There was so much going on last week, that I couldn’t pick a single topic to focus on. First off was (of course) the dismal jobs report for May released last week. Republicans were quick to pounce on the disappointing figures, pointing to it was “PROOF!” that President Obama’s economic policies are a failure. Also, it came as little relief last week when the price of oil fell below $90/barrel for the first time since last October (when I think about how oil used to be below $30/barrel for decades, and gas never broke $2/gallon before President Bush invaded Iraq, I get nauseous). And Mitt Romney gave a “top secret” presser in front of “Solyndra”… “top secret” because he claimed fearing “Obama-campaign inference” had it of been publicly announced… at the same time the Romney campaign sent its OWN campaign goon-squad to heckle Obama-spokesman David Axelrod during a campaign event of his own, once again demonstrating my long-held belief that “if Republicans accuse you of doing something, it’s either because they ARE doing it themselves or WOULD do it if they were in a position to do so (ie: ”projection”). And lastly, my big report last week questioning the disturbing appearance of cronyism by Romney while governor of Massachusetts, was criticized and contested… calling my own integrity into question… by picking at the fringes while never addressing the core issue. Let’s take these one at a time:
First off, that dismal “jobs report”. Am I the only person wondering just how Republicans… who were swept into office in 2010 promising “jobs, jobs, jobs”… can get away with laying all the blame for the bad jobs numbers at the feet of President Obama? Really now, Conservatives. You ran to the polls and voted en masse for Republicans promising “a laser-like focus on jobs”, and this is what you got (actually, THIS is what you got). And now you want to blame President Obama solely for the poor economy? Do you get it yet? This is a Party willing to unemploy hundreds of thousands of people just to put one man out of work. You doubt me? This is the same Party that threatened to throw this nation into default just to score some cheap political points during last years Debt Ceiling debacle (a move that cost us our Triple-A bond rating.) And now they are threatening to do it again. I urge you to take a good long look at the infamous “bikini graph” once more:
(click to enlarge)
Note that yellow line. That’s job creation under a DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS before Republicans decided to make spending a campaign issue, and started blocking everything in sight. Now you want to reward these same obstructionists on the grounds that President Obama failed to get anything done? When you have the Senate Minority Leader saying his Party’s ”#1 political goal is to make President Obama a one-term president“, or when the Indiana GOP nominee for Senate says that “bipartisanship is when Democrats give in to Republicans”, you’re only rewarding bad behavior that puts partisan-politics ahead of the good of the country. And don’t be surprised if Democrats then turn around and use the exact same techniques against Republicans if Romney wins in November. (Of course, Republicans would do a FAR better job of vilifying the Democrats for doing it if they did.) Why do we allow the obstructionists to criticize Obama’s “lack of progress”, and get away with it?
Political junkies like you and me who probably watched all the Sunday shows yesterday… did you ONCE hear anyone ask these Republicans, “You came in promising jobs, jobs, jobs. And here we are. Don’t you think YOU deserve a share of the blame for these poor jobs numbers?” If anyone asked that question yesterday, I sure missed it. Sorry Republicans, but you can’t claim all the credit when things look good, and assume none of the blame when things look bad. That’s called “taking personal responsibility.” Ah, but look who I’m talking to! You know all about “personal responsibility”. It’s your catch-phrase… or it least it used to be when you proposed “insurance mandates” before “ObamaCare” took them up.
A blog posting I wrote back in January entitled “Why the economy is so bad. And why Obama should be trusted to fix it” started picking up a number of fresh hits last week. I encourage you to go back and give it a second read.
Several factors played into the poor jobs numbers for May. Continued Republican insistence on “austerity” being high on that list. Once again, while the number of jobs created was low, the unnecessary loss of 13,000 Public Sector jobs made it worse. That’s another 13,000 people competing for the same jobs as millions of longterm unemployed. You now have to create another 13,000 jobs just to get the number of unemployed back the to where it was before the layoffs. Can we all just finally agree that this insane adherence to “austerity” demanded by Republicans is killing our recovery (by design?) As I pointed out three weeks ago, while Democrats and President Obama are stupidly cutting public employment, Republican governors have been on a hiring binge to make their unemployment numbers look good.
