Friday, January 13, 2012



A Song For Europe — Roxy Music

Tous ces moments
Perdus dans l’enchantement
Qui ne reviendront
Pas d’aujourd’hui pour nous
Pours nous il n’y a rien
A partager
Sauf le passé

Tous ces moments
Perdus dans l’enchantement
Qui ne reviendront
Jamais, jamais


How Annoying Is Dylan Ratigan ...?!

More and more Dylan Ratigan reminds me of the Howard Beale (Peter Finch) character on Network. The man can't STFU, filibusters like a politician, and insists on his sophistic everybody-does-it "behavior" analysis. No Dylan, not everybody behaves that way, and until you start naming names and pointing fingers you're nowhere with progressives. Finger the villains, Dylan, the REPUBLICANS and the RIGHT WING, then we'll get somewhere.

To badmouth Dodd-Frank because it isn't perfect is ridiculous sophistry which plays into the Republicans' hands having vowed, repeatedly, to repeal it. As Alex Wagner asked, 'if it's so bad, why are the Republicans trying so hard to get rid of it'? *CRICKETS*. And badmouthing the President (you hate him, Dylan, admit it, you can't be objective about the President) on jobs, or as Alex manages to get a word in edgewise, "you've got to start somewhere" — *CRICKETS* — and, in fact, more jobs were created in Obama's first term than George W. Bush's entire eight years.

Ratigan's fondness for the racist Ron Paul and his reactionary brother Tom Coburn is delusional. Handing control of the Big Three — Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid — to these wingnuts would be tantamount to killing these bedrock Democratic programs. Ratigan is a "conservative" ideological basket case that no amount of Deepak Chopra-isms can cure. Here's some advice, Dylan, for what it's worth:
2. STFU already, and stop playing us for fools. Name names and point the finger at the real villains; what do you expect, I ask again — for Democrats to unilaterally disarm? Not gonna happen, and thank your oracle for it. The only one-party state that can solve this problem is filibuster-proof DEMOCRATIC control of all three branches of government, public financing of elections, and a progressive SCOTUS majority, appointed by a DEMOCRATIC president that will overturn Citizens United. Everything else IS BULLSHIT.
3. Bring back the lovelies ... where's Karen Finney?
4. Go on that diet, though the Magical Mystery Jobs Tour will probably add more to your girth. The oversized ties give you a disturbing Donald Trump look; and
5. Listen to your buddy, Martin Bashir. I think he wants to help, if you'll let him.
Bang that gong, Alex.

Mitt Romney's Chicken Hawk Past — And Present

Mitt Romney is only the latest, whose turn has come, of hawkish right wing Republicans to evade the Vietnam draft. Before him in this cowardly lineup of infamous deferments came Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and lest we forget, dishonorable mention to the actual leader of the Republican Party Rush Limbaugh who avoided service with an ass cyst that may actually have been his brain. George W. Bush enlisted daddy's help to get him into the "Champagne National Guard" where privileged kids were parked stateside to avoid going to Nam, in case the Viet Cong invaded Texas through Mexico. These are only the 2012 highlights. The cowardice of Republicans is legion, and quite possibly pathological.

Enter Mitt Romney. In this Boston Globe article Romney claims with his now infamous "pious baloney" that he "longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam."

Yeah, right. As a privileged, protected Mormon whose daddy was Michigan governor, Romney "received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon 'minister of religion' for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years. Before and after his missionary deferment, Romney also received nearly three years of deferments for his academic studies." But, he insists, "I really don’t recall thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France."

