Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

I was working on this post for a good hour last night, and when I went to save what I had written, WordPress logged me out and wiped out the whole thing! I couldn’t begin to recall everything I had written, and I was extremely discouraged to put it mildly.

Next time, I’ll try to remember to save my work more often. For awhile there WordPress had managed to save posts even when they did their stupid logout trick. But not last night. I did my best to redo the stuff I lost, but I know I lost some bon mots.

After a brief truce in deference to the latest mass murder in the U.S., President Obama and Mitt Romney returned to campaigning yesterday. President Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars while his challenger raised more millions. The LA Times summarizes the back and forth.

President Obama’s campaign…accus[ed] Romney of harboring a “secret” foreign policy, and pushing him to detail his plans to end the war in Afghanistan and his approach to Russia and Israel. The Romney campaign responded by saying the president had eroded key alliances and promising Romney would “restore the pillars of American strength.”

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Obama portrayed his foreign policy record as one of promises fulfilled, and he took veiled jabs at Romney and other critics of his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and drawdown of troops from Afghanistan.

Today Romney will speak to the VFW before heading off to London to see the Olympics, attend two posh fundraisers, and meet with some British VIPs. After that he heads to Israel for a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and another fundraiser, and then on to Poland, where he

will visit Gdansk and Warsaw on July 30 and 31 at the invitation of Lech Walesa, the communist-era dissident who in 1983 won the Nobel Peace Prize for his defiance of the communist regime.

There were a couple of good hit pieces on Romney at the Huffington Post yesterday.

Ryan Grim: Mitt Romney Made Over $25 Million In Foreign Income While Governing, Campaigning.

Mitt Romney accumulated more than $25 million in foreign income between 2005 and 2010, while he was governor of Massachusetts and a presidential candidate, according to an analysis of his 2010 tax return.

The 2010 return lists foreign tax payments Romney made dating back to 2000. By Romney standards, the payments were modest through 2004, averaging $37,000 a year. In 2005, however, his foreign tax bill shot up to $333,149 and stayed high for the next three years, before dipping in 2009, as the financial crisis hit hard.

In 2010, Romney’s foreign tax bill was down to $67,173 on declared foreign income of $1,525,982. That’s a 4.4 percent rate. After expenses and various other deductions, Romney declared a net foreign income of $392,000, making his net tax rate 17 percent.

Because the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has so far declined to release his earlier tax returns, HuffPost made a rough calculation of his prior foreign earnings by assuming he paid similar tax rates in previous years.

Read the rest at the link.

Jason Cherkis and Laura Bassett: Bain Capital Created ‘Demoralizing’ Culture of Layoffs At Florida Plant.

When Dade Behring started cutting employees under Bain Capital’s management in the late ’90s, Cindy Hewitt was on the front lines. As a human resources manager for the Dade East plant in Miami, Hewitt had to decide which employees had needed skills and whose jobs were expendable.

News of the latest layoffs trickled down to the Dade company cafeteria. The room could seat more than 1,000, and it had been enough of a draw that it even offered breakfast.

But as the layoffs hit, the mood in the cafeteria could be as somber as a funeral, Hewitt recalled. Multiple members of the same family might be gathered to commiserate over being laid off one by one by one. Some of them had worked for the medical diagnostics company for more than a decade.

Hewitt saw her colleagues crying on a daily basis and loudly celebrating on the rare occasion that someone found a comparable new job. “There was a tremendous sense of loss and this kind of outpouring of grief and mourning as every day they waited for the announcement of who was going next,” she said. “People were on pins and needles. Who’s going next? They’re worried for themselves, worried for their co-workers, worried for their families. They’d talk about how they were going to send their kids to college. It was an incredibly depressing and demoralizing environment.”

There’s lots more at HuffPo.

Here’s some more proof that the rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer: Yankees Acquire Ichiro Suzuki From Mariners

With a little more than two months remaining in the season, the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki, who became the first Japan-born position player in the majors when he joined the Mariners in 2001, when he was named the rookie of the year and the Most Valuable Player.

Before Monday’s game between the two teams at Safeco Field, the Yankees sent minor league pitchers D. J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners for Suzuki , whose five-year, $90 million contract expires after this season. The Yankees will also receive cash considerations to offset the financial commitment.

Wearing a dark blue suit with gray pinstripes, Suzuki walked down the hallway from the Seattle clubhouse over to the visitors’ side, stopping in the middle to speak at a news conference.

“I am going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins,“ he said through his interpreter, “so I am not able to contain my excitement in that regard.“

Once a great player, Suzuki is now just another mercenary.

