Friday Mashup (8/31/12)

August 31, 2012
  • I guess I should start with the proverbial low-hanging fruit, and it’s hard to go lower than Michelle Malkin (here)…

    While all eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa and Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, the White House was quietly jacking up the price of automobiles and putting future drivers at risk.

    Yes, the same cast of fable-tellers who falsely accused GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of murdering a steelworker’s cancer-stricken wife is now directly imposing a draconian environmental regulation that will cost untold American lives.

    It’s almost too easy when even the OMIGOD-What-Will-Chris-Christie-Do-Or-Say-Next Philadelphia Inquirer provides the rebuttal, but they do here

    …for an estimated 500,000 people, the mandate that automakers achieve an average fleet fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 also means they’ll be driving to new jobs.

    Many of those jobs will be generated by Detroit, as automakers invest $300 billion in tooling up to build better vehicles, but independent experts predict that other industries will also add jobs as a result of the fuel standards.

    Beyond that, the benefits to the environment will be seen in reduced smog. And the nation should become more secure by being less dependent on foreign oil.

    Given those gains, it’s unfortunate that partisan politics still have Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an ideological box on this issue. Romney campaign officials this week called the new fuel standards “extreme,” due to the added cost of producing cleaner cars.

    In fact, the mileage standards have earned support from automakers and environmentalists alike. President Obama smartly united the groups by sticking to an aggressive mileage goal while at the same time assuring General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and automakers that the policy would get a sensible, mid-course review.

    Maybe the only thing extreme about the process was its success.

    (Media Matters has more on this here.)

    Oh, and one more thing – Joe Soptic lost his health insurance when his company was taken over by Romney and Bain Capital and he was booted. After that, his wife lost her job due to a shoulder injury (losing her insurance), and she was diagnosed with cancer afterwards. So yes, there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship between Soptic losing his insurance and his wife dying from lack of coverage.

    But can we all agree that Soptic losing his insurance certainly didn’t help his wife’s battle with cancer? (If you want to read more about this, click here…and yes, Glenn Kessler of the so-called “respectable” corporate media really is that big of a dick – and with typical Malkin understatement, she alleges that Obama is saying that Romney killed Soptic’s wife, when of course nobody is saying that, nor, to my knowledge, has anyone on the Obama side ever said that.)

  • Next, Louie Gohmert and The Daily Tucker combined for more idiocy here, including the following…

    Gohmert drew on an observation of former U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen that “our biggest national security threat is our overspending. But there are other national security threats. We’ve had thousands killed and the media’s not talking about it. We need to talk about it.”

    “There have been thousands killed since this president took over — thousands of our military,” Gohmert added. “They beat up on [George W.] Bush every day another soldier was killed. They were out there showing coffins and things. But not with this president.”

    “This president has put in place rules of engagement, that certainly were put there under his command, that are getting our people killed.”

    Gohmert went on to observe Obama’s public promise to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. The president, he concluded, has “left these guys out there with rules of engagement that don’t allow them to adequately defend themselves.”

    The Texas Republican calls those rules of engagement “politically correct stuff.”

    For the record, this tells us that the Afghanistan rules of engagement were put in place by former Gen. (and head of U.S. forces there) Stanley McChrystal and were modified by incoming Gen. David Petraeus after McChrystal left (and how sad is it for Gohmert that it was so easy to refute him that Fox did it?)

    Yes, people, water is wet, sky is blue, and Louie Gohmert is still the stupidest life form in the entire galaxy (more evidence is here).

    Also, though this is a bit tangential (but it does have to do with foreign policy), I’ve withheld comment until now on the story of the Navy SEAL who basically outed himself as one of the members of the team that killed Osama bin Laden when he wrote a book about it (and by the way, I don’t care if bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot). And I hadn’t planned to say anything until I read this defense of Fix Noise for publishing his name from “Z on TV” himself, David Zurawik.

