Showing posts with label Aristocracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aristocracy. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GOP 2016 Presidential Nominee: Vladimir Putin

A colleague of mine in the social studies department finally decided he had had enough. He had to let loose his opinion on the situation in the Ukraine at a recent staff meeting. He's also the chairman of the department so we all sort of had to listen. He spoke of Obama's weakness and how since there was a Democrat in the White House, Putin was emboldened to do whatever he wanted. He posited that we should move NATO troops into Ukraine and send part of our navy to the Black Sea. It was a classic neocon screed that in many ways made me wax nostalgic for those good ol' days of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

More importantly, it made me realize that the perfect candidate for the GOP in 2016 is none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Think about it for a minute. He's strong, doesn't take any shit from anyone, and thinks with his guts! He has all the aristocratic airs that conservatives pretend they don't really like. He doesn't do all the pussy talking and diplomacy crap or rely on mealymouthed sanctions. He ACTS! Add in what President George W. Bush said about him...

He's not well informed. It's like arguing with an eighth grader with his facts wrong.

and he is so unbelievably perfect as the GOP presidential nom that I can already feel that tingle up my leg!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Downton Abbey Economy

Looks like Lawrence Summers is saying the same things I have been saying about inequality. He's even echoing the realization that the Right opines for aristocracy as he correctly notes in the title of the piece. His conclusion is excellent.

It is ironic that those who profess the most enthusiasm for market forces are least enthusiastic about curbing tax benefits for the wealthy. Sooner or later inequality will have to be addressed. Much better that it be done by letting free markets operate and then working to improve the result. Policies that aim instead to thwart market forces rarely work, and usually fall victim to the law of unintended consequences.


Friday, February 07, 2014

America Is Owed An Explanation

I think America needs an explanation as to why it's so difficult to raise the minimum wage yet incredibly easy to raise the pay of CEOs. Take a look at this recent piece in the LA times about CEO pay.

The great management guru Peter Drucker advised companies to stick to a ratio of about 20 to 1 between the pay of the CEO and that of the average worker. That's "the limit beyond which they cannot go if they don't want resentment and falling morale to hit their companies," Drucker wrote, according to a comment on the CEO pay rule submitted to the SEC by Rick Wartzman, executive director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University. Drucker's standard was in line with the ratios of the 1970s and early '80s, when he wrote those words. Today they seem positively quaint. 

The average CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2012 was about 350 to 1. That's down somewhat from where it was before the 2008 recession, but it would have to come down a great deal more to return to the non-obscene range. It's plain that this ratio typically has little to do with an executive's performance. The CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio of the 250 largest companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index ranges from 1,795 to 1 (J.C. Penney's Ron Johnson) to 173 to 1 (Agilent Technologies' William Sullivan), according to Bloomberg, which ran the data for 2012. 

My wife used to work for Supervalu. They went through a few CEOs during her tenure there and it was always the same thing. Somebody would be brought in to "fix" the company. They would be paid millions of dollars. They would fail. And then they would leave with their millions, accomplishing nothing, with dozens (if not more) of average workers being laid off. The information in this link details how something similar happened with JC Penney. In so many ways, this is complete bullshit. If the CEO fails to do is or her job or makes it worse, they shouldn't get any amount of money. Take the money you are paying the CEOs and keep the average workers longer.

At least the SEC seems to be doing something about it.

I wholeheartedly support this new rule and think that the public (especially the investing public) needs to be aware of how these companies are doing business. Firms like Penney's don't seem to understand, as Drucker noted above, that the health of a company springs from its employees, not from the top. They aren't going to be successful unless they start paying better wages to everyone. Worse, the social cohesion in our society is fraying as a result. There are a lot of people hurting out there and seeing wealthy people bitch about poor people while they themselves are getting something for nothing is really FUBAR.

The Right likes to scream about "class warfare" but that's really code for desperately wanting to maintain aristocracy.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Imperial President?

The Christian Science Monitor had the following cover story last week.

Is Barack Obama an imperial president? 

As is usually the case with their reporting, it is very balanced and offers some very interesting critiques of the president. It's a lengthy piece but worth of a serious read as we, once again, debate the limits of presidential power.

My take on this issue is this. If Republican leaders in Congress are going to bitch about the limits of presidential power, then they should offer alternatives to what the president wants to do. It's easy to be a critic (which is essentially all the Right does these days...take a look at my comments section) but let's see some serious policy proposals to tackle the major issues of the day. Saying the government should just stay out of it isn't the answer either.

The president and the Democrats also need to bear in mind that Republicans are going to loathe to the core anyone who is the leader of this country and not a member of their tribe. They did it with Bill Clinton, they are doing it with Barack Obama, and they will do it with Hillary Clinton, if she runs and wins. They may bitch about government authority but when it's their guy, they love it and can't get enough of it. They want their Reagan-esque, father figure to tuck them in at night and say that it's all going to be OK.