Scott Brown has pulled another dumb trick. He’s using a line from a famous poem by Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again,” to attack President Obama and Elizabeth Warren for saying that governments provide services and infrastructure that support businesses. If that makes no sense to you, you’re not alone. Interestingly, Rick Santorum used the same line during the Republican presidential primaries and was mightily mocked for it. But Scott Brown was probably meeting with Kings and Queens at the time and missed the uproar. Besides, he’s really not all that bright, poor thing.

A new video from Brown, soliciting donations for his neck-and-neck campaign against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, is headlined “Let America Be America Again” – the title of Hughes’ well-known 1935 poem, first published in Esquire magazine, that suggests the American dream never really existed for many Americans, including the lower classes, blacks, Native Americans, and other minority groups.

“There’s never been equality for me/Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free,’” Hughes writes in an aside between verses. “America never was America to me.”

The Brown campaign’s two and a half minute video tribute to small business, complete with stirring music and iconic images such as flags and white picket fences, chronicles what it portrays as a change in the United States from the words of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson – Democrats all – as well as Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, to current President Barack Obama and Warren, his uber-progressive rival.

watch?v=oqDIjGsBEP8&feature=player_embedded&w=400

Langston Hughes died in 1967 at the age of 65, but chances are if he were still alive today he would not be a Republican. Hughes’s poetry was frequently published in the Communist Party USA newspaper and he was involved in various initiatives supported by leftist organizations. Hughes traveled widely in the Soviet Union in 1932, and was later inducted into the International Union of Revolutionary Writers.

Oh, and BTW, Hughes is believed to have been gay.

USA Today had an interesting article on a polar bear DNA study.

Polar bears split from ancient bears more than 4 million years ago, suggests ancient DNA and the gene maps of multiple bears.

The polar bear genome finding reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal contradicts earlier gene studies finding much more recent times for the ancestral split, within 600,000 years, between polar bears and grizzly bears, which can still mate and produce viable offspring.

What’s more, the report suggests that polar bear numbers have been on the decline for at least 500,000 years, driven by climate fluctuations.

“Although polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) are considered separate species, analyses of fossil evidence and mitochondrial sequence data have indicated a recent divergence of polar bears from within brown bears,” begins the study led by Penn State’s Webb Miller.

For those who are still interested in thinking about the why of mass murders, I suggest reading a 2005 interview with Mark Ames, who wrote a book on school and workplace shootings called “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion — From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.”

Ames is a true radical, and so of course he has a radical hypothesis about these horrible murders that have become pretty common in our culture. He argues that they are rooted in Reganomics and the philosophy of greed and avarice that he made popular back in the ugly ’80s. From the interviewer’s introduction:

Ames takes a systematic look at the scores of rage killings in our public schools and workplaces that have taken place over the past 25 years. He claims that instead of being the work of psychopaths, they were carried out by ordinary people who had suffered repeated humiliation, bullying and inhumane conditions that find their origins in the “Reagan Revolution.” Looking through a carefully researched historical lens, Ames recasts these rage killings as failed slave rebellions.

And from Ames himself:

Put it this way: rage murders in the workplace never existed anywhere in history until Reagan came to power. Reagan made it respectable to be a mean, stupid bastard in this country. He is the patron saint of white suckers. He unleashed America’s Heart of Vileness — its penchant for hating people who didn’t get rich, and worshipping people who despise them, and this is the essence of Reaganomics.

I hate to sound like a Clintonite here, but let’s remember Hillary Clinton became the most hated human being alive because she tried to give most Americans the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives, while these same Americans adored goons like Sam Walton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump — everyone who has dedicated their lives to transferring wealth, health and pleasure from the masses to a tiny elite. Liberals are hated in America precisely because they want to help people, which is seen as “patronizing.”

You can see how this kind of cultural insanity, unleashed by Reaganomics after decades of New Deal (relative) harmony, could make someone snap, when the cognitive dissonance suddenly strikes on a very personal level, and you realize that you’ve been screwed hard by your own dominant ideology.

Here’s an interesting 2007 review of Ames’ book by Ed Vulliamy from The Guardian UK.

Ames also wrote a lengthy analysis of One L. Goh’s rampage at Oikos University in Oakland, CA.

For a more mainstream take on the recent events in Aurora, Colorado, check out this piece by Dave Cullen, author of the book “Columbine.” He points out that just about everything the media immediately assumed about Harris and Klebold was wrong and that we still know almost nothing about James Holmes or his motives. Obviously, I agree.

