Archive for Corporatocracy
I thought I should point out that the constant flood of mailers crowding the mailboxes of people in the 115th district in support of Nathan Ramsey are straight from the Koch Brothers.
Americans for Prosperity is the sister group of FreedomWorks. Both originated from the original Super Pac, Citizens For A Sound Economy. When it split, Dick Armey took control of one group, and David Koch the other. They have operated in synchronous orbit around Washington DC ever since, and they represent perhaps the most powerful corporate lobbying force in the nation. Read More→
Anyone who saw it will know what I’m talking about. That was one of the most awkward speeches I’ve ever seen at a National Convention, personifying a grumpiness, confusion, and factual ambivalence that exemplifies the approach being taken by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee. The entire Convention theme was predicated on a strawman argument, and last night was virtually policy-free. Romney and surrogates spun his polling weaknesses hard in an effort to move the numbers. Likeability, Bain, minorities, women, and Medicare were repackaged and trotted out as though none of the substantive issues raised by skeptics had any merit. The whole scene was a focus-grouped exercise in creating a narrative. If that narrative had any relation to the factual reality you and I occupy, it was wholly accidental.
I saw a great tweet from Sam Spencer: “You know whose empty chair will be at #dnc2012? Osama bin Laden’s.”
Next, of course, it’ll be time for the Democrats to build a narrative of their own. While I don’t expect them to make the Convention a policy wonk’s wet dream, I do expect that they’ll actually say what they would do differently from a Romney administration. I expect they will say that returning to Bush style supply-side/trickle-down economics is just continuing to set us up for more income inequality and more debt. I expect they’ll say that the Affordable Care Act is insuring millions of people who weren’t insured before. I expect they’ll note that nuclear nonproliferation is a good thing. I expect there to be a lot of policies noted and sold as part of the narrative. There may also be a healthy chunk of factual information about the economic crisis President Obama inherited and the attitude of Congressional Republicans who had no intention of allowing the President to succeed. The GOP has said that this demonstrates a lack of leadership and willingness to accept responsibility. It’s a basic Karl Rove tactic that boils down to accusing the other guys of your own bad behavior.
The narrative is likely to focus on how Mr. Romney is a flip-flopping corporate raider and how President Obama needs four more years to fulfill the hopes of his supporters. It’ll focus on the many successes of the administration while casting the GOP as a fringe party made up of radicals and funded by the 0.1%. It will ignore that Wall Street got away with the 2008 collapse.
Anyway, here’s an open thread. It can be whatever you want it to be. Use the facts, or just spin up a fictitious golem. Bring a fleshy argument or an empty chair.
Politico reports that in a surprise Reddit chat today, President Barack Obama supported a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United:
“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama wrote.
Now, what does “over the longer term” mean?
(UPDATED with link.)
Rolling Stone explains how Gov. Mitt Romney made his money: by buying vulnerable companies, saddling them with the debt Bain Capital raised to buy them, then forcing their companies to take on even more debt to pay off Bain investors, leaving the debt-burdened companies to lay off thousands in an attempt to make the stay ahead of the repayments. As one analyst described it, “borrowing someone else’s credit card to take out a cash advance, and then leaving them to pay it off.”
What worries Matt Taibbi more is what Romney represents: a business model that’s now running for president, and a new global elite who — as Atlantic wrote last year — “view themselves increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.” Taibbi writes:
Listen to Mitt Romney speak, and see if you can notice what’s missing. This is a man who grew up in Michigan, went to college in California, walked door to door through the streets of southern France as a missionary and was a governor of Massachusetts, the home of perhaps the most instantly recognizable, heavily accented English this side of Edinburgh. Yet not a trace of any of these places is detectable in Romney’s diction. None of the people in any of those places bled in and left a mark on the man.
Hey White Guys: Cheaters
Here’s a neat get-out-of-jail trick. The secret is it doesn’t usually work for ordinary crimes by flesh-and-blood people — for smoking marijuana or selling food stamps for rent money, for example. No, those people we warehouse in taxpayer-funded Corrections Corporation of America for-profit prisons. This trick works best for those who have turned themselves into the unnatural, corporate persons they serve. Creatures of appetite and instinct. Bloodless. Soulless. Like vampires, but without the teen angst.
The former Blackwater Security, a North Carolina company with a history of legal troubles, this week walked away from 17 federal charges by paying fines: $7 million for arms trafficking and other charges on top of $42 million for other violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.
U.S. corporations won’t be satisfied until We the People are paying them for making a profit — the way Tom Sawyer tricked friends into paying for the privilege of whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence.
Over a four years period from 2008 to 2011, Corning Inc. was one of 26 companies that managed to avoid paying any American income taxes, even though it earned nearly $3 billion during that time. In fact, according to Citizens For Tax Justice, the company received a $4 million refund from 2008 to 2010. That didn’t stop Susan Ford, a senior executive at the company, from telling the House Ways and Means Committee this week that America’s high corporate tax rate was putting her company at a disadvantage:
American manufacturers are at a distinct disadvantage to competitors headquartered in other countries. Specifically, foreign manufacturers uniformly face a lower corporate tax rate than U.S. manufacturers, and virtually all operate under territorial systems which encourage investment both abroad and at home.
Ford told the committee that Corning paid an effective tax rate of 36 percent in 2011, but as CTJ notes, she is counting taxes on profits earned overseas that haven’t yet been paid and won’t be unless the company decides to bring the money back to the United States. Corning’s actual tax rate in 2011, according to CTJ’s analysis, was actually negative 0.2 percent.
Well, I was sort of looking forward to it coming to a head, because you know, I feel like the financial Lords of the Universe on Wall Street got a pretty darn good deal back when the feces entered the ventilation system in ’08. They got bailed out at the taxpayers’ expense. They got “made whole” without so much as a slap on the wrist. They got to continue making billions, while the average American got to sink or swim on empty promises of “change” and precious little else.
Americans should have “all the
education free speech they can afford.” (Sorry, 99%.)
‘Poor People Haven’t Lost Their Voice — They Can’t Afford A Voice’