Tag Archives: bain capital

Freeport, Bain, Romney and the Big Quiet

Romney slipped this one past the pundits and fact checkers. Factcheck.org was absent. Obama barely put up a fight. The networks, well we know who they work for. But there was one group he couldn’t get the truth past, but those folks have been silenced, just as surely as if they’d been censored.

Here’s the deal. I’m a novelist. I write literature; musing and observations and commentaries on the human soul. The last few years I’ve had less and less a chance to pursue pertinent forays into the human psyche because my country is in trouble.  Not socialist/communist the deficit is too high trouble, but 1920’s Germany sort of trouble. There, fervent nationalism was promulgated by this sort of willful ignorance of the general population, as long as there was someone else to blame. It was not the Nazis or Adolf Hitler. An entire population does not get off that easy for all that transpired in the ensuing 2 decades up to and including the Second World War.  Hitler and the Nazis were  opportunists, and conductors to the orchestra of nationalism. The national press in Germany at the time were their willing propagandists.

Before you think I’ve gone too far in bringing in the Nazi’s to this, it’s important to establish precisely what I’m referring to. First, nationalism is a template. It works exactly the same every time, in every place and in every culture. I saw it first hand in Miloshevich’s Serbia during the break-up of Yugoslavia and in Rwanda during the genocide. For better than 20 years I have feverishly dissected nationalist movements the world over, in dozens of different cultures, from Mao’s Cultural Revolution to Hezbollah.

Simply, this is the template for ardent nationalism:  a willing Press, and a complacent population create the fertile environment. secure the Press then establish a victim demographic, an external threat, an internal betrayer and establish an ideal. For the Nazis it was true Aryans as the victim demographic, communists as the external threat, the Jews as internal betrayer-the so-called morally corrupt bourgeoisie. Today, in America, traditional American values(white people) are the victim demographic, Islam and European Socialism the enemy and Liberals the betrayers. 

In support of every nationalist movement is a complicit Press. It is either fervent in its capacity to ascend to absolute banality, or eager in its willingness to subvert all but the power elite. The venom and vitriol the media levelled upon the Occupy movement indicates a complicity, if not outright conspiracy to abscure necessary truths from the American people, at the very least. And so we come full circle to the Vaudevillian theater of the Presidential campaign.

“You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years,” said Mitt Romney during the October 3rd presidential debate, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grQTuIYnreg&feature=youtu.be

So where is the Press, when he clearly lied to the American people. Romney knew full well, when he made that statement that his company, Bain capiltal was shuttering a profitable plant in the iconic midwest town of Freeport Illinois. For history buffs, you’ll recall Freeport as the site of the second Lincoln Douglas debate in 1858, and arguably the place where, in a misstatement Douglas split the Democratic party over slavery and paved the way for Lincoln to win. It was dubbed the Freeport Heresy, which perhaps is appropriote to Romney’s, shall we say, misstatement during the debate.

Romney’s company, from which he made $8 million last year, that’s $8 million, $8 million, bought Sensata Technologies, a profitable company( a very profitable company) and is shutting it down, which will all but bankrupt and destroy Freeport Illinois, not to mention the 170 who worked there. They are sending it to China for no other reason in that “more” is a never-ending concept. More is never enough. More is the soul of greed. Indeed, they had the American workers train their Chinese replacements. Just 40 minutes south of Janesville Wisconsin, Freeport is practically in Paul Ryan’s backyard. http://investors.sensata.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=210277&p=irol-homeProfile&t=&id http://www.pbn.com/Sensata-3Q-in-the-black-but-9-mo-a-loss,62007?search_filter=sensata+technologies&sub_type=stories,packages

Romney and Ryan are right, and Obama is wrong. America is failing. Not because of its people, or  through some endemic penchant for socialistic narratives, like welfare, social security, medicare or national healthcare. America is failing as long as it refuses to stand against the abject and perverse abuse by companies like Bain and their champions like Romney and Ryan. It fails as long as Americans passively accept the propaganda and manipulation paraded as information and news. It fails as long as all of us collectively act as if freedom and democracy  are spectator  rather than participation sports. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/13/1144033/-American-flag-taken-down-in-Freeport-company-outsourced-by-Bain


Unspoken Truths: Bain, Romney and the latest Obama Campaign Ad

Don’t bitch. If you backed away from the Occupy movement and threw money  at Democrats ahead of the presidential election out of some pragmatic retreat to make  sure Obama got re-elected, or because it was time to “face reality,” believing that if one side has super PACs then we have to fight fire with fire, or if you threw in the towel about campaign finance reform and the repeal of Citizen’s United, you’ve got nothing to bitch about. If you are a Republican, you can shut up as well. The hyperbolic vitriol that has become and that is the campaign on both sides is exactly what you get when you concede perverse nonsense such as money equals free speech.

This week a super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, Priorities USA Action released an ad placing blame against Romney for the cancer death of a woman who lost her health insurance after Bain, Romney’s company, closed the company where her husband worked. The Kansas City based GST Steel declared bankruptcy and closed in 2001. Romney claims he was not in control of the company at the time, but FCC filings offer a different perspective, clearly showing that he was in control of the company.

In the ad, Joe Soptic, who worked at GST when Bain took control says, “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that, my wife became ill. “I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was – there was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days.”

The Right reacted with predictable outrage, calling the ad despicable. Rush Limbaugh mocked Soptic on his radio show today. No doubt in the coming days they will attack every aspect of the story, the man and his family. But the argument is a thin one, particularly in light of the veiled re-hashing of the birther issue in the anti-Obama film heavily promoted on  Right-wing radio called “Obama’s America 2016” is little more than a pro-Romney ad parading as journalism by former Reagan Whitehouse functionary and zealot Dinesh D’Souza.