His 'missionary work' in France wasn't quite like ministering to impoverished third-world populations as in the work done by Peace Corps volunteers in Africa and South America. Romney lived in France like a Mormon Maharajah "in a Mormon palace with chef and houseboy." Strangely, the Mitt Romney who doesn't "recall thinking about political positions" felt comfortable enough in his draft-protected skin to pick up a sign and demonstrate in favor of his university releasing draft information of others, not-so-fortunate-sons and joining snarky counter-demonstrations to an anti-war sit-in. If he wasn't "thinking about political positions" he was certainly taking them as a creature of the establishment elites, even then. Here are heartwarming photos of Mitt's reactionary Vietnam War political demonstrations, courtesy of the Mail Online:

Willard Mitt Romney is only the latest in the line of Republican draft dodging Chicken Hawks who never served in Vietnam to eargerly propose a do-over of the Bush-Cheney endless wars horror show, with chest-thumping bellicosity toward Iran, steep increases in our bloated military budget, and a wholesale rejection of the last honest and true Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower: "Beware of the military-industrial complex."

The Bain of Mitt's Existence: Vulture Capitalism Graphic

Here's a stark graphical depiction of Mitt Romney's capitalist slash-and-burn chop shop depravities as head of Bain Capital, courtesy of Bain has yet to confirm the 100,000 jobs Romney claims to have created. And we'd also like to see Mittens' tax returns as well as Bain's to determine just how much these vulture capitalists contributed to the federal treasury; if anything.

Big Eddie's Bedtime HORROR Story

Guaranteed to keep the Repug Kiddies awake ...

Future Ambassador Newt's FOR THE DOGS Ad

Mittens' dog issue has come back to bite him. Rachel, a dog owner, led off last's night's show with TMI graphic gross-out detail, for which she later apologized to us viewers, with a mischievous smirk. The reproach by FOX personality Chris Wallace in 2008 and The Hill in 2012, to name a few, shows how much this issue cuts through tribal media barriers.

For some inexplicable reason, Salon's Steve Kornacki drew the short straw to do the "brown liquid" color commentary, dropping a bit of misinformation along the way (he didn't know), about a photo presumably depicting Mittens getting a shoeshine at an airport tarmac when, unfortunately, he was only getting wanded. Thank you Rachel for the lightning-fast correction. Here's the question, though: How many normal travelers get to sit in a chair on the airport tarmac to be wanded by a TSA employee whose union Mittens has vowed to destroy? So the photo, with explanatory text, is still worth posting. The only missing element to complete Mittens' regal traveler's treatment is a red carpet:

A smug wanding ...
Back to Mittens' dog problem, here's The Hill blogger Lanny Davis's outraged (excerpted) report; it says something larger about how a vulture capitalist who made his millions decimating companies, firing its employees, and shuttering communities built around those companies, behaves with "emotion-free crisis management;" kind of like Jeremy Irons in Margin Call:
"In brief, as the Boston Globe first reported in 2007, in 1983, Mitt Romney, then 36 years old, drove his station wagon packed with five sons and his wife on a 12-hour trip from Boston to Ontario, where his parents had a cottage on Lake Huron.

He took a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack, built a special windshield, and put his dog Seamus into the carrier, where the dog remained for the 12-hour trip.

Was the dog distressed? Was it illegal under Massachusetts law as cruelty? There is some evidence that both are true.

During the trip, the Boston Globe reported, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, looked around through the rear window and yelled, “Dad — gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window — diarrhea from an animal that just might have been caused by the stress of being inside a cage for 12 hours on top of a car going 60 mph.

And what did Romney do, even after knowing of the dog's diarrhea? Did he realize that perhaps Seamus should be shown some mercy, cleaned up and allowed in the car, to sleep on someone’s lap?


Here’s how the Globe described what Romney then did:

“As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.”

Emotion-free crisis management??!"
South Carolina's SC Forward Progress — whose purpose is "to expose the gaining influence of right-wing extremism in South Carolina politics, how such extremism relates to and affects the Republican presidential nominating process" — has staged "Dogs Against Mitt Romney" demonstrations at Romney rallies:

Newt Gingrich, the Democrats' walking, rage against the Mittens talking point, puts it all in context, earning praise from United Steel Workers International President Leo Gerard, and idle speculation from E. J. Dionne that Newt is possibly vying for an Ambassadorial appointment from President Obama. Possibly to France, where Callista will have the run of Chanel and French haute couture? Because he's surely not landing a prime speaking role at the GOP convention much less a spot on the Mittens "dream ticket" or cabinet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


“I don’t know a single Tea Party person,” she said, slowly drawing out her words, “who does not despise Mitt Romney to the very core of their being.” ~ Karen Martin, lead organizer for the Spartanburg, South Carolina Tea Party. (From the New York Times Magazine article, "The Tea Party's Not-So-Civil War.)" Oops.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Is there anything Willard Mitt Romney says that actually originates in his head? The patently ridiculous slogan, "the politics of envy," was plagiarized from an essay with said title, authored by conservative sociologist Paul Hollander in 2002.

