Friday, February 10, 2012

Tales from Uncle Remus

Tales from Uncle Remus (apologies to the author, the part of Brer Fox will be played by Brer Rabbit)

Brer Rabbit had a problem. He had been elected to be leader of the Free Forest after defeating grumpy old Brer Bear and his running mate Brer Cuckoo Bird, but lately it was a hard life in the forest. So Brer Rabbit set about first thing to fix the healthcare system of the forest. The ideas he was able to get passed by the Critter Congress weren’t all that good, but they were a big improvement over letting the predators run the system. They tended to eat the sick, especially the middle-class animals who they hated most awful.

The animals running for Brer Rabbit’s job came from the predator class and were competing to see who could tell the biggest lies about Brer Rabbit and about Rabbitcare (a name that was supposed to make the dumber animals in forest think it was bad). Brer Fox spent a lot of money making the dumb animals dumber. Even Brer Wolf over at Critter News Network (CNN) joined in whenever he could. Mostly they just didn’t like the color of his fur.

The contest for the animal that would race to get Brer Rabbit’s job was down to just three: Brer Weasel (he had made his money raiding hen houses and “re-structuring” them); Brer Polecat (he liked to cheat on each of the former Mrs Brer Polecat when they got old and sick); and Brer Rat (he was just a rat in a sweater).

One day Brer Rabbit had an idea: the new healthcare law was going to require the all the insurance companies to provide litter-control for all the animals in the forest equally, and he knew some 2% of forest animals really hated the idea and would do anything to stop it. While it was true that employers who provided health insurance had been required to do this for the past 12 years,  the predator class wasn’t really into history so they didn’t know this.

So Brer Rabbit made a “baby” from a lump of tar and told the animals of the forest that this baby would provide litter-control free of charge to all the animals of the forest, and their employers’ insurance would be required to pay for it, even businesses that were owned by churches (this was already the law, but shhhh, don’t say anything).

Immediately Brer Weasel, Brer Polecat, and Brer Rat ran out from the thicket and attacked the Tar Baby with much hatred. The female animals of the forest weren’t very happy about their right to healthcare being attacked, but the attackers didn’t care. They were going to destroy Brer Rabbit once and for all. Then Brer Rabbit came out from the briar patch and announced that the churches wouldn’t need to pay for litter-control. The insurance companies would pay for it directly, since it actually saved them lots and lots of money by providing preventative care.

Then Brer Weasel, Brer Polecat, and Brer Rat looked up and realized they were stuck to the Tar Baby and they looked very stupid. The female animals of the forest saw them in a whole new way. Brer Rabbit chuckled and hopped down the road to the finish line.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rightful Owners

$25 billion sounds like a lot of money, but when consider that there are individuals that could write a check for that amount, it’s not that much. Compared to the 150 billion in bonuses that Wall Street bankers take each year it’s really not much at all. Compared to the trillions in economic damage done by this grand conspiracy it’s just a rounding error.

Compared to the 4 million people who have lost their homes so far, do to the fraud of the Bush Crime Family, it works out to $6000 each. Enough to pay for a used car to live in, and really those people are only eligible for $1500 each, so it‘s just gas money for the “house“. The rest goes to write down mortgages, which means the money really goes to (wait for it) the banks.

The good news is that thanks to some of the state AGs holding out on the settlement, the immunity deal the banks got only applies to the illegal robo-signing scheme, homeowners can in theory still sue for damages. Robo signing was the practice of generating phony mortgage documents and hiring someone at minimum wage to sign and notarize them as if they were a bank vice-president. In the time it takes to scrawl a signature, they claimed to have carefully examined the “real” non-existent mortgage and certified that they had attempted to settle with the homeowner. Often the homeowner or rightful owner would be making reduced payments agreed to by a real bank representative, and still receive a foreclosure from one of these document mills.

The banks and the criminals that run them are still open to charges of securities fraud, stock fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, and any other felonies that the AGs can come up with. Obama promised an investigation in the State of the Union speech, donations to his re-election from Wall Street have been notably absent.

Some could say cynically that Obama’s Super Pack will just get the money with no disclosure. Maybe, but the alternative is having Mitt Romney who would “speed up the foreclosure process and put the houses in the hands of investors”. Andrew Mellon, Sec of Treasury for all the Republican Presidents in the 20s, and one of the richest men to ever live, famously advised Hoover to “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” He also said, "in a depression assets return to their rightful owners”.

The Mellon apologists assert that Hoover didn’t follow Melon’s advice and this caused the Great Depression. Right wingers seem to have difficulty measuring the passage of time, Mellon was giving this advice because the Depression was already raging unabated. Of course they often claim the Depression didn’t really start until well into FDR’s Presidency, much as the Garden of Eden existed until the day Obama was sworn in.

The International Monetary Fund is fond of Mellon’s Liquidation Doctrine and has employed it many times in third world countries. Greece is currently being liquidated in just that manner as we speak. The right constantly screams that we are destined to become Greece because of our Welfare State and obscene pay we give teachers unions. They can’t wait to return all the assets to their rightful owners.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Did Dickens write for Clint?

Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you? Willard Romney isn’t feeling lucky after finishing dead last in Tuesday’s voting. He’s hopping along on one foot as his ammo has largely been spent making himself dance. His one claim to credibility as a candidate was his business acumen. Yet in his expert opinion Detroit should have been allowed to fail ending car manufacturing in America forever. The absolute un-American thinking of billionaires and billionaire wannabes like Romney was made obvious to all by an Republican actor whose reputation rivals the sainted Reagan, except this one can act, and is intelligent.

The enthusiasm for Mitt’s world view was so poor in Tuesday’s Republican primaries that in some counties Romney received no votes at all. Desperate to somehow make himself relevant again, Mittens has come out in favor of indexing the minimum wage to inflation, and this drives people like Steve Forbes nuts. Forbes whose inherited fortune makes somebody like Romney appear middleclass, credits this radical opinion to Romney still being insecure about his own wealth.

This isn’t a new idea for Romney who ran with this position in 2008. The hardcore right who believes that paying people anything at all costs jobs, they would like no minimum wage at all. The truth is that Republicans have been so successful in driving down wages over the past 30 years that the current minimum would need to double to bring it up to 1938 levels. New factory hires are lucky to get pay this 1938 equivalent with no prospects of a raise. In 1938 unionized factory workers made several times the 25 cents/hour minimum wage. German factory workers today make nine times the 7.25 US minimum, and receive benefits that no American worker can ever hope to see.

Why the right doesn’t embrace Romney’s position on indexing the minimum wage is a mystery, as increasing a wage that low by a couple of points each year would just be a cruel joke anyway. The super rich and the corporations that the rich own like their cruel jokes.

Charles Dickens turned two hundred this week as we teeter on the edge of a new Dicksonian era. At least if Republicans have there way; like Scrooge they argue that it’s the natural order of things, and the only truly moral view to hold. They will tell you with a straight face that to help the poor in any manner is to do them a disservice, and this is parroted by the Republican base who believe all safety nets need to be removed.

No matter that most Americans are literally one slip on a banana peel away from a slide down from the middle class to the very bottom of poverty. The veneer of middle class “wealth” is so thin that this descent would only take on average of 90 days. Two thirds of Americans don’t have a thousand dollars cash for an emergency. Without “big government” to look out for them, these people who vote Republican and parrot the talking points are always standing on the edge of the abyss. And still they demand that the guard rails be taken down and the nets removed.