Bailout Binging Bainster TV Ad

 

We at AmericanLP have created a new ad to spotlight Mitt Romney's hypocrisy on the issue of bailouts. By now, most observers have learned that Mitt Romney was against a bailout for Detroit. But what even many political insiders don't realize is that Mitt Romney has been the beneficiary of a Federal bailout of sorts. As head of Bain and Co in the early 90s (he had been brought back from Bain Capital to sort out the mess at the mother company), Romney was in charge of keeping Bain from imploding under a huge mountain of debt. In addition to firing lots of people (naturally), Romney also squeezed suppliers and other creditors. What's more, Bain had a $38 million loan from the Bank of New England, and that the Bank of New England had its own problems and had been taken over by the FDIC.

Romney shrewdly re-negotiated the Bain loan from $38 million to $28 million. So what does that mean, exactly? Well, since the FDIC is an arm of the Federal government, that means, essentially, that the FDIC (ahem, taxpayers) ate the difference. In other words, Romney conned the government into giving him and his cronies a $10 million bailout.

Yes, this was legal for Romney to do—other business people do it all the time. But it was a bailout to the tune of $10 million, Romney did personally benefit, and it's a bit rich for Romney to be so sanctimonious about other people getting bailouts. Critics of our ad would suggest that it is unfair to imply that Romney benefited personally from the $10, million write-offs. While the money went to Bain and Co, Romney actually benefited to a much greater degree than $10 million. If Bain and Co had not gotten the bailout, it would have likely imploded. If Bain and Co had imploded, it would have likely tainted Bain Capital to such a degree that it would have been destroyed. If Bain Capital had been dismantled, Romney would have never been able to make his quarter billion that has allowed him the life of the perpetual candidate. Yes, this stuff is complicated—but that's why rich finance guys like Romney are able to play the system to their advantage.

We start the ad with images of Ronald Reagan talking about the Chicago welfare queen in a Cadillac. This was a story Reagan told over and over again in the 1976 and 1980 campaigns. Even though Reagan never specified it was a black woman, it was widely assumed by most observers across the spectrum that Reagan was in fact talking about a black woman from Chicago with 80 different fake names. (It turns out that Reagan didn't have his facts straight on this—surprise, surprise)

By showing Reagan at the beginning of the ad, we are trying to evoke the warm feelings conservative Republicans have toward Reagan and his beliefs about "welfare queens." That is why we are literally showing what appears to be a woman driving a pink Cadillac in an inner city. We then show that in fact the "woman" is none other than Mitt Romney in drag. Romney should actually be seen as a modern day welfare queen who ripped off the government for more than any "welfare queen" from the inner city could ever imagine.
By portraying Romney this way, we are attempting to turn ugly racist beliefs on their head and make people realize that the biggest freeloaders on the government system are actually people who look like Mitt Romney.

At the end of the ad, we show Mitt Romney's vacation mansion worth $10 million. We aren't suggesting that Romney criminally stole tax dollars to buy his house illegally. But money is fungible, so any money that benefits Romney in one account can be used to purchase luxuries from any other account.

The point is that Romney and his colleagues at Bain were already wealthy by the early 1990s when the difficulties with the loan arose. Because, as we know, "corporations are people," Romney and his cronies weren't personally liable for the full $38 million. Instead, just the corporate entity of Bain and Company was liable. But there was nothing stopping Romney or his wealthy colleagues at Bain from paying back the full $10 million out of their own pocket at the time. For that matter, Romney and his colleagues could have paid the Government back in later years, after they'd all become super, super rich.

The bottom line is Romney got the best deal he could, just because he could. And yet he belongs to a political party that says people who do that are evil parasites for not being "rugged individuals" and succeeding on their own merits.

Finally, our goal here is to make conservatives sickened by the hypocrisy of Romney taking bailouts and for moderates and independents to be disgusted by Romney for making himself richer at the expense of average taxpayers. This bailout for Romney is a perfect window into why Romney should be seen as an utterly detestable and phony candidate regardless of one's ideological position. Please take a look at the ad below.

http://youtu.be/-L8oCg_pM2M

 

OCCUPY WALL STREET: Separating Fact from Media

 

By Walter Brasch

 

Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter, spreading the lies of the extreme right wing, called the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “tattooed, body-pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun.” She claimed the protestors, now in the thousands in New York, are “directionless losers [who] pose for cameras while uttering random liberal clichés lacking any reason or coherence.” (Several hundred thousand of these “directionless losers” are expected to attend rallies in more than 650 cities, Oct. 15.)