The topic is "Anti-Americanism" defined as "a hostile predisposition that may range from distaste and aversion to intense hostility, rooted in conditions and circumstances that are often largely unrelated to the actual qualities or attributes of American society, institutions, values, or foreign policy" that "may culminate in political violence ... the scapegoating impulse followed by envy and ambivalence." Hollander delivers a broadside against the usual suspects on the Left, a way of branding critics of America as unpatriotic, or of "apologizing" for America, itself a treacherous charge leveled at President Obama by Romney, one which has no foundation whatsoever. Interestingly, Hollander argues,
"From the sociological and historical points of view, anti-Americanism may best be understood as a diffuse, ongoing protest against modernity — its major components and unintended consequences. These include secularization, industrialization, urbanization, bureaucratization, mobility (both social and spatial), and the decline of community and social-cultural cohesion."
And yet Hollander is become the intellectual inspiration for the most anti-science, anti-modernity party in more than 100 years? A party that, as noted by Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation Magazine, would take us back to the "Gilded Age" of robber barons, unregulated industry, child labor, no social safety net, and extreme income inequality.

 Rachel made an astute observation regarding Romney's rabid and somewhat puzzling anti-European rhetoric. He took his military deferment by traveling abroad to do 'missionary work' in France, speaks French fluently, and by all accounts enjoyed his time abroad. But Mitt Romney is no Thomas Jefferson. Where Jefferson soaked in French culture and celebrated it to the end of his days as one of the great experiences of his life, Mitt Romney is seemingly ashamed of his passage through France and seems hell-bent on concealing any positive experience abroad with growing anti-Europe hostility. Such is the concession he has made to be the standard-bearer of a xenophobic isolationist party whose mainstream fringe still believes our President is a foreigner.

Katrina lifted the "vulture capitalist" scab off Mitt Romney in her column, excerpted below:
"But it is on economic policy where Romney’s extremism is most apparent — the extremism of the 1 percent, reflecting the zealotry of a former corporate raider at Bain Capital who made his fortune preying on U.S. companies.

Romney calls for returning to the same conservative policies — deregulation, financialization, corporate trade — that generated Gilded Age inequality and a declining middle class even before driving the economy over a cliff. He supports repealing Dodd-Frank, the Wall Street reform act. He favored the Republican effort to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board by blocking Obama’s nominations to those agencies. He wants a weaker Environmental Protection Agency, calling regulation “the invisible boot of the state.” Not surprisingly, he agrees with Rick Perry that anti-union “right-to-work legislation makes a lot of sense for New Hampshire and for the nation.”"
And Rachel mocked Mitt's strained appropriated metaphor:

Here Ya Go, Mittens ... For Yer Lil' BOOTIES:

Portrait of a Ron Paul Supporter

Ron Paul, the energetic septuagenarian who first ran for president in 1988, smirked at one of his favorite lines to describe how he views the media bias toward him — "they think we're dangerous," adding "that's one thing they are telling the truth ... because we're a danger to the status quo!" Mr. Paul may be a victim of the paranoid delusions that fuel his candidacy and his fanatical supporters if he broad-brushes the media in this way; most of their antagonistic coverage is justified by Paul's self-inflicted wounds and his controversial history of racist and anti-Semitic newsletter writings as well as his continuing embrace of conspiracies involving the UN, one-world government, FEMA, the Council on Foreign Relations, and "the coming race war." (This is only a partial list of conspiracy theorists' preferred boogiemen.)

