I do want to get back to the conclusion of my Retail Mini-Series, but I want to scrub a couple of political issues out of my head and into yours. You’re welcome.
You’re Not the Boss of Me
Is anyone noticing the disturbing new trend of company CEOs trying to strong-arm and threaten their employees into voting Republican? It started with David Siegel of Westgate Resorts, and has spread to other companies from there. This morning, I saw that the Koch Brothers, the well-known conservative financiers and cancerous tumors on the very heart of the workingman, have gotten in on the act as well.
Whether these well-fed jagoffs actually enact layoffs as the result of the election is still anybody’s guess. I guess they won’t, but then, it’s not MY ass on the line. It’s gotten past the point of just laying out positions and letting employees choose. These fuckers are holding their employees hostage and violating the very principles of the country that provides that environment in which they’ve prospered.
“If I don’t get my way, I’ll take my factory and go home (to my mansion and wait-staff.)”
It seems to me if they have not been able to prosper over the last 10 years, which have featured the lowest corporate tax structure in the country’s history, then when will they? If the only way they can turn a profit is with government subsidies and slashed tax rates, how good of businessmen can they really be? There were plenty of businesses that thrived under the Clinton-era tax rates, and there’s no reason why they won’t again.
This is just one more way that the very rich are blackmailing the country into submission for the sole purpose of protecting their own nut. This election is being bought right out from under us and we’re not putting up as much as a whimper about it.
Debate and Switch
The 2nd presidential debate is on tonight. I’m not sure how we survived the first one and the VEEP debate.
“Common knowledge” is that Romney won the first debate convincingly. The only thing of which it convinced me was that we Americans would rather have someone toss off smooth lies than tell the truth awkwardly.
Neither side was completely true but the post debate fact checkers were all over Romney for basically saying the opposite of the things he’s been saying throughout the campaign. The metaphorical Etch-a-Sketch that was mentioned early in the campaign has solidified right before our eyes. The only thing he’s been consistent with is misrepresenting the current state of things and the President’s plans for it all.
At one point, Romney tried to blame Obama for the lack of bipartisan cooperation, noting that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil managed to work some things out. In response, I tweeted the following:
Tonight, the President is supposed to come out much more aggressively and has essentially been forced into addressing the “47%” comment. I’m not sure it’s worth bringing up any more. You have to know that the Romney camp is just waiting for it with a full slate of snappy retorts on hand.
Everyone knows what he said. Unless the President has a novel way of throwing it out there, he shouldn’t be pressured into mentioning it. That’s what the VP debate was for.
Now, I didn’t get to see the VP debate, myself. If you recall, it was on opposite not only a Steelers game, but the Orioles playoff game. I was already DVRing the other shows I was missing, as I flipped between the two games. I followed the VP debate on Twitter and there was plenty of post-debate coverage. So I don’t feel like I missed all that much.
From what I read, Joe Biden took the boy wonder out to the woodshed. It was like he was fact-checking Ryan in real time. I’m glad someone is trying to address the chronic bullshit that comes out of the Republican side. If the moderator or the media won’t do it, that leaves the candidates.
I have to laugh about all the post-debate fuss about Biden interrupting or being too mean. I mean, seriously? After all the interruptions and “one last word” bits from Romney in the Presidential debate, they have no grounds to stand on. No one complained about that; he was merely crowned as the winner.
As for “mean,” no one ran a meaner spirited primary campaign than Romney. He left nothing but charred, smoking ground in each of the primary battleground states, and his vanquished opponents still can’t sit down comfortably.
This scenario has been going on throughout this election cycle. Every time the Democrats get tough, the GOP whines about it. The Dems finally take a page or two out of the conservative playbook and the Republicans don’t like it. It’s like when the bullied kid finally fights back and hits the bully in the mouth. Suddenly the game is not so much fun any more. The Democrats have spent years running principled campaigns and coming in second. Playtime’s over.
Same with fundraising. For years, it was a given that the Republicans were going to be the fundraising champs. After all, they’re the ones doing the bidding for Big Business, who in turn donated handsomely to ensure they keep their lapdogs in place. So the Democrats outflanked them by maximizing grassroots donations through the Internet, and won themselves the 2008 election.
Republicans love to point and cry about donors like George Soros (and assorted Hollywood types) contributing to Democratic campaigns. They never mention two things:
1) There are only a handful of these super-rich guys that support Democrats.
2) They are giving money to a party that may legislate against their self-interest. In other words, they’re spending their dollars to benefit the greater good, not to insulate their own wealth, like the legion of fat cat Republican donors.
Next thing you know, there’s a campaign finance lawsuit where the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices voted to allow Big Business to spend unlimited and anonymous money on campaigns. Thus the scales of justice tilt once again to the wealthy and powerful.
They called it freedom of speech. I call it the freedom of the rich to buy any office they like and keep it from the rest of us here in the unwashed 99%.
We Have Issues
We don’t usually get much in the way of advertising for national office. Maryland is dyed so deeply blue that we rarely see ads for the presidential race.
I’ve seen a few come by here and there, but mostly it’s been a parade of issue-based ads. I wrote earlier about the referendum issues on the November ballot, most notably same-sex marriage and an expansion of gambling to permit table games and build one more casino.
I swear, the gambling ads run constantly. After all, there are huge amounts of money at stake. If Maryland builds this additional casino and table games are permitted, it will affect the casinos in our neighboring states. So guess who’s putting up most of the money to shoot down the gambling question? The company behind Charlestown Casino in West Virginia, that’s who. And they’re throwing up every gimmick in the book to refute the issue.
The Baltimore Sun ran a blurb early this week, deconstructing one of their ads and pointing out all the misdirection, half-truths and missing context.
* The ad said, “the Baltimore Sun called the proposal “hooey.” In fact, the op-ed in the Sun said that both sides were full of “hooey” on this issue. The ad cherry-picked one word and completely changed the context.
* The ad said, “(the new casino owners) still haven’t even begun construction (on a previously approved casino.)” In fact, the license was only awarded this year, after years of legal wrangling over the proposed site, nor do they know if the new site should include facilities for table games. So of course they haven’t broken any ground yet.
* The ad said the new casino deal contained a tax bailout for the owners, while taxes were being raised on working families. It’s a double whammy here. First, there can’t be a “bailout” on a business that’s not even open yet. They’re just using the “b-word” because it elicits a negative emotional response. Secondly, there is a tax increase planned only for high-income families, making over $150K, I believe. Sure, they’re “working families” too, but not in the way the ad language is trying to depict.
The same-sex marriage ads are starting up as well, again, supported by lots of outside money. The “Anti” ads usually hang on the traditional definition of marriage and “oh my God what will happen to The Children?”
From the pulpits, the Catholics and Baptists have been leading the charge, with fiery sermons and printed take-home materials, strongly urging their flock to vote down same-sex marriage. Just like Jesus would have wanted, right?
The best ad I’ve seen on this subject (or any political subject recently) features Rev. Donte Hickman, where he simply speaks to the camera in favor of religious freedom for everyone. He points out that the proposed law will not force any church to perform services that are against their beliefs. He goes on to say that he wouldn’t want someone else’s religion forced on him, so why should he want his to be forced on anyone else? Here, you can see for yourself:
That, my friends, is the very heart of the situation, made without exaggeration, hyperbole or scare tactics.
Would that all the other noisemakers follow suit…