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House majority leader, called the protest nothing more than “growing mobs,” completely oblivious to his myriad statements that he supports “mobs” when they are from the Tea Party. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, tacking as far right as possible to avoid anyone thinking he was once a moderate, called the protest “dangerous.”

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, in a moment that demonstrated how out of touch he is with the economic reality of the five-year recession, argued, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks; if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

Glenn Beck, too irrational even for Fox News, which terminated him less than two years after it tried to make him a TV superstar, told his radio audience, the protestors “will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you.”

Lauren Ellis of Mother Jones, at one time a cutting edge magazine for social justice, believed that the protestors have a “lack of focus.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, wrote, “A protest without an objective is like a party or a picnic of the unemployed and the indolent. Unless you have an objective, what are you doing out there?”

First, let’s see just who these protestors really are. And then, let’s see what they stand for, since the mainstream media, of which Fox News is an entrenched part, don’t seem to be getting the message from the people.

The protestors rightly say they are part of the 99 percent; the other one percent have 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, the top 20 percent have more than 85 percent of the nation’s wealth, the highest accumulation since 1928, the year before the Great Depression. Even the most oblivious recognize the protestors as a large cross-section of America. They are students and teachers; housewives, plumbers, and physicians; combat veterans from every war from World War II to the present. They are young, middle-aged, and elderly. They are high school dropouts and Ph.D.s. They are from all religions and no religion, and a broad spectrum of political views.

 Support has come from senior politicians with very different philosophies. Vice President Joe Biden believes the protests are because “In the minds of the vast majority of the American–the middle class is being screwed.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), unlike a vast majority of Republican politicians, stated, “If they were demonstrating peacefully, and making a point, and arguing our case, and drawing attention to the Fed—I would say, ‘good!’”

 Second, like all protests, there are different opinions within the ranks. But, there is a core of beliefs. The protestors are fed up with corporate greed that has a base of corporate welfare and special tax benefits for the rich. They support the trade union movement, Medicare and Social Security, affordable health care for all citizens, and programs to assist the unemployed, disenfranchised, and underclass. A nation that cannot take care of the least among us doesn’t deserve to be called the best of us.

They’re mad that the home mortgage crisis, begun when greed overcame ethics and was then magnified by the failure of regulatory agencies and the Congress to provide adequate oversight, robbed all of America of its financial security. During the first half of this year alone, banks and lending agencies have sent notices to more than 1.2 million homeowners whose loans and mortgages are in default status, according to RealtyTrak. Of course, less regulation is just what conservatives want—after all, their mantra has become, “no government in our lives.”

The protestors are mad that the wealthiest corporations pay little or no taxes. They point to the Bank of America, part of the mortgage crisis problem, which earned a $4.4 billion profit last year, but received a $1.9 billion tax refund on top of a bailout of about $1 trillion. They look at ExxonMobil, which earned more than $19 billion profit in 2009, paid no taxes and received a $156 million federal rebate. Its profit for the first half of 2011 is about $ 21.3 billion.

They rightfully note that it is slimy when General Electric, whose CEO is a close Obama advisor, earned a $26 billion profit during the past five years, but still received a $4.1 billion refund.  

They’re mad that the federal government has given the oil industry more than $4 billion in subsidy, although the industry earned more than $1 trillion in profits the past decade.

They’re mad that Goldman Sachs, after receiving a $10 billion government bailout, and a $2.7 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011, shipped about 1,000 jobs overseas. During the past decade, corporations, which have paid little or no federal taxes, have outsourced at least 2.4 million jobs and are hoarding trillions which could be used to spur job growth and the economy.

They’re mad that corporations that took federal bailout money gave seven-figure bonuses to their executives.

They’re mad that the U.S., of all industrialized countries, has the highest ratio of executive pay to that of the average worker. The U.S. average is about 300 to 475 times that of the average worker. In Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and England, the average CEO earns between 10 and 20 times what the average worker earns, and no one in those countries believes the CEOs are underpaid.

 They’re mad that 47 percent of all persons who earned at least $250,000 last year, including about 1,500 millionaires, paid no taxes, according to Newsmax. If you’re a Republican member of Congress, that’s perfectly acceptable. They’re the ones who thought President Obama was launching class warfare against the rich by trying to restore the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans. They succeeded in blocking tax reform and a jobs bill, but failed to understand the simple reality—if there is class warfare, it is being waged by the elite greedy and their Congressional lackeys.

 Herman Cain, Fox TV pundit Sean Hannity, and others from the extreme right wing said the protestors are un-American, apparently for protesting corporate greed. The Occupy Wall Street protestors aren’t un-American; those who defend the destruction of the middle class by defending greed, and unethical and illegal behavior, are.