But, as the saying goes, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." One of the unexpected benefits of Paul's candidacy vis-a-vis the media is that it outed longtime Republican embed posing as a CNN reporter, Dana Bash. Watch this blatant example of manifest media bias toward Ron Paul:

If anything, the media has given Ron Paul less complete coverage and scrutiny than it has the other candidates. Most of the media has written Paul off as a fringe candidate with a ceiling around 20%-25% of the Republican primary electorate, who by his own account isn't serious about winning the nomination. When asked whether he could see himself as president, Paul shrugged and replied, "not really." Perhaps that explains the delusional shouts of his supporters — "President Paul! President Paul!"— at the second-place speech last night following his customary 23% of the vote, good enough for second in New Hampshire.

It's unclear how "dangerous" Ron Paul and his supporters are, and to whom, beyond those right wing opponents to his left who harbor waning hopes of becoming the "conservative alternative" to Mitt Romney. Democrats hope Ron Paul will prolong the Republican primary process, though so far he has been a stalking horse for Mitt Romney. They have a tenuous non-aggression pact, which helps Mittens. How long it lasts will depend on which as yet nebulous strategy Paul elects to pursue. According to this WaPo profile of a Ron Paul supporter in New Hampshire:
"It is a dark if oddly energizing vision that has especially resonated with a young, male demographic. According to exit polling, 40 percent of Paul’s Iowa backers were men younger than 45, and 46 percent earned $50,000 a year or less. Roughly nine in 10 Paul supporters are white, similar to the racial makeup of Republicans overall, according to Washington Post-ABC News polls. Anecdotally, Paul’s backers tend mostly to be disillusioned Republicans, although his crowds these days routinely have a smattering of disillusioned Democrats, too, a group that now includes Christopher Way."
A young demographic of roughly nine in 10 white males hardly constitutes a movement or growth beyond its narrow appeal, despite Ron Paul's exaggerated claims stated as hope: "It's no longer that irate tireless minority that is stirring up the troops. Now that irate minority is growing by leaps and bounds, it's going to continue growing by leaps and bounds." Their electoral strength is steady-state and predictable, having yet to crack 25% of the Republican primary vote. Only a financial calamity of Great Depression proportions could grow Paul's base of support. So, in this sense, Ron Paul is a broken clock harbinger of doom and gloom whose success depends on total economic collapse.

It's fascinating to consider how much Ron Paul's supporters have in common with the 'Tea Party'. While Tea Partiers are older and more affluent, both groups are drawn to the conspiracies peddled by fringe carnival barkers like Alex Jones who has hosted Ron Paul on his radio show on numerous occasions, and to the same 'literature'. I recall a New York Times article from two years ago profiling Tea Partiers whose stories and twisted path to 'enlightenment' began from being largely uninvolved in politics to, like the profiled Paul supporter —“Once you see the truth, it can’t be unseen anymore”— becoming "steeped in the details of monetary policy, economic bubbles and national security issues, all of which for him add up to an increasingly bleak picture of America." Glenn Beck is their pied piper. Alex Jones is a common link.

A similar disaffection among young people struggling to find jobs and pay off their crushing college loans gave rise to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Do they have intersecting concerns? Some. But only superficially. OWS, it is fair to say, sprang from the Left as a reaction to the economic war waged on 99 percent of the American population by the Wall Street tycoons who brought our economy to its knees and were bailed out by the taxpayers. OWS is not wedded to any party or candidate, and more importantly, is grounded in diversity and reality, not paranoia, fundamentally rejecting bigotry and racism.

Mittens Borrows My Riff For His Victory Speech

 Here we go again. Phrases launched from this blog have been known to regurgitate from the mouths of Republican politicians. You'd think those speechwriters for Mr. Roboto would be only just, barely competent enough to write their own material. Alas — Republicans are not that into imagination and original thought.