Finally, here’s a piece that provides some support for Mark Ames’ argument that our culture has just plain turned mean and is getting meaner all the time: The Elites Are Unanimous: Lower Everyone’s Wages and Standard of Living — Except They Don’t Say it Out Loud

That’s it for me for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


47 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Capehart responds to a series of racist screeds sent to him by a “reader” who thinks Trayvon Martin “got what he deserved.”

    We’ve even seen some of these racist arguments from occasional visitors to our threads, e.g., “why don’t you write about black about black crime?”

    • RalphB says:

      Great roundup BB. Thanks.

    • RalphB says:

      Trayvon Martin’s murder brought some racists out from under their rocks. Wow.

      • bostonboomer says:

        They all use the same illogical arguments. As if Trayvon Martin should have died for everything any black person ever did. What about *white on white* crime. I’ll bet there’s a lot of that too!

      • Pat Johnson says:

        You need to look no further than Wall Street to witness the “white on white” crimes: they did a pretty good job of stealing from pension funds and the life savings of mostly white victims along the way. Yet they have gone unpunished as being “too big to fail”.

        The NRA and the monied class have shown that they are capable of “buying” elected officials across the nation to craft their own laws which makes all those involved equally culpable in the tragedies that have emanated from the easy accessibility to military weapons that should never be let loose in society.

  2. RalphB says:

    Jeff Faux’s article on the falling wages and standard of living was pretty depressing but certainly seems born out by some evidence. I found this disheartening to say the least.

    Majorities think that the next generation is going to be worse off, but they expect that they, personally, and their kids will be okay. So, while they might agree with the points made by the Wall Street Occupiers, it’s not worth the effort to join the protest.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is depressing. I probably shouldn’t have made that my last link. Since I’m an eternal optimist, I don’t quite accept his dark vision.

      • RalphB says:

        I tend to be an optimist as well so, while I think his article is what a lot of the 1% are hoping for, I really don’t believe the American people will let them get away with it in the end.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    A Massachusetts women, Julie Goodridge, talks about her disturbing encounter with Mitt Romney when she was part of the lawsuit over marriage rights while he was governor.

    Goodridge’s story is compelling. When she gave birth to her daughter Annie in 1995, there were severe complications. Annie was rushed to the intensive care unit, so Goodridge’s then-partner Hillary followed in order to be with their child. When Hillary tried to return to her partner’s bedside, she was denied entry into the recovery room because she was not recognized as Goodridge’s next of kin. Distraught, Hillary then attempted to rejoin their daughter in the ICU, but was barred from seeing her daughter because she wasn’t regarded as the infant’s “real mother.”

    She and some others were finally granted an interview with Romney–after some media pressure.

    when the meeting finally did occur, it was ”truthfully the most frustrating experience that [she] had in the entire marriage case. . . both [Goodridge and her partner] had some pretty frustrating conversations, but this one took the cake.” The governor allegedly acted as though he didn’t know who they were, despite the fact that they were plaintiffs in a landmark case, essentially setting the tone for the rest of the meeting.

    However, it’s what Goodrich says happened at the end of that meeting that chilled this blogger to the bone:

    “I looked [Romney] in the eye as we were leaving the meeting, and I said in exasperation, ‘Governor Romney, tell me: what would you suggest I say to my eight-year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married? Because you, the governor of her state, is going to block our marriage.’ And he looked at me, and he said — kind of looked over my shoulder with this blank stare and said — ‘I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her what you’ve been telling her for the last eight years?’”

    • Pat Johnson says:

      This can’t be the same Romney that assured the voters in 1994 that he was more liberal than Ted Kennedy is it? The same Romney that was all for pro choice back then?

      Cenk did a segment last night with a reporter who is covering Mittens and he showed how Romney – in his own words – has changed his position on choice 7 times in the last 15 years.

      He is shown taking his case to the Mormon leaders, admitting to them that the only way for a Mormon to gain traction within the electorate is to pay lip service during the campaign. And they approved of his tactics when he ran in MA and was thinking of running for governor of Utah at one time. His allegiance is truly with that “religion” and probably where he stands now is where he actually has stood from the outset leaving aside his need to appeal to the religious Right.

      Mitt Romney is a liar and a cheat but does so without conscience since the end justifies the means in his worldview.

      • RalphB says:

        Yep. That’s what I see when I look at Romney. A dedicated cult member and heartless bastard.

    • RalphB says:

      After reading your posts about Romney, that’s exactly the kind of bloodless reptilian response I would have imagined from him.

