The giant sucking sound Ross Perot wants you to hear these days is him endorsing Mitt Romney on the basis of Romney’s presumed fiscally responsible policies. Perot, who wasn’t born yesterday, posits that history began in 2009 and says experts support Romney’s contention that the mome raths outgrabe.
Democrats, meanwhile, are shocked, shocked! that the company Romney once owned and still profits from is outsourcing jobs to China in a particularly callous fashion — requiring American workers at Sensata, an auto parts maker, to conclude their own employment by training their Chinese replacements. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (who recently declined to sign a letter pledging to block Social Security cuts) is joining Sensata workers today in a show of solidarity. Continue reading →
I didn’t watch the debate — allergies. I did read the transcript, God help me. This is how I know that former US Senator Alan Simpson was in the audience. Apparently he’s a member of the debate commission. That figures; he wants to do for the marketplace of political ideas what he wants to do for Social Security. He must have been extraordinarily gratified when the candidates and the moderator, Bert the Turtle of Duck and Cover fame, all endorsed the diseased plan produced by him and Erskine Bowles, his co-chair on the failed deficit-reduction commission created by the President because.
(Bowles, the one-time Jimmy Carter chief of staff who made his fortune with JP Morgan, and current White House chief of staff Jack Lew, who made his fortune with Citibank, are thought to be the leading candidates to replace Timothy Geithner, Wall Street’s current federal government branch manager, in a second Obama administration.)
If you’ve missed it, all but a few of the Important Serious People have endorsed Bowles-Simpson. Those Few who haven’t, have embraced Simpson-Bowles. Bowles-Simpson and Simpson-Bowles are schemes in which anyone who isn’t untouchably rich is made to suffer by giving up important bits of their retirements previously secured by social insurance programs, while the country at large is starved of the resources necessary to dig our way out of what is inescapably a largely unnecessary decline, while the resources are instead diverted into the pockets of the people who precipitated the decline, who may possibly have to return a few pennies in restored taxes or recovered loopholes but not if they can help it, which odds are they can.
This is called “shared sacrifice;” the election will determine whether the sacrifice will be extracted by the party of the center-right or by the party of the far right, and possibly also how strenuously, if at all, depredations beyond those currently agreed to by all parties will be resisted.
The plan concocted by Simpson and Bowles is austerity by another name. Romney brought up Spain in the context of situations into which we don’t want to get, but if there’s a way to get into that kind of trouble then Alan Fucking Simpson is a great place to start.
There are a host of other horseshit and worse issues and policies already decided upon or already in place that weren’t addressed because both parties, both candidates and Bert the Moderator are all fine with them. You won’t be voting to determine whether or not the US remains the world’s most enthusiastic jailer; whether or not the growth of the national security state accelerates; whether or not we continue to blow up increasing numbers of people and things in an ever expanding war zone; whether or not the pirate sector of our economy continues to operate with letters of marque; whether or not dispensaries catering to cancer-ridden pot smokers are a greater threat to the public order than, say, publicly confessed war criminals. Those trains have left the station and you’re voting on the conductor.
On paper, the debate doesn’t seem as unbalanced as apparently it did in real time. Romney went with the spread, in which the challenger throws out as much shit on as many points in as little time as possible, and Obama countered about as much of it as anyone could have, albeit in spectacularly lackluster prose. As for Bert, well, the first thing they teach you about high stakes debating is that you go to war with the moderator you have, not the one you want. It is unseemly for the Obama camp to complain about Bert — and wholly unrealistic to expect that he would be any better than the president at calling bullshit on Romney; the guy is a professional waffler, fer chrissake, a dispenser of conventionally judicious this’s and that’s, not a maverick educator with a baseball bat — and anyway he seems not to have done anything more offensive than to get run over and compulsively sputter “Simpson-Bowles.”
More reasonable is the campaign’s complaint that Romney won by lying about everything, but this is a guy whose campaign manager compared him to an Etch-A-Sketch. How could you fail to predict and prepare for a debate-related reset?
I don’t know how these moments played out on the teevee screens, but Romney’s use of “trickle-down” as a pejorative description of Obama’s conception of government, and his appropriation of Joe Biden’s characterization of the middle class as having been buried during the past four years, were comedy gold in print.
I’m not among those who have thought the election was already decided so I don’t think Romney’s win, if that’s what it was, changed much. The Republican vote-suppression effort still has legs, electronic voting is still spectacularly insecure, quite a few voters still don’t know who they’ll vote for and there’s a world of inimical shit stirring out there beyond our borders.
But of course we’re more concerned with the world of inimical shit right here at home. Take it away, Bert …
Yes, folks, it’s “Lesser of Two Evils” season once again. I’ll keep this short, everybody can ignore it and we’ll return to the theme in August of 2016 when once again, the Democratic candidate will most likely be less horrible than the Republican one.