This is what I wrote on January 5, a reference to Ron Paul's followers: "They are the product of the Orwellian dystopian fantasy created by the actual Big Government Republicans who waged two wars off the books, enriched beyond measure their crony capitalist pals, and crushed the middle class and unions." [Emphasis mine.]

Here's what Mr. Mittens Roboto said last night, reading his speech on the teleprompter: "The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10 percent in four years." [Emphasis mine.]

Gee, the congruence of these two passages, the original (mine), and the phony one (Romney's) is so precise, even though the copy is making the opposite, demagogic argument, that they could flow together as if one piece with just a minor edit. Observe:
"They are the product of the Orwellian dystopian fantasy created by the actual Big Government Republicans who waged two wars off the books, enriched beyond measure their crony capitalist pals, and crushed the middle class and unions. The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10 percent in four years."
I know I'm awesome, but ... any way you slice it, this appropriation is pretty pathetic for the multi-millionaire Republican with pretensions of becoming president of the United States. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Use you own material, Republican asswipes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Primary Day: Can Anyone Slow The Mittens?

Hunkered down in heavily armed bunkers throughout the land, wingnuts sweat bullets as they ponder the question. It's a simple proposition: To keep New Hampshire from being a springboard to the nomination, Mittens must be held to single digits. Steady-state Paulie the nutball is doing his "thing" hovering around 20%. Is there a Hunts-mentum in the horizon? Rachel thinks so, but we know all about her flights of fancy. On the other hand, THE moment of Sunday's debate was Huntsman's comebacker at Mittens, with Newt's "stop with the pious baloney" a close second.

 The problem with Huntsman is he's as unexciting as Santorum is a crazy "Big Government conservative" — Newt, the Democrats' walking talking point nailed him hoping to vault to a third-place finish. They came, they saw, they barfed over Santorum. The prediction here is 'Googles' Santorum places no higher than fourth. Bunkerville wingnuts are no doubt heartened that one of their own became Newt's SuperPac  $5 million Sugar Daddy. Isn't it ironic that Newt can rightly claim his solo contributor is not concealed?

Meanwhile Mittens 'the vulture capitalist' colors our 1902 Republican robber baron world:

... Gives Democrats another sound bite Ouch! ad:

And Democratic volunteers distribute "PINK SLIP Termination of Candidacy" at Romney events:

Monday, January 09, 2012

TOUCHDOWN JEEEE-SUS! Playoff Musings ...

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Yeah, Tebow threw for 316 yards. Maybe we should switch to the metric system.
"Tim Tebow wrote the Bible verse John 3:16 on his eye black at the 2009 BCS title game. Here’s video of him talking about it after beat Oklahoma for the title."
Is it just me, or can you see the family resemblance, too? At least, more than Jesus on a cornflake? Kidding, kidding ... us crazy Catholics make irreverent Jesus jokes all the time. It's in a good cause if it gives Pat Robertson religious conniption fits.

Memo To Big Eddie and Homey: "Eastern" football team?! As opposed to a bunch of silly-looking cheeseheads? We'll take Homey's weird, flyover country ritualistic hatred of the Packers, though can't begin to understand it; but at least he'll be a New York Giants fan for a day, and that's one extra day of sports enlightenment than Big Eddie will have.

The Giants are definite underdogs. I can see Aaron Rodgers picking their secondary apart if the Giants' formidable pass rush doesn't give that arrogant rooster a mud & turf facial. Funny, but that hoity-toity "Eastern" team has the most unassuming 'aw shucks' quarterback in the NFL, Eli Manning, with a pretty good guardian angel, despite the guy upstairs who plays for the Bethlehem Broncos, and in stark contrast to arrogant Aaron, who's a nice guy, says all the right things, but still is so full of himself.

Finally, he may not be the world's greatest coach, but I've got a soft spot for Tom Coughlin. He's got the best WTF expression of all (I hate coaches who prance the sidelines like they're George S. Patton), he's a bit of a square, tough but plays no favorites, and totally authentic. What you see is what you get. Two things I really like about coach. If one of his guys messes up, commits a stupid penalty, Coughlin gets in his face, you can see him mouth the words, "what were you thinking!" He knows he's in coach's doghouse and goes off by himself. Teammates tend not to commiserate. When the team scores, coach shakes hands with his guys as they leave the field. It's old-fashioned, no slappin' the helmet or butt, no fist pumps; yet it's the simplest gesture of mutual respect, admiration, and affection known to man.

