreign policy is what’s cooking behind the scenes. Gen. Colin Powell recently complained that Romney’s foreign policy team is 'quite far to the right.' Indeed, veterans of the Bush/Cheney administration 'pepper' Romney’s foreign policy team and the so-called 'Cheney-ites' are reportedly winning the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s ear." (Beauchamp, Gharib 2012)

“C’mon Mitt, think,” Powell said of Romney’s recent statement that Russia is America’s “number-one geopolitical foe.” Powell cautioned Romney against listening too closely to his advisers, some of whom are “quite far to the right” in his esteem, and Powell hinted that, perhaps, the candidate was being influenced by some dangerous ideas." (Good 2012)

"Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran." (Berman 2012)

"Democrats generally try to win elections, while the Republican Party, because it represents a fading demographic minority, is forced to steal them. The Republicans steal them primarily with money, but also with voter suppression and disenfranchisement laws that reduce turnout among the young, students and racial minorities. The Republicans are hoping to dampen or prevent turnout among anti-war voters just enough to squeeze themselves back into power. (...) Obama also will have avert a war over Iran while arguing that Romney—a close friend and former business partner of Netanyahu—would be more likely to support one for political gain." (Hayden 2012)

" Chris Matthews: Look at the army of the night riding behind the presumptive Republican nominee. It’s an army of neocons for lack of a better word. They bring war with them in every election. An agenda of a country they want us to fight. People voted for W, they got Iraq. Why? Because the army poised behind the uninformed ill-read W knew what he didn’t. When 9/11 struck, they struck. This time it’s Iran." (Jones 2012)

(Jones 2012) "But don’t think they’re going to end it there. These old cold warriors haven’t been happy since the Berlin wall fell. Listen to Romney’s words. He didn’t write them himself. He’ll say what it takes to get the right wing behind him. But the right wing will follow him right to the White House. They will grab the levers of military power like Rumsfeld and Cheney before them. And they will use them. You can bet on that…"

What is so suspicious about his candidancy now is that he had been caught on video expounding his predatory strategy for not only a do-nothing foreign policy for the Middle East but also as an opportunist just looking for an excuse to pounce on any crisis there that may arise. (Schultz 2012)

There are just too many multiples of hundreds of millions of dollars coming from fairly impressive lists of billionaire backers that ANYTHING is plausible as a cause for agitation of the burning caldron that is the Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and the "Palestinian Problem". There are any number of major players in the mix including Russia, China, Iran, Israel, you name it.

But Romney the foreign policy Mittwitt is apt to be taken in by both his surrounding neocon staff from the Bush Bumblers league and his own inept campaign staff to attempt something desperate. Especially with an openly demonstrative right wing radical billionaire backer such as the Myer Lanksy like Sheldon Adelson. With Romney's billionaire group amongst the top of the U.S. power elite estimated as worth 1/8 of the entire Gross National Product, the 1% can not be entirely eliminated as a source of forment to stir the pot for it's own recipes of disaster.


(Kroll 2012)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Romney Campaign Lightweights Occupy Space & Time

Mittwitt and Lyin' Ryan Need Adjustments in Headspace & Timing

Their now familiar pattern of repititious fraudulous statements to ingrain untruths into the minds of their base sheep continue. The latest one cast forth by Lyin' Ryan is attempting to harp on a contrived image of President Obama's weakness in matters of national security, which is a doomed thesis from the start:

"Paul Ryan ratcheted up his criticism of President Obama on the issue of national security at a rally in this crucial battleground state, telling the crowd: 'If we project weakness, they come' and if the nation is 'strong' our enemies 'will not test us.” (Walshe 2012)

Nothing could be further from the truth. (Klein 2012)

"Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve." (Becker, Shane May 29, 2012)

 (Becker, Shane 2012) "In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda."

"An airstrike killed al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car on Monday, U.S. and Yemeni officials said, a major breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the group in the impoverished Arab nation." (AP Sept 10, 2012)

(AP 2012) "Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was killed by a missile after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt, according to Yemeni military officials. They said the missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft."