  4. joanelle says:

    Thanks for this good read – can’t imagine how your first attempt could have been much better

  5. bostonboomer says:

    On Morning Joe they keep announcing that Obama’s attacks on Bain and Romney’s taxes aren’t working. They wish. New poll says something different.

    More than a third of voters who are registered to a party or as an independent said in the online survey that what they had heard about Romney’s taxes and his time at Bain Capital private equity firm had given them a less favorable impression of the Republican candidate.

    And particularly worrying for Romney is that a large slice of independent voters — whom he needs to win the November 6 election — are also buying into the Obama campaign’s portrayal of him as a ruthless businessman who may be hiding something in his taxes.

    “With three-quarters of registered voters saying they’ve heard at least a little about these issues, I would say the Obama campaign has been successful in raising them to the national conscience,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

    After weeks of accusations from Obama and his allies that Romney cut U.S. jobs and sent them overseas while he headed Bain, 36 percent of registered voters said the issue had made them see Romney less favorably, compared to 18 percent who said they were now more favorable toward the former governor of Massachusetts.

    Among independents, 26 percent regarded him less favorably and 13 percent more favorably after hearing about his business tenure.

    • Allie says:

      So many of us independents who are older and are likely voters are survivors of the modern era of downsizing and outsourcing. I’ve been laid off and downsized more than half a dozen times since 1990 – mostly because of company mergers or outsourcing. I’m always cognizant of the fact I could be laid off at any time no matter how good my performance. I’m one of two persons left in my department – out of over 40+. I can’t imagine anyone with my experiences voting for Romney.

      I’m not voting for BHO either, though.

      Oh and back in the mid-90s I remember wondering what are companies going to do when nobody is working in this country and they can’t sell their products or services. And in the mid-2000’s I remember realizing senior management didn’t give a rat’s @ss about what the company produced. They were 100% focused on flipping the company for profit. And they did.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Romney destroyed many of the records of his time with the Olympics–just like he did with his Mass. records.

  7. RalphB says:

    Depraved culture h/t stevem

    • RalphB says:

      That was in response to this.

      • bostonboomer says:

        They loved Bobby Knight in Indiana too. IU hasn’t won the tournament since he left either.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Texas man accidentally shoots gun while waiting in line at Walmart.

    MyFoxDFW.com reported that the suspect, who was not identified, accidentally fired his gun while he reached into his wallet at the Dallas-area store. The bullet hit the man in the buttock and shattered on the ground. Fragments hit a child in the leg and a woman in the foot, the report said.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Yep, that’s us! Locked and loaded for a trip to Walmart where maybe somebody else grabs that parking space or another idiot cuts you off in traffic.

      Insanity. Pure insanity to feel we must be armed at all times as an expression of “freedom”.

      Bet that child and the other woman are “thrilled” to have been standing in line when they were with some yahoo whose stray bullet found its way to where he stores his brains.

    • Fannie says:

      Did he have a permit?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, he had a concealed carry permit. What a dope. If people could carry guns into stores here, I’d never shop in a store again. At least no one can shoot me over the internet.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    Romney is going to “create jobs” about as much as the Red Sox are going to win the pennant this year. (That wet stain on your computers are my tears.)

    Unreasonable to assume that either one has a chance of doing either one.

  10. RalphB says:

    The winner is named Pebbles. I kid you not 🙂

    LGM: And the Winner of Miss Conservative Goes to….A White Woman!

    Because liberal fascists have taken over our beauty pageants, conservatives have decided to start their own Miss Conservative Pageant.

    Never mind that many liberals are more or less disgusted by such events and how they objectify women. Or that…oh why even bother pointing out how ridiculous this is. Refuting conservative arguments is like arguing with children. A pointless waste of time.

    • HT says:

      What a surprise! I bet that Haile Berrie, had she entered would not have won (she’s only half white). BTW, how many WOC were entered?

      • HT says:

        Forgot to mention, I’m one of those liberals who are disgusted by these pageants. To my mind they are nothing better than a parade of livestock in the auctioneer’s ring.

      • RalphB says:

        I agree.

      • RalphB says:

        There’s a link to an article with pictures in the LGM post. Most memorable was American flag hot pants, real classy 🙂

      • HT says:

        Ewww Ralph, I didn’t watch the link before. I was right – not one WOC however I suspect that they offset that with the emcee and judge, who are privileged males of color, right?
        Watching those women parading around, I fall back on the livestock in the auctioneer’s ring comment, and because you mentioned that American flag costume, I perused the whole thing. lots of nip and tuck and far too many blondes – this from someone who was a blonde (naturally) for most of her life, until the grey got out of control.