There's a third thing. The players love coach Coughlin and play hard for him. Respect begets respect. I hope Tom and Eli come out on the winning side. Touchdown Jesus — HEAVENS, he don't need OUR help.

Quotable: Dylan Ratigan on Romney, Predatory Capitalist At Bain

"At least if you're going to buy a company to destroy it, USE YOUR OWN MONEY, MAN!"
~ Dylan Ratigan, popping a vein or two on the Martin Bashir show, for once not bad-mouthing Martin but one of his "Greedy Bastards." This time Martin had the last word: "You look magnificent!" ... Recalling Billy Crystal's Fernando; here's the intro to Dylan's show ... "So nice to see you!"... to his harem of lovelies:

The "eponymous" Dylan Ratigan as (not quite ...) Teddy Roosevelt:

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Hookers For Paulie: That's The RATIONAL Endorsement

You know that jingle, "sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't"...?

Gotta hand it to Ron Paul. He can sound perfectly reasonable at the debates, but not before reverting to his inner paranoid psycho nutball when the media's looking the other way. As Rachel said, "gotta know your audience," something the fake Manchurian candidate breaking into Chinese before a terrified Republican audience has yet to learn from the real Manchurian candidate. Away from the media glare, Paulie sneaked into a small Iowa town and, as reported by our intrepid progressive media keeping close tabs on the paleo-psycho-libertine, proceeded to try scaring the bejeezus outta them:
"Ron Paul stood before a crowded public library conference room here and warned the packed house that the United Nations is coming to take their land and that America is this close to riots in the streets against a government that is becoming more and more like a dictatorship.

Though he was well-received, these two classic Paulisms fell somewhat flat.

This was vintage Paul, the kind of fear of the one-world government and terror over the Amero (North American currency conspiracy) that has been a fixture of Paul’s persona on the national stage."
 Meanwhile, Paulie's scrubbed the gay-bashing pastor's endorsement from his website but isn't celebrating that other one he's received lately? Note to political items collectors: keep an eye out for "Hookers For Paul" buttons; I guarantee it'll be a hot item of increasing value.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday ...

Better. Never thought I'd say this, but David Gregory made Georgie Boy and Nixon's stenographer look like Romney Olympian amateurs. David did a great job, asked almost every question I had posted as unasked except the one on abortion and Romneycare, with excellent follow-ups. So David gets an A rather than A+. But at least, here he's EARNED the grade.

HUNTSMAN STRIKES BACK — Nothing like a 10-hour simmer, probably with little sleep to bring out the fangs in the slighted candidate. The counterattack put Romney on his heels but the delayed response didn't help Utah's still doomed former governor:
JON HUNTSMAN: "I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first. He criticized me while he was out raising money. I want to be very clear. I will always put my country first." ROMNEY, snarkily: "I just think it's most likely that the person who should represent our party against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader." HUNTSMAN's takedown, described as his "most quotable moment" of the entire campaign: "This country is divided because of statements like that."
SQUISHY ROMNEY, LYING about those terrible European socialist states: One of Mittens' favorite lines of attack against the President is to call him a socialist who wants to turn America into a social welfare state. He gets away with it because no one will contest his lies about European economies. Well, somebody's got to stick up for European (versus American, Medicare/Social Security) socialism. In the Saturday debate Mittens made the misleading assertion that the average American worker has a higher standard of living than the average European. Right ... Did you hear the one about, Bill Gates walks into a bar:
"The claim that Americans have a higher standard of living is based on the U.S. having a higher ‘average income’ than most European countries. But average income doesn’t convey much about income distribution; if Bill Gates walked into a bar the ‘average income’ of everyone in the bar would increase by about a billion dollars!