Al Jazeera programming complains that the acceleration in drone attacks has complicated negociations with countries whose territory includes drone areas of operations. This may or may not be the case in several countries, but the rapid increase in targeting terrorist hierachial targets has all occurred during the current administration, dwarfing the efforts during the last. (

"But while the rhetoric has been less incendiary, far from abandoning the tactics of the Bush years, Obama has intensified the ferocity of attacks on the US' enemies." (Al Jazeera 2012)

(Al Jazeera 2012) "He probably thinks this is already a controversial war,” says Christ Klep, an international relations analysts at the University of Utrecht. “I’d better not endanger my pilots and my special forces, so what else do I have? Unmanned aerial vehicles? Deploy them.” 

"Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia and the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gives the president high marks despite what he sees as a failure to capture and interrogate more terrorist suspects:  'We’ve crippled Al Qaeda. The foundation may have been laid in the Bush administration, but you have to recognize that this administration has been very committed to carrying the fight to the enemy.” (Becker, Shane 2012)

Regarding the current tragedy in Libyan concerning the search and apprehension suspects involved in the assassination of our U.S. ambassador and staff at the consulate, the drones being used to assist in this effort had already been deployed during the "no-fly zone" and tactical air assistance during the overthrow of Khadafi. (Alfitory 2012)

"The Republican presidential nominee has insisted that Obama has not done enough to promote America's values and interests, instead "apologizing" and appeasing the nation's enemies." (Greenblatt 2012)

I don't believe that sending in drone recconaissance missions backed by U.S. Navy cruise missile destroyers is apologizing, nor is personally authorizing drone strikes on terrorist leaders appeasement. 

(Greenblatt 2012) "Romney has described Russia, a country with which Obama has sought to "reset" relations, as the nation's greatest geopolitical foe." 

Again, here Mittwitt is showing his complete lack of understanding global geopolitics, our foreign policy goals, and national security strategy, compounded by that "Corporal's Guard" of Bush league neocons from the last administration. The cold war mentality went out during the Clinton years plainly witnessed by many in the military during that time, where Russian security and Secret Service personnel were interchangeable when Yeltin was in town. 

"Obama negotiated the New START agreement with Russia, which both countries signed a year later. It lowered the ceiling for deployed U.S. and Russian strategic warheads by 30 percent and restored reciprocal inspections, vital to verifying the reductions." (Cirincione 2012)

And by the way Mittwitt et al, we've been conducting a joint U.S.-Russian International Space Station mission for months now.  Does that sound like to you to be something a nation would be doing with it's "number one enemy?". "C'mon now Mitt... think !" (Katchen 2012)

"NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, took charge of the International Space Station Saturday (Sept. 15), becoming only the second female commander in the orbiting lab's 14-year history." (Malik 2012)

(Malik 2012) "Williams took charge of the space station from Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who is returning to Earth on Sunday after months commanding the outpost's six-person Expedition 32 crew. Williams launched to the station in July and will command its Expedition 33 crew before returning to Earth in November."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't Change Horses In The Middle Of A Stream

Frankly, this might seem to be a nod towards conspiracy theorists, but I grew up in the cloud of the Warren Commission and Watergate. I am HIGHLY suspicious with all the 100s of millions that the Teapublican billionaire founders are throwing around like so much Monopoly money that I would not be surprised if there was an alterior motive generated somewhere to motivate an obscure group of fanatics to attack an overseas embassy.

There were 12 embassies attacked during the 8 years of the Bush league, but even THEY made actual apologies to offended religious groups offended by various triggers. The current administration is no such group of apologists. They don't have to be. The Libyan people held our assassinated ambassador as a hero, and our government also supported the Arab spring movement, without opposition. The majority of Arabs understand this. The current mob beseiging the Cairo police guarding our embassy there have more beefs with the police since the recent Arab spring demostrations than they do with some silly video that they're most likely never seen, and their constant agitation is spurring on the protests of minority sects in other Arab capitols.