    Soooo…Fox “did nothing wrong” even though Zurawik admits that he has a “low regard” for the network? And Zurawik thinks Penguin Group, the book publisher, is just “a big commercial publishing house that exists first and foremost to make money”? And I suppose the Fox TV network is a non-for-profit enterprise, then? And Zurawik quite rightly doesn’t trust Fox, to the point where he waited for corroboration on the SEAL’s name from the AP – that’s fine, but doesn’t “Z” realize that Fox let the genie out of the proverbial bottle, not the AP, and it would have been awfully difficult for the AP to try and put the brakes on that story? And Zurawik also says that “anyone who writes such a book has no reasonable expectation of privacy”?

    Gee, under that logic, then “All The President’s Men” by Woodward and Bernstein (of course) should never have seen the light of day, since Mark Felt (who outed himself as Deep Throat before he died) should have had “no reasonable expectation of privacy”?

    As noted here, the SEAL who went public with his identity (his pseudonym is “Mark Owen”) so he could get a book published blaming Obama has subsequently put his life in danger for it. And that is unfortunate.

    Yes, he served his country, and he deserves our thanks. But am I the only one who thinks that going public like that was a pretty damn stupid thing to do, if for no other reason than because people who don’t like us can now use that information to try and go after his family, friends, and other service members who once served with him?

  • Continuing, I should note that I read this about Puppy-Dog-Eyes-With-The-Shiv-In-His-Pocket Paul Ryan’s speech the other night, and I’m glad to see that he has been busted on the myriad lies and half-truths he uttered in front of an audience of willing sycophants and TV viewers, some of which I’m sure may be (and perhaps still are) undecided.

    The point of me commenting like this isn’t to add to the chorus of people proclaiming quite rightly that Ryan is a liar. Here’s what I’m wondering about; Ryan tells everyone who will listen that he’s a Roman Catholic.

    Well, aside from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (who also quite rightly have said that what Ryan espouses has nothing to do with their faith and the faith that Ryan claims to practice, or words to that effect, here), where is the voice of the head of the archdiocese of Ryan’s congressional district?

    Well, apparently Tom Gallagher of the National Catholic Reporter was wondering the same thing; the following is an excerpt from here (dated last May)…

    I looked up Rep. Ryan’s congressional district in Wisconsin and to determine whether it was within the Milwaukee archdiocese’s jurisdiction or within the jurisdiction of the Madison diocese. I emailed the Offices of Communication for both dioceses and asked for a clarification.

    I wanted to see whether Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee or Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison have publicly reached out to Rep. Ryan to discuss his “moral failure” of a federal budget proposal and his acute misunderstanding of Catholic social teaching.

    What I found was both interesting and distressing.

    Instead of hearing back from (Julie) Wolf (communications director for the Milwaukee archdiocese), I heard from Jerry Topczewski, who it turns out is a seasoned public relations executive and chief of staff for Archbishop Listecki. He offered this response:

    “Archbishop Listecki has not made any public statements that I am aware of regarding the budget proposal nor, to my knowledge, has he spoken to Congressman Ryan regarding the budget proposal. Although a portion of Congressman Ryan’s congressional district overlaps the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Congressman Ryan lives in the Diocese of Madison. Recently, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the USCCB, made some comments regarding the budget proposal in a response to a reporter’s question. You may want to review his comments.”

    I followed up with this email question:

    Is it accurate to conclude then that Archbishop Listecki plans no formal engagement with Rep. Ryan with respect to the Congressman’s “understanding” of Catholic social teaching and Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal?

    Mr. Topczewski: “No.”

    My next follow-up email question:

    So going forward, will Archbishop Listecki publicly engage Rep. Ryan about his ‘understanding’ of Catholic social teaching and its application to the federal budget?

    Mr. Topczewski: “I haven’t asked him.”

    My next email question:

    Will you kindly present my questions to Archbishop Listecki and ask him to respond to the questions?

    Mr. Topczewski: “It is Confirmation season, so the Archbishop’s schedule is very busy. If I get the chance to ask him, I will let you know.”

    I asked if I could have responses by this past Friday so I could file this story, but I have not heard back. If Mr. Topczewski responds to these questions, I will be sure to give him and Archbishop Listecki plenty of space.