Barack Obama is a bad president. Liberals are stupid to support him.
His signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was written by a former health insurance company executive following a conservative blueprint devised to forestall government-funded universal health care such as the residents of every other developed nation, and most developing nations as well, enjoy. It massively subsidizes for-profit insurers and enshrines them as the government-sanctioned health care gatekeepers for most Americans. It kicks the prospects for genuinely universal care at least a decade down the road beyond where they already were. People will continue to expire in large numbers for lack of affordable care.
If you missed it, and nobody could blame you if you did, Newt Gingrich called it quits a few days ago. He took the opportunity to kick off the first of his 21-hour long Lincoln-Douglas style debates, henceforth to be conducted in his living room, or stateroom if he takes to the high seas again, between himself and the multitude of voices roiling in his head.
He finally endorsed Mitt Romney on his way out, saying that everyone should vote for whichever ambulatory non-Ron Paul opponent of Barack Obama appears on ballots across the nation. As this appears to be Mitt, Newt guesses you may as well vote for him.
Meanwhile, the bankster-funded, narcissism-powered centrist challenge to the major party duopoly is sputtering to a halt after spending, according to the Washington Post, $30 million on their “process.” Americans Elect has postponed its May caucuses because none of the candidates have gathered enough support to trigger that part of the process.
Way back when Newt Gingrich was leading the GOP presidential primaries, after he cleaned Willard M Romney’s clock in that bastion of Southern decency and Confederate zeal, South Carolina, former Clinton labor secretary and increasingly shrill Obama critic Robert Reich admonished Democrats who were cheering Newt on in the belief that a demented megalomaniac as the GOP candidate could only enhance Obama’s reelection prospects.
… Democratic pundits, political advisers, officials and former officials are salivating over the possibility of a Gingrich candidacy. They agree with key Republicans that Newt would dramatically increase the odds of Obama’s reelection and would also improve the chances of Democrats taking control over the House and retaining control over the Senate.
I warn you. It’s not worth the risk.
Even if the odds that Gingrich as GOP presidential candidate would win the general election are 10 percent, that’s too much of a risk to the nation. No responsible American should accept a 10 percent risk of a President Gingrich.
The European countries acting on behalf of Greece’s creditors are bullies. Americans are saps. And a group of sane doctors may get the right result for all the wrong reasons.
As is the bully’s practice, the more the Greeks concede, the more the bullies demand. To this point the bullying has worked (for the bullies) but now the country’s managers are in fear for their political lives, at least, so the country looks as likely to default on its debts as to accept the latest turn of the screw.
I didn’t get around to reading the State of the Union speech until this morning because the idiot White House didn’t post a transcript on their web site before I went to bed last night, and be damned if I’m going to subject myself to the audiovisual torment of a major political speech ever again. So I apologize to both of you for not responding immediately, as I hear that some malevolent homunculus from my former home state, Indiana, did.
The speech can be divided into two parts: the part that recognized and cashed in on all the pressure toward economic justice that Occupy created* during the past four months, and the part that didn’t. Continue reading →
Now that Newt Gingrich has won the first round in the Confederate States primary contests—and O! what a victory it was; America’s demons are on the prowl and Newt is their advance man—it’s time to look at the various possible fates of the Soul of America depending upon who wins the battle for it. Continue reading →
Disclaimer: BTC News doesn’t advocate stealing any books, and especially not this one because pretty soon they’ll be giving it away.
Continuing with our heroic plunge into the depths of GOP presidential primary emaul email campaigns … Michelle Bachmann has a new book, Core of Conviction, which may or may not be in bookstores but is definitely available to supporters who donate $75 or more to her campaign. For $125, you can get an autographed copy. We understand it to be a riveting courtroom potboiler.
Not to undercut the campaign effort, but if you really want the book—non-autographed copies only, we regret to say—you can donate $37.50 to BTC News and we’ll send you one. Half off! It’s a steal. Act now. We promise not to spend the money on a political candidate. Continue reading →
I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink …
— “Love Potion Number Nine”
A few weeks ago I signed up for emails from several candidates in the GOP presidential primary freak show. Nobody is bringing any noteworthy crazy in their private notes to their strongest backers, like me, so I’m reduced instead to reporting on the humanity of it all.
Newt Gingrich, for instance, is in far deeper trouble than anyone knew. He’s picking fights not with the Washington Post or the New York Times or even whatever newspaper is still standing in San Francisco, but with Mother Jones Magazine. We have to think Mother Jones was previously unknown to most of his supporters, as it is unknown to most people in the country—no offense intended, just saying the numbers aren’t huge—but now they’ll be slinging the name around with knowledgeable contempt. Continue reading →