"But we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris’ body to the hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last night, when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible." ~ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treaty Room, Washington D.C., September 13, 2012

"(...) {Glen Doherty} a former Navy SEAL who opposed religious fundamentalism in the military.He also joined the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that has battled religious intolerance in the U.S. armed forces. Its president, former Air Force officer Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, said he was 'in a state of shock' after learning of Doherty's death." (Smith CNN)

(Smith CNN) "He was one of our most active advisory board members,' Weinstein said. 'I was surprised he was willing to come on and lend the gravitas that comes with being a Navy SEAL to our cause. 'Doherty's involvement 'made it easier for others to come to us,' Weinstein added."

(Smith CNN) "He said Doherty believed the kind of violent jihadists American troops faced were 'a very small percentage of the overall mosaic of the Muslim faith,' and saw anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and in the ranks as something that hurt U.S. national security."

(Smith CNN) 'He went back to the Middle East because he cared deeply about the Muslim people, and because he cared about bringing freedom and democracy and human rights to the Middle East,' Weinstein said. Doherty 'was a kind and caring person, and I'm sure that he gave every last bit of his courage and strength' to defend the consulate and Stevens, he added. 'All this is going to do is light a further fire under us in Glen's name and memory to continue to fight for religious freedom and respect and tolerance."

"Partisanship ought to end at the water's edge' is a longstanding adage of American politics. But in the hours after the death of the first U.S. ambassador killed in decades, Mitt Romney -- panicked as his poll numbers have slipped -- punched hard against the president, unleashing an unwise, inaccurate and unpresidential attack on the Obama administration." (Avlon 2012)

Mittwitt is only muddling the international water practically every time he wanders out with his "Corporal's Guard" of Bush league bumbler advisers into rough surf which he has no business floundering about. This is not Boston Bay, Salt Lake City, or even Lake Michigan. There are no lifeguards for Mittwitt on these coastlines. 

"Putin has also been quoted as saying, 'The fact that Mr. Romney considers us enemy No. 1 and clearly has a poor opinion of us is a minus. But the fact that he speaks that way – directly, frankly and clearly – means that he is a direct and candid person. That’s a plus.” (Acuff 2012)

"U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe, which Washington has already started to deploy, have been a major irritant in U.S.-Russia relations. Washington says the shield is meant to counter a potential threat from Iran and will pose no risk to Russia." (Dyomkin 2012)

"Putin has also stated that, 'He has strengthened our negotiating position on this sensitive and very important issue,' with regard to Romney. Mitt Romney’s absolute ignorance of solid foreign policy absolutely must be taken into account when considering your vote come this November. He seems intent on bringing war to our shores." (Acuff 2012)

"We know that we saw something appalling yesterday, in Mitt Romney’s response to the violence in Cairo and Benghazi, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re witnessing something historic too. This isn’t simply the end of the Republican Party’s decades-long political advantage on foreign policy that we’re observing. Rather, we are simultaneously able to see how the party is reacting to and dealing with the disappearance of that advantage." (Tomasky 2012)

(Tomasky 2012) "The world is the world. Obama can’t wave a wand at it. But he can do what he has done, which is to run a sober and responsible foreign policy, not one based on theories developed in think-tank seminars underwritten by some hawkish Israeli billionaire. (...) As to the future, let’s begin by considering that 70 percent of Romney’s foreign-policy brain trust worked for Bush, as Ari Berman has reported in The Nation. Combining that dour factoid with the rumors and suggestions one sees planted in the press from time to time—that John Bolton would make a fine secretary of state—gives Americans much to fear in a Romney presidency." Note: Bolton once recommended that the United States nuke Iran. Seriously. 

(Tomasky 2012) "If Obama is reelected—and Wednesday may prove to have been an important milestone toward that end—and if his next four years go roughly like the last four on the foreign policy front, the Democratic Party will be back to where it was on foreign policy dominance in 1948. I spent a lot of time in 2003 arguing with conservatives and even hawkish liberals—far more vociferously with the latter—that the neocon project did not represent a fulfillment of Truman/Acheson-style foreign policymaking. On Wednesday, Romney and his apologists went a long way toward proving me right."

And so it goes.