    Gallagher’s story also tells us that Morlino’s office said “This is an issue where the Congressman [Ryan] speaks well for himself. He is very aware of the demands of lay mission in the Church and he is free to carry that mission out as he does. There is no need for us, nor are we in a position, to enter into this discussion.”

    Oh, and did I point out that Archbishop Listecki referred to the church as a “corporation” here (as an astute commenter noted, if Listecki really believed that, then why does the church still have tax-exempt status…Update: The corporation comment probably same from the same mindset as this)?

    So basically, on the issue of Paul Ryan’s thorough and complete misunderstanding of Church teaching on the economy, the Catholic Church hierarchy (in Ryan’s district in this case) did what it does best…

    Heckuva job.

    Update 9/1/12: Say Amen, somebody (here).

  • Finally, did you know that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History has “moved on with his life”? That’s what his brother said here the other night at the Repug Smear Fest And Misinformation Festival in Tampa…

    “He has moved on with his life,” (Jeb) Bush said. “I send him emails once every two weeks to say, ‘all I meet are people that love you,’ which is true. I am not making that up. In this hall people were saying, ‘I worked for your brother, history will prove him right on a lot of things.’ There’s a lot of goodwill for George W. Bush, but he also knows that he needs to stay out of the way. Back to this idea that you blame W. for everything: the common cold, breakout bacne (sic?), rain; so I think he smartly has taken a step back and let the Romney-Ryan ticket take the attention that they deserve.”

    Oh, and did you know that Jeb also said, in essence, that President Obama needs a “spanking” here? What a professional comment to direct at the head of state.

    And I’m so happy that Dubya has “moved on.” Aren’t you?

    I wonder if the families and friends of the victims of his completely and totally unnecessary war in Iraq have “moved on” too?

    I mean, it’s not like Dubya couldn’t ask them and find out. All he has to do is search this list for some names. He could use that as a starting point and then do what he does best, which is to turn over a tiresome chore (in this case, tracking down the people to ask) to somebody else.

    Actually, I could help him out with that. Dubya is supposedly living in a Dallas suburb now. Well, according to this list, Peter Burks, Simon Cox, Brian Grant, and Jeffrey Green all came from Dallas. He could pick up the phone, call some people and he wouldn’t even have to dial out of his area code. And it’s not like he doesn’t have the spare time on his hands these days.

    But of course, he’ll do nothing of the sort. And that’s because the Republicans don’t want the reality of real people experiencing real problems to penetrate their bubble of unreality, where, as Bill Maher famously said, “the only thing that gets in is Fox News and the only things to come out are misspelled signs and babies.”

    With that in mind, I have a question: how can we expect a party of unreality to know how to govern on the national level in the world of reality?

    That should be a question all of us ask in the voting booth this November.

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    Monday Mashup (7/23/12)

    July 24, 2012
  • Pity the poor “pay no price, bear no burden,” put-upon “job creators,” as Ari Ari Bobari whines here

    You wouldn’t know this from President Obama’s rhetoric, but our tax system, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is incredibly progressive. Consider: The top 1% of income earners pay an average federal tax rate of 28.9%…The average federal tax rate on the top 20% is 23.2%. The 20% of taxpayers earning between $50,100 and $73,999 pay an average 15.1%, and so on down the line. The CBO report includes payroll as well as income taxes paid.

    There’s also another way of looking at fairness, and that’s the tax burden. Here, consider the top 20% of income earners (over $74,000). They make 50% of the nation’s income but pay nearly 70% of all federal taxes.

    WAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

    Gee Ari, do you want to know what the top rate was in, say, 1958? You know, back when this country had a federal government that actually did stuff, like building the interstate highway system, without a bunch of conservative naysaying? 90 percent, that’s what!

    Moreover, as noted here

    Rich Americans are not overtaxed. Not by a long shot. From 1996 to 2007 the overall federal tax rate for the richest 1 percent fell by more than 6 percentage points. The top marginal income tax rate dropped from 70 percent in 1980 to 35 percent today. And that’s just for starters.