Besides, Europeans invest their wealth into other important things besides income that benefit everyone equally, such as quality health care, child care, more vacations, more generous retirement pensions, paid parental leave after childbirth, free or nearly free college education, affordable housing, supportive senior care, better parks and more. In today’s economically insecure age, quality of life is not only about income levels but also about adequate support institutions for families and individuals. If the average American has more income than a European, how come Europeans have a much higher savings rate than Americans?"
How about the news that Germany posted its lowest unemployment rate, 6.8%, in 22 years last month? That's right. See, in Germany they do things a little differently. The labor unions have a seat in the corporate boardroom and even have input in selecting their CEOs. Workers have an ownership share in their companies, resulting in collaborative labor-management relations. Their manufacturing base kicked our ass, and last year Germany made twice as many cars as the U.S. They have largely free healthcare, education including college, better unemployment and retirement benefits. Since 1985, hourly worker pay in Germany rose 30% compared with 6% for the U.S. And as a percentage of all income, millionaires did very well in Germany, only they didn't post the indecent transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the one percenters of this country the last 40 years.

In 1970, in percentage of all income, the top one percent in Germany owned 11% percent compared with 9% for the U.S. (WOW; that was when we were growing the middle class and had the world's leading manufacturing base). After 30 years of the Reagan Right's destruction of America, that number is still 11% in Germany, but a whopping 20% in America. ONE PERCENT OF THE RICHEST AMERICANS OWN 20% OF OUR WEALTH. The income inequality in America is staggering, equaling the numbers on the cusp of the Great Depression, when a robber baron culture ruled the land.

A friend of mine, longtime GOP voter turned Democrat, once told me his German emigré neighbor never gave up German citizenship though he's been here for decades, because every year he travels to Germany and gets a full physical and all of his health care needs taken care of, essentially for free, as an entitlement of citizenship. By contrast, I went to the local supermarket and walked in on a Depression era bread-line of people queuing up to pay $59 for basic medical screenings, care of a traveling health clinic with a short-term outreach program. Similarly, there was the spectacle recently, in rural Tennessee, of people driving hours to get at the front of the line in pre-dawn darkness for emergency dental and medical care at a free clinic that was only there for two days. They could not handle the overflow crowds. And the infuriating tragedy of it is, these people continuously vote against their own best interests, for Republicans who will cut their Social Security to transfer more of our money to the top 1%.

Ask an ideologue like Ron Paul and his foolish followers, selfish young people with a narrow nihilistic youth-centric Darwinist perspective, of the real life consequences to real live people of their extremist policy abstractions. How much "freedom" does someone who cannot move for fear of losing his children's life-sustaining health care really have? Or, as happens in countless tragedies throughout this country, what's the "freedom" for people whose lives are cut short because they have no health care to treat their cancer? Mr. Paul says we have a "right to life" but not to health care. What he really means is, we have a right, or the "freedom" to die. Quickly. The sooner the better. So those lucky enough to have health care can get a bigger piece of the pie.
FACT: In the United States nearly 14% of Americans live in poverty — about 40 million people — compared to 6% in France, 8% in Britain, and 5% or less in Germany, Sweden and Belgium. Twenty percent of American children live below the poverty line, as do nearly 23% of the elderly, the highest figure by far in the west with the exceptions of Russia and Mexico. The U.S. is ranked 29th in infant mortality, tied with Poland and Slovakia (in 1960 the U.S. was ranked twelfth) and 37th in health care (France is ranked first). The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now owns 70 percent of the wealth but in Germany the top 10 percent owns 44 percent.
I say, let's hear it for Germany, and not-so-terrible socialism. Let's hear it for Germany, that socialist capitalist state, for producing twice as many cars as we did last year, having an unemployment rate 1.7% lower than ours at the height of its Euro American-style banking and investment crisis, and for all those quality of life stats listed above.

NEWT FINALLY GOES ON THE ATTACK, refuses to disavow calling Mittens a LIAR — see two posts back, accurate if ahead of its time ... for a day.