Posted on 21-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It is an irony too delicious to pass up.  America’s lousy electoral system is still counting votes two weeks past election day.  With votes still to come in from Democratic states like California, it seems almost certain that the most despised plutocrat in America will end up with 47% of the vote.  Mitt Romney has become a Republican un-person since doubling down on his 47% remarks after the election.  It is fitting that 47% will be the final post script on a political career mostly spent losing elections.

Goodbye Mr. 47%, and good riddance.

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Posted on 09-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

This post by a Romney volunteer shows just how big a clusterfuck the CEO candidate’s get out the vote operation and the Obama campaign imitating Orca app was. This article does does not get into how the Romney campaign overpaid for its ads allowing scam artists consultants to pocket huge commissions. Then again Romney made his money mot as a job creator or superb manager but instead by leveraging the tax code. American CEOs are generally glorified bean counters (and sometimes great salesmen) but often shitty managers of people – something to remember the next time a plutocrat promises a magic path to the political promised land.

I cannot help pointing out that the much maligned community organizer kicked this CEO’s butt and it wasn’t because of a hurricane.

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Posted on 16-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

For all the details go to RomneyTaxPlan.com. Hat tip to the Democratic National Committee.

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Posted on 16-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Now that Romney’s tax plan and job plan (not to mention the one page sheet that counts as his housing plan) have been widely debunked as fantasies, cannot help wondering at what point do we equate him to Herman Cain – he of the fantastical 9-9-9 plan. Both are business peddling flim flam, but Romney so far has been granted what increasingly looks like an undeserved stamp of gravitas.

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Posted on 15-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

St. Ronald Reagan’s former budget director David Stockman has an absolutely brutal take down of Romney’s self proclaimed strongest qualification for the Presidency – deep insights gleaned in the economy from his career as a LBO specialist.  With only 4 years in public office and a record he ran from until the last debate that part of the resume is thin.

Bain Capital is a product of the Great Deformation. It has garnered fabulous winnings through leveraged speculation in financial markets that have been perverted and deformed by decades of money printing and Wall Street coddling by the Fed. So Bain’s billions of profits were not rewards for capitalist creation; they were mainly windfalls collected from gambling in markets that were rigged to rise.

Nevertheless, Mitt Romney claims that his essential qualification to be president is grounded in his 15 years as head of Bain Capital, from 1984 through early 1999. According to the campaign’s narrative, it was then that he became immersed in the toils of business enterprise, learning along the way the true secrets of how to grow the economy and create jobs. The fact that Bain’s returns reputedly averaged more than 50 percent annually during this period is purportedly proof of the case—real-world validation that Romney not only was a striking business success but also has been uniquely trained and seasoned for the task of restarting the nation’s sputtering engines of capitalism.

Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.

That is the modus operandi of the leveraged-buyout business, and in an honest free-market economy, there wouldn’t be much scope for it because it creates little of economic value. But we have a rigged system—a regime of crony capitalism—where the tax code heavily favors debt and capital gains, and the central bank purposefully enables rampant speculation by propping up the price of financial assets and battering down the cost of leveraged finance.

Stockman follows up with specific examples of the financial engineering and tax arbitrage that enabled Bain’s success.

It is an analysis that I tend to agree with.  Mitt Romney keeps preaching (including in the debate two weeks ago) that he was a job creator.  Yet as his business partners have noted, Bain was not in the business of job creation.  They were there to make their investors money.  Most of the jobs Romney claims arise from a minor and short lived investment in Staples, with a lot of the Staples job growth happening after Bain cashed out.

Now Romney obviously was very good at what he did.  But whether a tax arbitrage speculator gets any special insight in the macro economy is an open question.  He is obviously more comfortable talking about economic issues (as opposed to foreign policy), but the policies he has issued (with little detail) are largely supply side nonsense – perhaps because saying anything else will be political suicide in his party.

The other thing that bothers me about Bain, is that they represent some of the worst parasitic forms of capitalism that has infected American industry in the last 30 years.  Many of these acquisitions were accompanied by slashing benefits for workers to make sure the speculators got their dough.  So while compensation at the top has ballooned, middle-class incomes have stagnated or in some cases declined.  To this blogger it is a recipe for a slow decline into stratified oligarchy and likely social unrest in the future.  This country needs a long hard discussion whether the preferential tax treatment for the gamblers of capital is actually justified.

 

 

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Posted on 14-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It was only a matter of time Mitt Romney got the Gangnam Style makeover.  The K-pop hit mocking the snobs of Seoul’s Gangnam district has gone viral.  So it was only a matter of time the rich man with Cayman and Swiss accounts running for the Presidency and whose cars will soon have their own elevators would be mocked.  Video below:

 

 

Jay Leno previously took a stab at it as month earlier.  Video below:

 

 

The video for the original is below:

 

 

Enjoy….

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Posted on 12-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The folks at Daily Kos are getting on a roll. Their first video got over 1.8 million hits – like a typical cable news show. This one has shorter clips and repeats a few, but drives the same message. Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected. A professional ad agency could do wonders with such material. Video below:

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Posted on 12-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

From the always excellent Steve Benen in his weekly chronicles of Mitt’s mendacity. Paul Ryan repeated some of these whoppers yesterday, including the one about the size of the navy. Looks like Mitt got the Onion treatment too.

Would be funny if it were not so depressing.

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Posted on 11-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

I knocked the etch a sketch candidate in my post yesterday. The video below compiled by the folk from DailyKos shows just how brazenly Romney lied in the debate. It has always puzzled me why the Mitt Romney greatest hits are not saturating the airwaves. Only Jon Huntsman tried, and he did so half heartedly. If Romney wins after such brazen lying he is going to blaze a path for imitators to follow. Is that what we want from our politicians?