    The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, delivered massive new tax breaks to the rich, reducing a millionaire’s tax bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars. And tax benefits—such as the home mortgage interest deduction, the charitable deduction, and the employer provided health care exclusion—all benefit the rich more than they benefit the middle class. One in four millionaires pays a lower overall tax rate than millions of middle-class families.

    One percent of the people paying 40 percent of all the taxes? It sounds unfair, right? But stop to think about it for more than a moment and it becomes apparent that the statistic is meaningless.

    First of all, federal income taxes are only one part of the overall tax system. By focusing only on the one piece of the tax code that is very progressive, conservatives are artificially inflating the share of taxes paid by the 1 percent.

    Second, the rich pay most of the taxes because they make most of the income. Think about it: Of course the richest 1 percent of people pay way more than 1 percent of all the taxes—they have way more than 1 percent of all the income. That’s why they are in the top 1 percent.

    Third, the share of taxes paid is a really silly way to think about tax burden. What matters isn’t the amount of taxes someone pays as a share of total revenues. What matters is the amount of taxes someone pays as a share of his or her own income.

    But of course, this is typical for Fleischer, who has a knack for numeric misrepresentation, as noted here.

  • Next, it was inevitable that the pro-gun crowd would use the Aurora massacre over the weekend to express their own sort of umbrage at those nasty “anti-gun libs” who want to confiscate their weapons of death and mayhem, as noted here

    The target of liberal legislators is the gun show. If you are a licensed gun dealer you hold a Federal Firearms License and are required by law to perform a background check before you can release the gun to the buyer. That makes good sense and often there is a waiting period. A waiting period makes good sense too unless you are someone being threatened or harassed and you happen to need a way to defend yourself. The attacker will be reassured that the government will deny you, the potential victim, an immediate opportunity to purchase a tool to defend yourself. When an attack is going to happen in seconds the police, if called, will respond in minutes to take the crime report.

    I would say that that’s a real dig at the men and women of law enforcement, which of course is typical for the hardcore pro-gun zealots. If you believe that you could be attacked “in seconds,” then I think the prudent thing to do is give the police some advanced notice, wouldn’t you say? Or (and here’s a really left-wing idea I suppose), you could go to the police, tell them you have a suspicion that someone is going to attack you, and actually let them investigate as opposed to carrying out some vigilante “justice” with tragic consequences (see Martin, Trayvon).

    Continuing…

    Here is the controversial aspect of a gun show: the unlicensed seller. This is a person that wants to sell his personal property to another individual. It is the equivalent of you saying “Mike, you want to sell that .22?” And then me telling you I’ll take 50-bucks for it. We have a deal and I’m the unlicensed seller. But, I don’t need a license to sell you my .22. That is the “gun show loophole.”

    Closing the “gun show loophole” enables the government to curtail person to person sales. That is what is really behind the attack on gun shows. Every gun would have to be turned into a gun dealer so that it could be tracked by the Federal Government and then the transfer process would be monitored by the Federal Government. The right you have now to sell your neighbor your shotgun will be gone, forever.

    Once again, WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    In response, I give you the following from here

    Why is it important to get rid of the gun show loophole?

    The gun show loophole makes it very easy for guns to fall into the hands of prohibited individuals, including criminals and juveniles. Closing the loophole would put a barrier between the legal and illegal markets for guns. It is more difficult for law enforcement to trace firearms sold on the secondary market. Second-hand firearms typically have left the possession of a licensed dealer, where records are kept, and reached the hands of an unlicensed seller, who is not required to keep records.

    How can we close the gun show loophole?

    It’s simple. Closing the dangerous loophole merely requires unlicensed gun sellers at gun shows to conduct the same instant background checks that licensed dealers must conduct.

    Won’t closing the gun show loophole violate the Second Amendment?

