Birds of a feather

Meg Whitman speaks at the Tech Museum in San J...

Meg Whitman speaks at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA February 17, 2009. Photo by Max Morse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know that Mitt likes to fire people; he did a lot of that at Bain and he told us so. Yesterday, he attended a fund-raiser hosted by another famous person who fires on network TV each week, Donald Trump. Tonight Mitt will attend another fund-raiser in California hosted by Meg Whitman, who ran for governor of California and lost big. She too learned her trade at Bain and recently announced layoffs at Hewlett-Packard of 27,000. That’s how Mitt and friends make money and keep it, they fire people who work for a living and they hire lobbyists to craft tax laws in their favor. We all should be so fortunate.

Let Romney run

Mitt Romney

Image via Wikipedia

Message to the GOP: let Romney run. He wants to make the race, and he can afford to pay for it, or most of it. Chris Christie says he is not ready and in that he is showing more judgment than Rick Perry did. Barack is going to win anyway so it does nor matter who the GOP nominate in late August, 2012, in Tampa, Florida. By then, Meg Whitman may be available to share the ticket and the expense of the campaign. If she is not, surely Carly Fiorina would be available. Although not as wealthy as Meg or Mitt, she shares their business experience resume.

Please see Surf’s up | Creative destruction | Perry’s Problem | Mitt Romney, compassionate conservative

Democracy NOW

Folding the U.S. flag

Image via Wikipedia

Democracy is more than an occasional election. Democracy requires a free and active press, an independent judiciary, a corruption-free legislature, a strong but limited executive and a vibrant middle class. According to Ben Franklin, we have a republic if we can keep it. Today we are in danger of losing it to the forces of big money and corruption. We are being purposely distracted by exhortations to protect our freedom and democracy by exporting it to countries not ready for it.

The true measure of a democracy’s health is vibrant and expanding middle class. There is no middle class in Afghanistan and the middle class in Iraq is in exile. The middle class in Pakistan is quite small. India, on the other hand, has a large and growing middle class. That is very encouraging in a geographical area that possibly will be the center of the world’s attention during the twenty-first century.

Before we consider exporting democracy to the rest of the world, we MUST secure it here in the US with eternal vigilance. Those who are destroying the middle class don’t care for the sinews of democracy and want to retain only the forms. They think that they know how to govern better than the masses of individual voters do. Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman exemplified the attitude of the elite during the 2010 election in California; neither one bothered to vote until they decided to run for office.

Democracy begins at home, here in the USA. If we do not protect democracy NOW, it will be gone for good, and evil will follow for the entire planet as long as our leaders can and will project American power abroad. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our children and the rest of the world to demonstrate American exceptionalism by preserving our democracy as a beacon for the world to emulate if and when they are ready to do so.

Griftopia

Griftopia is a very angry book and if you read it, you will begin to share his anger. Some of the American public are already angry about the economy and government, but their anger is being misdirected away from the real culprits by those very same culprits or their agents. Taibbi names names and gives specific dates, amounts stolen and methods used by those he labels grifters, thieves. The thieves know how to work our system for their advantage and it was their work that produced the Great Recessionof 2008. The end of that recession is still not in sight, and we will not change future bad outcomes until more of us become angry enough to force real change.

Goldman Sachs New World Headquarters

Image via Wikipedia

Much of Taibbi’s anger is directed toward Goldman-Sachs and its former executives, some in government now and some in the past. He blames Goldman in part for the Great Depression and also for the present day Great Recession. Before I agree or disagree, I must do more research. I will comment on Goldman further in a later post.

Taibbi gives an interesting example of how we are paying for present consumption by selling off some assets created in past, more prosperous times. His example is set in Chicago but he mentions that it is also taking place in other parts of the country. Mayor Daley wanted to raise money without raising taxes, so with the help of Goldman, he decided to lease the revenue stream from the city’s parking meters to investors for 75 years for a little over $1 billion. Goldman put together a bidding syndicate from the Middle Eastwhose members were mostly unknown and changing.

After the deal was hurriedly approved by the Chicago City Council, it was estimated by independent auditors that the contract was worth at least $5 billion to the group that bid a little more than $1 billion.

Shortly after the deal was done, the new managers of the parking meters raised rates from $0.25 hour to $1.00 hour, an increase of 300%. Hours were increased daily from 9 hours to 13 hours, an increase of nearly 45%. Sundays and holidays were no longer free. That represented an additional increase of 16%. Now motorists inChicagopay for their gas at the pump and they also pay at the parking meter since an unknown portion of the parking revenue goes to the Middle Eastern suppliers of the petroleum used to make gasoline.

Before the 2010 election, I attended a Meg Whitman event in Culver City. I parked on a side street in an industrial area and was somewhat surprised that the meters required four quarters per hour. If the event had been held in Beverly Hills, Westwood or Century City, I would have expected that rate or higher to park. Taibbi mentioned Los Angelesas also leasing its parking meters for immediate revenue. That causes me to wonder where the quarters I put in the Culver City parking meters went, Culver City or some entity in the Middle East?