Another factor: oil & gas prices… while coming down… are sucking the lifeblood out of our economy. While the price of oil fell below $90/barrel for the first time since last October, the National Average price for a gallon of gas is 17cents higher today than it was back then, once again demonstrating the lack of a connection between falling oil prices and a decline in gas prices (while the opposite is imminently true). I just want to shout from the rooftops (and metaphorically speaking, that’s what this blog is): “It’s the dependence on oil, Stupid!” (apologies to Clinton’s 1992 campaign catch-phrase). While I heard multiple Talking Heads on TV yesterday excoriate President Obama’s obstruction of “the keystone XL pipeline” (read my rant on that subject here), I heard NO ONE suggest that maybe we should focus on using LESS oil rather than continuing our dependence upon it (and the Middle East)… not to mention inviting certain environmental disaster, all for short-term gain that won’t have an impact on the market for at least three years. I actually heard Romney’s campaign manager on “Meet the Press” ridicule obstruction of the KXL, calling it “a project that would create thousands of jobs immediately.” Thousands? Thousands? We need 110,000 jobs every month just to keep up with population growth. What happened to the “million” jobs they were boasting of just a few months ago? (ibid my KXL rant) Are we (read: ”they”) really so stupid that we’d pass a construction project two-to-three times as massive as the Alaskan Pipeline just to create a few thousand low-paying construction jobs in an industry that doesn’t need government help to make money? I can think of A DOZEN other ways to create TENS of thousands of green energy jobs… long-term, high-paying, high-tech GREEN jobs with a future… in less time for a fraction of the cost. Roughly 8 percent of our electricity is still generated using oil-powered turbines. Replace them with Wind, Solar, tidal or geothermal plants. That would have a MASSIVE and direct impact on this nation’s oil consumption, and a direct impact on global oil prices. One might easily jump to the conclusion that this would be the equivalent of removing 8% of all the cars off America’s roads, but in fact, it would be MUCH more. Keep in mind these massive plants run 24 hours a day 7 days a week, using FAR more oil than the equivalent of “8% of all U.S. cars on the road”. Yank that demand off the world market and watch oil prices PLUNGE. Gas prices would fall in conjunction (though not at the same rate) providing a huge economic boost to the country. Plus all the new jobs building/running these new plants, not to mention the benefit to the environment. And it could all be paid for by rescinding those asinine $6Billion/year oil subsidies the GOP fought to keep. I certainly wouldn’t stop there. There are still some 600 coal fired powerplants in the U.S. that need to be phased out… though “coal” is a MUCH more touchy subject since the “fuel” for these plants comes from mining jobs here in the U.S..
Of course, convincing this parsimonious Congress to agree to spend even one dime on something that might create jobs and help the president’s reelection chances in November is about as unlikely as our Milky Way galaxy colliding with another galaxy. Both are likely to happen in about four-Billion years time.
Next issue: Romney’s “top secret” press conference in front of the closed Solyndra plant. This was a joke from start-to-finish. First off, the Big Show the Romney campaign made about having to having to keep the location of his speech secret (bringing the Press along but not telling them where) under the claim that it was done that way to thwart Obama-Campaign saboteurs. At the same time on the other side of the country the Romney campaign organized hecklers via Twitter to disrupt a speech by Obama advisor David Axelrod… once again proving my contention that “if a Republican accuses you of doing something, it is only because they are either doing it themselves or would do it if they were in your shoes.” I’ve seen it at least once a week for the past 12 years (starting with the 2000 Florida fight when Republicans accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.)
Okay. If you’re one of those people that thinks political campaigns should operate with all the maturity of a Redneck kindergarten class, then score one for Romney. Unless of course, facts matter to you and not just showmanship. Romney actually claimed that President Obama had engaged in illegal activity, claiming that “the Inspector General found” that President Obama steered the Solyndra contract to “friends and family.” That’s a flatout lie. The truth is… at Right-wing prompting… the Inspector General looked into the possibility and found “no evidence” of cronyism. In truth, the contract approval process began under President Bush, and I can assure you they weren’t looking to do him any favors.
To compound the issue, it turns out Romney has
TWO THREE FOUR numerous failed high-tech firms (many, many belonging to Romney supporters or run by Bain Capital) in his own closet that received millions from the Romney Administration while he was governor of Massachusetts. Two biotech firms called “Acusphere” and “Spherics Inc” received/lost a combined $2.1 million in loans and Two solar energy companies. Company number three was a solar energy company called “Konarka Technologies”, which filed for Chapter-7 bankruptcy the day after Romney’s speech before solar energy company Solyndra, After Konarka received $1.5 Million in state funds, Romney himself praised the deal, claiming it would act as “an economic springboard”. Number four I learned about only after posting today’s blog entry. “Evergreen Solar” went belly up just last year after receiving $2.5 Million from the Romney Administration. Just one more example of Republicans attacking Democrats for things they themselves do or did. This goes beyond hypocrisy, wading into the realm of “mental disorder”.
A brief aside on these failed high-tech firms: The REAL scandal here isn’t the allegations of cronyism, or the viability of green energy, or even the economic downturn (started under Bush) that put them out of business. No, the REAL scandal here is HOW they were put out of business. THEY COULDN’T COMPETE AGAINST CHEAP CHINESE TECHNOLOGIES SUBSIDIZED BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT. This absurd Conservative belief that “tariffs would create a trade war” rather than make our products competitive enough to create jobs here at home, is burying America in a hole it might never dig its way out of. Ross Perot was right about that “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the country if we massively expanded (so-called) “Free Trade”.