    No. No matter what your interpretation of the Second Amendment is, it is illegal for criminals and youth to get guns, and federal law already requires background checks for sales by licensed dealers. We need background checks at guns shows to protect law-abiding citizens while keeping guns out of the hands of those prohibited from owning them.

    Won’t requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows be a bureaucratic nightmare?

    Closing the gun show loophole would merely involve unlicensed gun sellers at gun shows implementing that same system. More than 95% of background checks are completed within two hours, and most are completed in just two minutes.

    Will closing the gun show loophole put gun shows out of business?

    No. Three of the five states that host the most gun shows – Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California – closed the gun show loophole years ago, and gun shows continue to thrive.

    And as far as the supposed lack of public interest in gun control, I think the following should be noted from here.

  • Finally, I didn’t realize that Willard Mitt Romney was so desperate to shift the debate from his whole “to the manor born” attitude about not releasing additional tax returns (to say nothing of his wife) as well as how many employees he laid off at Bain Capital (to say nothing of when he supposedly left) that he would start clipping quotes (and, if past is prologue, he’ll continue to pull this garbage even though he has been completely busted on it, though the wingnutosphere, true to form, has dutifully carried his proverbial water).

    Update 7/31/12: And isn’t this precious, by the way, in a related story? Too damn funny…

    For the record (as Greg Sargent notes here), this is what President Obama actually said about job creators and government…

    Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.

    I also think it’s a good idea, in light of this, to look at what past presidents have said about government, to give you some perspective as to who is on the right side of history here and who isn’t (and please spare me any dreck from The Sainted Ronnie R or his “son”…the yield from those tiny minds on this subject isn’t worth noting in the final analysis).

    First, though, I digress slightly and give you this (Update 7/24/12: I forgot to add this yesterday)…

    …big government is not something that has been forced on Americans by liberal elitists and power-hungry bureaucrats. We have it because we ourselves have demanded big government to deal with the many big problems we have faced in our society. We have called for big government programs when it has been obvious that there are serious problems that cannot be solved through individual effort or by the natural workings of the free market.

    And by and large, most Americans continue to support these big government programs. Polls consistently show that between 60 and 70 percent of Americans want to see increased federal government activity around issues of the environment, education, crime, Social Security, and health care. Importantly, such large majorities supporting big government programs cannot simply be made up of liberals; they must also include a lot of moderates and conservatives as well.

    So when it comes to the issue of big government, it may actually be the Republicans who are the elitists — who are trying to impose their view of minimal government on a public that has demanded and still supports most big government programs. Democratic candidates in the upcoming elections would do well to make that one of their campaign messages.

    Further, I think we need to consider the following quotes from some of our former presidents:

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary.James Madison

    “The bulk of government is not legislation but administration.” “Men can never escape being governed. Either they must govern themselves or they must submit to being governed by others.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    “The object of government is the welfare of the people.”- TR again

    The success of our popular government rests wholly upon the correct interpretation of the deliberate, intelligent, dependable popular will of America. – Warren Harding (even someone not remembered as that great of a president knew something so obvious)

    And perhaps, coming from the granddaddy of them all on this subject (don’t totally agree with all the sentiments of the author here, even if he does make some good points – and I think we can substitute “9 and 3” years here with “8 and 4,” and we’d be about right)…

    For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

    We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    And given all of what we’ve seen so far in this election (to say nothing of what remains to be seen), it’s pretty damn plain which candidate represents the “organized money” part of the equation and which one doesn’t.


  • Tuesday Mashup (5/22/12)

    May 22, 2012
  • I neglected to point out the following recently (until now) by Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History, on the pages of the Murdoch Street Journal (of course – here)…

    Some in both parties in Washington look at the risks inherent in democratic change—particularly in the Middle East and North Africa—and find the dangers too great. America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.


    Like this guy, jackass? Nice job to blow him off (along with just about all else from your wretched presidency) and leave for Number 44 to clean up.

    Apparently, some in our corporate media will go to any lengths in an effort to “rebrand” our 43rd president as some kind of a statesman or a visionary on foreign policy.

    Part of me wishes there were a punch line to that remark, but the joke is so unbelievable that I can’t think of anything to top it.