So, whatever they do, the Right is going to irrational motivated by fear, anger, and hatred leading to bitching without any viable solutions of their own. They've essentially become like pop stars in which they sing the hits for their fans and then exit stage left. What they don't realize, though, is that most stars are famous for only 15 minutes. If they want to stay relevant, they are going to have to produce. That means that if the president produces (and this is mentioned at the end of the article), the debate about whether or not he is imperial will fade away. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

75,000 New Democratic Voters in West Virginia?

Sharon Mills is a great example why the Democrats should take Reince Priebus's advice and "stamp Obamacare to their foreheads."

Ms. Mills, 54, who suffered renal failure last year after having irregular access to medication, said her dependence on others left her feeling helpless and depressed. “I got to the point when I decided I just didn’t want to be here anymore,” she said. So when a blue slip of paper arrived in the mail this month with a new Medicaid number on it — part of the expanded coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act — Ms. Mills said she felt as if she could breathe again for the first time in years. “The heavy thing that was pressing on me is gone,” she said.

And how many more people in West Virginia are there like her?

Here in West Virginia, which has some of the shortest life spans and highest poverty rates in the country, the strength of the demand has surprised officials, with more than 75,000 people enrolling in Medicaid. While many people who have signed up so far for private insurance through the new insurance exchanges had some kind of health care coverage before, recent studies have found, most of the people getting coverage under the Medicaid expansion were previously uninsured. In West Virginia, where the Democratic governor agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility, the number of uninsured people in the state has been reduced by about a third.

The question now becomes how many people will shift over to the Democrats as a result of the ACA. I think it's going to be far greater than people imagine because there are many poor people who have come to realize that conservatives are not helping them at all. This is a big reason why Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election. They are seen as the party of the aristocratic class.

Of course, we still do have plaque..

Still, even among those who most need insurance, there has been resistance to signing up. President Obama — often blamed here in coal country for the industry’s decline — remains deeply unpopular. Recruiters trying to persuade people to enroll say they sometimes feel like drug peddlers. The people they approach often talk in hushed tones out of earshot of others. Chad Webb, a shy 30-year-old who is enrolling people in Mingo County, said a woman at a recent event used biblical terms to disparage Mr. Obama as an existential threat to the nation. Mr. Webb said he thought to himself: “This man is not the Antichrist. He just wants you to have health insurance.”

How did the froth about the president get to be so thick? Honestly, it's a combination of many things. I think it begins with the fact that they are massively insecure, angry and hateful at someone else succeeding where they are failing. That's rooted in the adolescent behavior that I think is at the core of all of this. As I have mentioned previously, conservatives are also secret aristocrats who don't think Democrats deserve to run anything. Only members of the "club" should be at the high of a station. Race plays a part, of course as does pride and hubris in tandem with an extreme difficulty to admit error. But, as the article notes,

Eventually, though, people’s desperate need for insurance seems to be overcoming their distaste for the president. Rachelle Williams, 25, an uninsured McDonald’s worker from Mingo County, said she had refused to fill out insurance forms on a recent trip to the emergency room for a painful bout of kidney stones. “I wouldn’t do it,” she said. But when she got a letter in the mail saying she qualified for Medicaid, she signed up immediately.

Uh Huh:)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

We ♥ The Aristocracy!

The season premiere of the fourth season of Downton Abbey brought with it all the usual overblown publicity and hysterical Facebook posts about all of the latest doings in the Yorkshire county estate in the early part of the 20th century. I enjoy the show a great deal from an historical perspective but see it for what it is: Melrose Place with Brits.

As I was watching the premiere on Sunday night, I thought about this Fox News Clip in which all the conservatives hilariously championed... the benefits of an aristocracy! Don't they realize that they can't both support our founding fathers AND champion the generosity of rich folk who help out the poor folk? Especially British folk? They probably don't and that's when I had an epiphany.

Most conservatives today are from the south and pine for those lost days of antebellum. In particular, they miss the hierarchy of the aristocracy that was present in that region during that time. The top of that hierarchy is available only to those individuals born of a certain stature and ideology. In short, that means, NO FUCKING LIBERALS. And only those who are pure in all the ways the Right sees fit.

So, the real reason why conservatives hate Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as much as they do is because the office of the president is a close to "king" as we get in this country. The very idea that someone who is not pure gets to be "king" as a major affront to those inner dreams of aristocratic fantasy. People like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama simply don't belong up there. No Democrat does. Throw in the fact that President Obama is black and it's even more of an insult.

Go deeper and one can really see the problem. Conservatives both pine for the aristocracy (whining about tradition and the ways things used to be juxtaposed with screams of class warfare anytime anyone mentions inequality)  and then turn around in the same breath and bitch about the political class and how individual rights are being trampled. Can't they see their hypocrisy? No wonder they act like children all the time. They are fucking bipolar and being driven crazy by their inner struggle.

Considering that they define themselves as the "haves and soon to haves", it makes even more sense that they are as nuts as they are. Someday (see: very likely never) they will be at the top of the heap and they don't want any of those peasants creeping on their dough (see: hard earned money pilfered by lazy non whites). Yet how can they get there without freedom or liberty?

What a puzzler!