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Posted on 10-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Bill Clinton seems to be enjoying himself on the campaign trail.  Once again he demonstrates to the Obama campaign on how to eviscerate Romney with a smile.  Hope the President is taking notes.  Video below:

 

 

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Posted on 10-10-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

I grow increasingly in awe at Mitt Romney’s run for president.  Combining the mendacity of Pinocchio with the policy flexibility of an etch-a-sketch, Mitt Romney left President Obama (not a good debater to begin with) flummoxed at how to respond in last week’s debate.  After all, how do you respond to man who cheerfully tosses out the slim details of his tax cut plan, brazenly lies about his health care plan covering pre-existing conditions (promptly fact checked by his own campaign when 70 million people were not watching), attacks the President for medicare savings (which he terms as cuts) which are in his and his running mate’s plans, and attacks the President for not embracing the flawed Simpson-Bowles plan (not a commission report because Paul Ryan led the Republicans in voting against it) which he himself rejects.

A week before the debates he admitted that President Obama had not cut taxes on the middle class.  The week of the debates he ran ads attacking Obama for raising taxes.  His over-hyped call to war major foreign policy address this week had lazy lies like Obama allegedly not signing a single free trade accord in his presidency.  The mind reels in amazement.

This is after all a man who lied about his own first name – though I would probably not want to admit my name is Willard either (video below):

 

 

Well, it seems to have worked.  A Republican base in the frenzy of Obama derangement syndrome does not care that their candidate is spinning like a lubricated weathervane (thank you Jon Hunstman for that phrase) to pretend he is a moderate for the general election.  Case in point, Mitt Romney executed another one of his limber backflips on abortion yesterday.  As usual this was promptly walked back, but his pro-life supporters are confident that Romney’s lack of a spine (which allows flexibility that would make a gymnast blush) will make him fold like an over-leveraged Bain acquisition when they tut-tut their disapproval.  Many independents impressed by his upbeat debate performance in contrast to the President’s limp-wristed one appear to be giving him another look.

It will take me too long for me to chronicle the sheer mendacity and suppleness of the man.  So I will delegate to two sites.

  • The first is Steve Benen’s weekly Chronicle of Mitt’s Mendacity.  Last week’s post-debate version was the 37th chronicle of this series and reached an epic 50 points.
  • The second one has been a long time coming (wonder why it took so long) and is dedicated to the supple etch-a-sketch.  RoboRomney.com allows you to customize your very own Mitt – Liberal, Moderate or Conservative (or a mix of the above) complete with video.

Ultimately the Romney campaign has been enabled by the timidity of the main-stream media.  Taking full advantage of mainstream journalists who believe their job is to be stenographers slave to false equivalency between the parties, Romney has repeatedly got away with whoppers on a scale unsurpassed by a major candidate.  He has also been aided by a presumption that he is the “serious” candidate – helped by the gallery of buffoons challenging him in the primaries – even though his policy prescriptions are thin, subject to magic math or are sometimes (notably in foreign policy) utter nonsense.

It is truly depressing that a man who would say anything with no moral or ideological core could be this close to winning the Presidency.

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Posted on 18-09-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The political world is buzzing with the scoop by David Corn of Mother Jones, who posted video of Mitt Romney unplugged at a fundraiser.  The video below has attracted the most attention.

 

 

At some level Mitt Romney’s disdain for the economically underprivileged is hardly surprising.  Republicans and other defenders of the “suffering” wealthy have been peddling the silly statistic peddled by Romney above.   Ezra Klein notes just how misleading this statistic it.  Also see here.  The 47% Romney casts as moochers on the public dole are succinctly broken down by the chart below from the tax policy center.

 

 

It is troubling that a man whose candidacy is based on his alleged knowledge of the economy gleaned from a very successful career as a tax arbitrage corporate raider is so clueless about this basic issue, or perhaps does not give a damn.

A few of interesting oversights by Mr. Romney must be noted here.  28.3% of the mooching 47% pay payroll tax.  As a result they probably pay a higher tax rate than the plutocrat running for President – Romney’s tax burden is paid largely through capital gains tax and he likely paid no payroll tax the last few years.  And seriously, does Romney really mean to tax the elderly living off their savings/and or social security to further reduce taxes for people of his class? Given his vague plans sprinkled with pixie dust, who knows.

Speaking of handouts, the reason Romney pays so little in taxes is because of a sweetheart handout granted by the government to people like him for the management of venture capital firms.  It is also a bit rich for a man who said it was a qualification for the presidency to not pay more taxes than due to denigrate the poor for not paying taxes when they had no capacity to do so.

Sensing trouble for an already reeling campaign, Romney tried to dismiss this as speaking off the cuff in a hastily convened press conference (consisting of three questions and a hurried retreat from journalists). Video below:

 

 

This is the latest bout of condescension from a fabulously wealthy candidate who has shown no ability to relate to people outside his economic class. The partisans committed to removing Obama may not care, but I wonder how this will play with independents.

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Posted on 23-05-2011
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The weather-vane of the Republican party has a problem.  His record.  Even if some of his policies were pragmatic and defensible, he faces a party that rejects former conservative ideas when they are embraced by the Democrats, particularly Barack Obama.  Mitt Romney has shown an impressive ability to change positions like a chameleon changes colors (and then to attack opponents for holding positions he held a short while back).  Needless to say his opponents in 2008 pounced on this trait during the debates, particularly in the two videos below:

 

 

 

Now a democratic operative in South Carolina has added to Romney’s misery by preparing the attack ad below composed almost entirely of Romney statements.

 

 

Note to the rest of the Democrats – there is a treasure trove out there on YouTube that is begging for attention.  Much of it does not even need to be “quoted out of context.”

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