  • Next, the Moustache of Understanding returned to form in the New York Times Sunday (here)…

    Microsoft still does more than 80 percent of its research work in America. But that is becoming harder and harder to sustain when deadlock on Capitol Hill prevents it from acquiring sufficient (H1B) visas for the knowledge workers it needs that America’s universities are not producing enough of. The number of filled jobs at Microsoft went up this year from 40,000 to 40,500 at its campus outside Seattle, yet its list of unfilled jobs went from 4,000 to almost 5,000. Eventually, it will have no choice but to shift more research to other countries.

    Naah, it’s not because our august captains of industry are rapacious, unrepentant pirates who plead for tax cuts while the middle class that built the products that made them rich are forced to settle for ever-smaller pieces of the proverbial financial pie. Don’t you see? They “have no choice” but to do the whole “engulf and devour” thing elsewhere instead.

    In response, I give you the following from here

    D.C. is filled with mills that produce bogus studies to provide Congress with rose-colored glasses that deprive reality. Some studies spin H-1B workers as “entrepreneurs.” Others make absurd job claims, such as that each H-1B worker creates six additional jobs (Do the math here: With around 100,000 H-1B visas a year, that would make H-1B the single largest job creation factor in the economy.)

    In fact, the opposite is true. The largest users of H-1B visas are foreign offshoring companies. They use H-1B visas to provide on-site support for projected moved to other countries. In that model, each H-1B worker here is a proxy for even more jobs lost.

    In spite of a long parade of damning audits on the H-1B program, Congress has done nothing to clean up the mess. Deliberate loopholes in the law allow employers to replace Americans with lower-paid H-1B workers. Working in the computer industry, I have witnessed employers openly replacing hundreds of Americans with cheaper worker on H-1B visas.

    H-1B supporters rarely forget to remind the public that the statute requires H-1B workers to be paid “the prevailing wage.” They invariably forget that, 20,000 words later, the statute redefines the term “prevailing wage” in such a manner that an employer can legally pay a software engineer in Edison, N.J., $34,133 a year less than the median wage.

    How is it possible that Americans can be fired in their own country, be replaced with foreign workers, and Congress does nothing for decades? H-1Bs, bailouts to Wall Street, and subsidies to politically connected business are all symptoms of the same problem: a government that is controlled by special interests that are antithetical to those of the American people.

    And on top of that, this post from 2008 tells us of a recruiter who pretty much debunked the entire mythology that there aren’t enough “knowledge workers” in this country to fill the available jobs (God forbid that employers haven’t fine-tuned their resume-screening software, or you’re out of luck, Mr. or Ms. Unemployed American Worker).

    Rest assured, though, that apologists like Friedman will always return twice a week on the pages of The Old Gray Lady to reinforce the status quo (and possibly get in a plug for the economic “virtues” of China also, along with the wonders of the Internet, of course).

  • Finally, I give you BoBo, trying to sanitize the business exploits of Willard Mitt Romney on the matter of GST Steel (here)…

    Private equity firms like Bain acquire bad companies and often replace management, compel executives to own more stock in their own company and reform company operations.

    Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.

    This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations. The overall effect on employment is modest.

    In response, I would suggest that you read the following from here (Bain bought a controlling interest in GST for $8 million, sold $120 million worth of bonds, and then paid themselves a $36 million dividend…they repeated this trick with another steel mill, combined both as “GS Industries” and ended up about $378 million in debt between the two)…

    During all of this they constantly cut both the workforce and safety standards of both plants while failing to invest even minimal money into the plants upkeep much less towards making any capital improvements. Finally in 2001 “GS Industries” now over $500 million in debt declared bankruptcy and closed the plants.

    It then became apparent that Bain had also declined to adequately fund the workers pension plans, employees suddenly out of work were now faced with the additional loss of promised severance pay, health insurance, and life insurance. In 2002 the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation had to commit $44 million to make up the shortfall towards funding only the basic pension payments. The workers never did receive their promised insurance benefits…

    So in this instance Romney and Bain not only cost over 750 workers their jobs and forced two previously fairly healthy businesses into bankruptcy. They also managed to line their pockets with millions of dollars while doing so and before forcing a government agency to step in and pay $44 million towards their bad pension debt.