Another bug up my butt this week: all of last month, I railed about how “public sector job losses” were dragging down the recovery, and the hypocrisy of Republicans… who have a LONG history of using government-jobs to bring down unemployment… turn a blind-eye to Republican governors CURRENTLY doing that very thing, at the same time they are attacking President Obama on “spending” and “weak jobs numbers”.
So imagine my surprise last week to see my beloved ThinkProgress link to a story Friday on how “public sector job creation soared under President Bush” while it has plunged under President Obama. Glad to see them FINALLY come to the Party, but I emailed them my own coverage of the topic nearly a month ago. A ”hat-tip” would of been nice (not that I do this for the attaboys).
Also of note, Tuesday will be the Recall election of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. It is almost unimaginable that someone who: publicly (and unwittingly) confessed to considering “planting troublemakers within anti-Walker protest rallies”, admitted that his plan to break up public unions had nothing to do with balancing the states’ budget, and even admitted (again unwittingly) on camera that his strategy to “permanently turn the state red” was “divide & conquer” (pitting the people against unions until the unions were destroyed), and carries the distinction of being “the only governor in the nation with a criminal defense fund“… could be leading the polls by as many as 7-points the weekend before the election. But then again, thanks to the “Citizens United” ruling, a flood of money from some very rich special interests from outside the state that would also like to see the unions destroyed, have flooded money into the Walker campaign at a more than 10-to-1 cash advantage, to the point where even some union members are supporting him (that’s a link to the “Union Members for Walker” Facebook page.) All I can ask is: “Are you out of your freakin’ minds?” I pray that the polls are wildly off because they don’t poll the most motivated anti-Walker voters: young people with cell phones.
Republicans, I have to ask: Do you believe in Class Action Lawsuits? That’s when a group of people harmed by the same corporation join forces to sue as a group because no single person could go up against a Billion dollar company and not get squashed like a bug. THAT’S what a UNION is. It levels the playing field between corporations with all the money and employees with limited resources. Destroy the unions and you better pray you never have to go up against them in court. As the bumper sticker says:
Another topic on my mind this week, I want to rant for a moment about My Integrity… or more precisely, Republicans who call it into question.
Last weeks column was on a very complex subject deserving (as I noted repeatedly) deeper investigation by people with more time & resources than myself. While examining Governor Romney’s “job creation” record, I came away with more questions than I started, namely, why a close friend of Mitt’s came to him with a “jobs program” in which all of the risk fell on himself and asked nothing of the state? Then, when I found two criminal indictments before the Massachusetts state court connected to the same bank at the same time as their deal with the governor, it certainly got my Spidey-sense tingling.
But I made a small error in my report (which I updated to note), saying that Romney had recently cost the state “4,000 jobs” by allowing a merger to go through that he had to power to stop but didn’t (and thus in need of a lifeline.) But, as was pointed out to me in the comments, the “4,000 figure” was the “total number of jobs affected by the merger” (the entire company workforce), not “lost”. My integrity was also called into question for not pointing out that the same sweetheart deal offered Romney was also going on in Pennsylvania by the same bank. (Note: If it matters, the same bank was being sued in Pennsylvania for “copyright infringement” at the same time.)
Note, I don’t blog for a living. As you’ve noticed, there are no adds on this site, nor requests for donations. It’s a hobby. It’s my “rooftop” to shout from that I pay for out of pocket. I tried ads once, but when they started showing ads for people/causes that I don’t support, I dumped them. And while mistakes are bound to be made, I take great pains not to flub The Big Stuff. Hopefully you’ve noticed that I attempt to provide a link to EVERY assertion I make to back me up. And like my “4,000″ flub, if I make a mistake, let me know and I’ll correct it. I find it almost comical that anyone would accuse me of “hiding” something that they only know BECAUSE I LINKED TO IT.
But that’s what Conservatives do. When presented with something they can’t refute, they’ll pick it apart for the tiniest flaw, then go after that tiny flaw like a dog that hasn’t eaten in a week, believing that if they can destroy that one thing, they’ve destroyed your entire argument. “How can you trust anything he says when he got this one simple thing wrong?” Once again, if I’m not certain about something, I’ll say so, and recommend further investigation. Do NOT question my integrity you little Brownshirt crotch-lice.
Note to Republicans: Just because you tell me you “hate Mitt Romney” DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT A REPUBLICAN. Only in GOP-land does a 100% adherence to each and every thing your Party says or does make you “a Republican”, and if you disagree on anything, that makes you “an Independent”. No children, I disagree with my Party… even President Obama… frequently. But I still call myself a Democrat. That’s because I’m an adult. I believe in an “ideal”, not an “ideology”.
Whew! Glad to get all that off my chest.
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