 [Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 17 books. His latest book is Before the First Snow, a social issues mystery set in rural Pennsylvania.]

 

 

 

Romney Wants Credit For Obama Auto Bailout

2012 Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is pretending he was in favor (and came up with the idea) of bailing out bankrupt car companies. MSNBC host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

 

Romney Wants Credit For Obama Auto Bailout

2012 Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is pretending he was in favor (and came up with the idea) of bailing out bankrupt car companies. MSNBC host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

 

Sarah Palin as Policy Wonk

It would have probably been fair to say of Sarah Palin that until a few days ago 'policy wonk' would have been an unlikely description, love her or loathe her, of any facet of her complex relationship with American politics. But now this:
I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of government securities. The technical term for it is “quantitative easing.” It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air. Sarah Palin via Robert Costa- Palin to Bernanke: ‘Cease and Desist’ National Review 7 Nov 10
That's very interesting on a lot of levels. The piece is coherent and sober and, more importantly, it is aimed directly at a weak point in the current administration's monetary policy and an electoral vulnerability in the allegiances of establishment Republicans in the newly constituted House of Representatives. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the champion of this recently announced second round of 'quantitative easing,' promised Congress on 3 June 2009 that the Federal Reserve would not 'monetise the debt' of the US government, in other words just print money "out of thin air." But that seems to be exactly what we are now proposing to do and there are dissenting opinions within the Federal Reserve system itself:
For the next eight months, the nation’s central bank will be monetizing the federal debt. This is risky business. We know that history is littered with the economic carcasses of nations that incorporated this as a regular central bank practice. So how can the ['quantitative easing'] decision made last Wednesday be justified? Richard W Fischer - Recent Decisions of the Federal Open Market Committee: A Bridge to Fiscal Sanity? Federal Reserve of Dallas 8 Nov 10
So which is it? Well, that all depends on whose telling the story. But it's already a done deal. There is a lot of chatter on the financial blogs that 'quantitative easing' is a stealth bailout, that it is an opportunity for financial institutions to improve liquidity by taking positions in advance of government bond purchases and that it will result in considerable inflation of basic commodities and weaken the dollar internationally. And it is hard to argue that this analysis is inaccurate given the Federal Reserves somewhat desperate position to get money moving again in the US economy without it being squirrelled away by the manufacturing and retail sectors against better times. In fact, there are increasingly vocal objections from the Left and the Right over this latest Federal Reserve policy. So what is Sarah's play? Well, back on 22 September the third-ranking Congressional Republican weighed in:
Washington, DC – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement today after the Federal Reserve announced it will inflate the currency by $600 billion in a new round of "quantitative easing." "I am strongly opposed to the Fed’s decision to debase the American dollar by $600 billion.  While the Fed claims its action will ‘stimulate’ the economy, it will fail just as badly as President Obama’s ‘stimulus’ because it promotes short-term consumption, debt, and uncertainty in the private sector while penalizing working families, retirees, and especially entrepreneurs who need a large pool of savings to start new businesses, expand current ones, and stay on the cutting-edge."   Karl Denninger - Cathy McMorris (R-WA-5) Condemns Bernanke Market Ticker 3 Nov 10
But since then? Crickets... Interestingly enough most within the establishment Republican leadership have said nothing on this issue. No prizes guessing why. And Sarah has now stepped up to the plate with a policy Republicans will be squirming to argue against, no matter what their lobbyists are telling them. This seems a reasonably mainstream Republican position for the Tea Party caucus to rally behind as an opening gambit against traditional House Republicans with the Obama administration as the ultimate target. We'll see. The price of petrol at the bowser and basic commodities like food will be the success indicators for this strategy and if they go up one could expect some mileage out of this in the short term. Sarah seems to be betting they will and she may be taking good advice. Anything else is just wishful thinking. As for more long term issues, consider the long-standing and rarely mentioned Tea Party policy of 'auditing the Fed.' This has support from both the Tea Party and some progressives. Have a look at HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, a Ron Paul bill from the 111th Congress with three-hundred and twenty cosponsors, including Michelle Bachmann, Alan Grayson and Dennis Kucinich. That's the kind of populist issue that might prove an easy victory to the first claimant. Establishment Republicans may be in for more than they bargained for with their Tea Party cohort but if this wave catches it could be enough to inundate unwary Democrats as well. The presidential election in 2012 will be fought on issues of economic populism and Sarah Palin may have just fired the opening salvo. Cross-posted at Daily Kos and Red State

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