    If this is Mitt Romney’s idea of how to “create jobs and restart the economy” I don’t think I want anything to do with it.

    And by the way, let us not forget this priceless little moment concerning the presumptive Repug nominee and our not-completely-still-moribund economy

    I would be curious to see what would happen if the New York Times was ever acquired by a private equity firm similar to Bain. I would hope that a lot of the paper’s talented news professionals wouldn’t have to worry about their jobs, but, as the process of “creative destruction” unfolded, I would like to know how “modest” the effect would be on BoBo’s future employment.


  • It’s “Iran-A-Muck Monday” With The Mittster!

    October 19, 2009

    new-romney-10x10-1
    In case anyone had forgotten about former Repug presidential hopeful and former Governor “Penumbra Of Angst” (here), a certain Willard Mitt Romney decided to let us know he’s still around (here)…

    WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitt Romney has a message for the Obama administration: Stop talking to Iran. Period.

    “The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany,” Romney said in a speech Monday to the pro-Israel group AIPAC at their national summit in San Diego, according to excerpts provided to CNN.

    Funny, but I would consider al Qaeda to be “the greatest immediate threat to the world,” but considering that the above analysis came from a guy who said “it’s not worth heaven and earth” to try and capture bin Laden (here), I can’t say that I’m surprised.

    And I would say that Romney has no room to criticize anyone on Iran, considering that, as noted here, Romney’s one-time employer and the company he founded has links to recent Iranian business deals…

    Romney joined Boston-based Bain & Co., a management consulting firm, in 1978 and worked there until 1984. He was CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, from 1984 to 1999, despite a two-year return as Bain & Co.’s chief executive officer from 1991 to 1992.

    Bain & Co. Italy, described in company literature as “the Italian branch of Bain & Co.,” received a $2.3 million contract from the National Iranian Oil Co., in September 2004. Its task was to develop a master plan so NIOC — the state oil company of Iran — could become one of the world’s top oil companies, according to Iranian and U.S. news accounts of the deal.

    Bain Capital, the venture capital firm that Romney started and made him a multimillionaire, teamed up with the Haier Group, a Chinese appliance maker that has a factory in Iran, in an unsuccessful 2005 buyout effort.

    Also, this September 2006 story tells us that, when Romney was governor of that liberal Gomorrah Massachusetts (wink), he denied any security from his state to Mohammed Khatami, former Iranian president and a legitimate moderate who was visiting to speak at Harvard.

    Now, while I do not cut Iran any slack because it is a run by a regime of criminals, I would say that it still is incumbent upon us to look for ways to initiate some kind of a dialogue with them, however slight the excuse may be; this news story tells us of a terrorist attack on Iran, quite likely originating from Pakistan, something you could definitely consider “chickens coming home to roost” given Iran’s support of Hamas. However, I still think this is an opportunity for us to remind Iran that, even though they sponsor terrorism, they have something to gain from “cleaning up their act,” especially when they face the threat from violence that other countries face.

    But of course, Romney has other thoughts, being the good little Repug that he is…

    “The notion that Hamas and violent jihadists are motivated by ‘shared interests’ and ‘common goals’ is naïve in the extreme and dangerous to the entire free world,”

    If The Mittster really believes that, though, then doesn’t that invalidate his Now And Forever You Godless Commie Lu-bu-ruul And Just Because That Kenyan American-Pretend Pre-zee-dint O’Yours Is In Charge Don’t Think We Ain’t Comin’ Back in 2010 Global War On Terra! Terra! Terra!?

    Of course, compared to whatever latest scribblings happen to appear on Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin’s Facebook page on this subject, such sentiments from Romney are positively statesman-like for his party, however wrong they may be (and if that isn’t a pathetic commentary, I don’t know what is).


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