      • RalphB says:

        HT. It’s a different world out there somewhere.

      • HT says:

        Ralph, if this is their world, I exert my right not to have to live there. Geez, it’s stunted and quite frankly, ugly.

  11. The Rock says:

    All of which leaves the American middle class on a badly listing, although not yet sinking, economic ship. Even before the financial crash, real wages for the typical American worker had been stagnant for 30 years as a result of: 1) trade and investment deregulation that shoved American workers into a brutally competitive global labor market for which they were unprepared; 2) the relentless war on unions that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980; and 3) more recently, the erosion of the social safety net for low wage workers and the unemployed.

    Great roundup BB, and good catch on this article. It’s strange to me how the political class doesn’t understand that a thriving middle class ensures national safety and their OWN job security. It appears that we are a long way from the bottom and its going to hurt both on the way and when we hit the bottom.

    We are so f*&ked…..

    Hillary 2012

    BTW – in the Yankees defence (I’m a Braves fan and they beat us 4 times in the World Series, so I harbor a fair share off ill will towards them), at least they are spending the money to acquire and maintain good players. The Astros seem to ENJOY languishing at the bottom of the NL….

    Hillary 2012

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. Players don’t stick with one team anymore. I still don’t think the Yankees will win it all. I don’t have to worry about the Red Sox this year. They’re dead.

      • BJK says:

        In Ichiro’s defense, he had no choice but to go to the NYY, and an earlier statement was quite tinged with regret about not being a Mariner for the 1st time ever in the US. His statement above hardly seems enthusiastic. If he has any relatives in Japan who try to visit, that trade just added over 10 hrs to their round trip.

        Anyway, the Mariners controlled Ichiro until the end of the season, and if they sold his contract, he had to go. The Mariners knew they couldn’t afford him once he hit free agency, so to guarantee anything in return they had to trade before the non-waiver deadline of 7/31. Save an assessment of Ichiro til you see if he is more than an end-of-season rental for the NYY. I see him trying to go back to the West Coast.

        I have lots of respect for Ichiro, way beyond his playing. I remember reading an interview with him in Sept 2001 where the reporter asked his dog’s name. Ichiro demurred, indicating that he would have to ask the dog’s permission first. The other cool bit I remember was an anecdote about an minister asking ‘who can we trust in these trying times?’ or some such rhetorical query, and a voice from the back shouted “Ichiro!”

      • bostonboomer says:

        I have respect for him too. My comments were intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. I just hated to see it happen to him.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Romney is talking to the VFW right now, and he’s not exactly getting resounding applause. He just said that Obama doesn’t want America to be strong, and now he’s talking about holding the torch again. Now he’s yelling, “I love America!” “I believe in America!”

    Wow, the applause at the end was just a smattering!

    • RalphB says:

      I listened to part of his speech. It’s one of the few times I can honestly say I feel dumber now than before it. A paucity of information while the cliches were killing brain cells 😉

      • bostonboomer says:

        He really sounds simple-minded, especially when he starts yelling about how much he loves America. It seems to me he loves the Cayman Islands, Panama, Bermuda, and Luxembourg a lot more.

      • RalphB says:

        Great hit 🙂

  13. RalphB says:

    Another Perry “Oops” moment?

    Perry Flirts With Giving Obama More Power Over Texas

    Gov. Rick Perry’s persistent refusal to implement ‘Obamacare’ in the name of states’ rights might further endear him to the GOP base. But if states’ rights is the goal, his strategy is counterproductive as it’s providing the Obama administration more power over Texas.

    The latest chapter in this story, as NPR reports, is Perry slow-walking the law’s probe of insurance company rate hikes, known as rate review. The move could similarly turn over his administration’s authority to police insurance company practices to the federal government.

    To protect consumers, the Affordable Care Act requires states to review insurance rate hikes above 10 percent and, if deemed unreasonable, compel the companies to justify them. Since the provision took effect last September, insurers have made 9 requests, NPR reports, and nearly a year later Texas hasn’t reviewed a single one, even though it accepted a $1 million federal grant for rate review. Meanwhile, state insurers are freely raising their rates, including one company that jacked rates by about 20 percent.

  14. RalphB says:

    President Obama on Mitt Romney’s Misleading Attacks. He may have read Dak’s posts 😉

  15. Wow, so I need to catch up, been out all day getting stuff done. School starts next week for us here in Banjoville.