But the ad speaks to a deeper truth, one that the Occupy movement championed and working-class and the poor have known only too painfully. While politics and big business  are a game to the rich and powerful, the true effects of that game, hidden by a complicit or gleefully dumb media are too often written in the lives lost to those policies.

So a factory is closed. Too often it barely merits a mention on the nightly news. If it does, the cold facts report ten, thousand laid off, or twenty thousand jobs outsourced overseas. Missing are the lives of men and women who may not have the capacity, who may be too old, to whom resources  aren’t easily accessible, or  are unable to tear up lifetimes invested in a home. all too often it is the elderly, those of limited means, perhaps invested and over=extended to provide an education for children, or at the age of retirement when their insurance and the pension they worked for their whole lives is suddenly and legally taken from them.

These  are the people, many tens od millions of Americans for whom the loss of a job or insurance is a devastating event that may take years to recover from, may lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, and choosing a meal over a needed medical checkup, the electric bill over a meal as despair becomes a cruel indignity to honest hardworking people who lost their jobs and livelihoods not to normal or unforseen economic cycles and calamities, but by strategic takeovers, manipulations of the law, greed and uncaring financial gamesmanship.  

When I visited Sarajevo at the height of the Serbian siege, thousands had died of sniper and artillery attacks. Unreported and uncounted were the elderly who froze to death, starved to death in their homes. Untold children died of malnutrition. Hundreds, perhaps thousands died during those 4 long years of disease.  They were not shot or killed by an overt act of war, but were dead just as surely. 

Is there any difference when a company like Bain takes over a factory with the express purpose of carving it up purely for the financial gain of a few. And when a town is decimated by that closing, when someone like Joe Soptic’s wife dies for what amounts fully to greed, who is responsible for that death? If a couple must choose between heat and food because their retirement has been stolen and they succumb to pneumonia or the effects of cold or malnutrition, who is responsible for that, when the act of ending their retirement was a fully unnecessary and wholly self-serving act? If a mother and  child cannot properly afford pre or post-natal care because her healthcare was discontinued so that a few  stockholders could afford a bigger house, a fancier car or another European vacation, and the child dies, or suffers, who is responsible for that?

Interestingly, and sadly, there will be American’s who are unsympathetic to the pain of men like Joe Soptic, and maybe America needs to confront that darker side of itself to understand the stakes, and those who would lead us down a wholly inhumane and unrighteous path. Perhaps that’s the tactic; to draw out the extremist Right and push Romney into the corner with them, clinging to nakedly cruel, short-sighted and unAmerican positions from which they cannot escape to hide behind the lies, confusion and innuendo they have cloaked themselves in up to now.


A LIBERAL CALLS OUT MSNBC: Moving the ball forward for the Right on election campaign reform

Generally, I enjoy Chris Hayes weekends on MSNBC, but I constantly must remind myself that Mr. Hayes, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and the rest of their line-up are still part of the problem of corporate and power-elite-status-quo control of the discourse and messaging of critical national issues. While MSNBC is routinely “demonized” by FOX and pundits on the Right as far Left wing, it is not-by a long shot.

To support that, I point to the “buy American” push, particularly by Ed Schultz. Recall, this was a rightwing and nationalist mantra following NAFTA. Just as they did in the lead up to Iraq, MSNBC, for all their Liberal bent has missed the real solution to jobs in America and the necessary equitible trade worldwide, and that is not some pseudo-Ron Paul-esque economic isolationism, but forcing international corporations to adhere to wage and safety and pollution reforms regardless of where they are. If GE-owned MSNBC was truly as Liberal as the Right asserts, they would recognize first that mankind is global, and globalization was the direction of the species from those first steps from an African Valley 2 million years ago.

What prompted this article was a roundtable discussion on Chris Hayes’ Sunday morning show about the 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that allows Corporations, and Unions, to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote candidates and policy, effectively erasing the one man one vote cornerstone of our democracy by overwhelming free discourse through propaganda and false messaging.http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html
With a decptively benign name like Citizens United, the group is in fact a filthy little cabal of Republican hacks in the vein of Andrew Breitbart, with a bias towards editing for innuendo over fact and truth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)

That’s the background, but on this morning’s show Mr. Hayes had Jack Abramoff, the convicted lobbyist who was unequivical in saying that overturning Citizens United would never happen, because it is fundamental to Conservatives in this country. The statement went virtually unchallenged. Aside the traitorous acts committed by Mr. Abramoff, which did immeasurable damage to this democracy, why would MSNBC legitimize such a character? Because, at the heart of MSNBC is a large mult-national corporation, with significant interests in issues ner and dear to the true powers in this nation (Hint: It isn’t Right, Left, Libertarian or even American).

The Corporate media is overt and subversive alike in its crafting and molding of cultures and nations. It does so to create markets as to define and secure them.

Advertising creates ideals, standards and affirms stereotypes on one hand, while the media carries and promotes those messages. The recent purchase of The Weather Channel by NBC Universal, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group highlights the effort of Multi-national Corporations and firms to devour media outlets and control what Americans sees, hears, discusses and votes upon. Blackstone bought Neilsen-the rating people in 2006 along with other partners like the Carlyle Group. Bain, by the way is owned by Mitt Romney, and owns Clear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the country. Its “news” talk format is 90% rightwing, with Beck, Savage, Limbaugh and Hannity leading that charge, despite that 90% of the country does not vote Republican. Bain also owns or invests in AMC Entertainment and Warner Music group.

So there is real pressure, and undeniable evidence that Liberal MSNBC is hardly a Liberal thinktank, but instead has slipped into a market not served blatantly by FOX as a means, not to promote Progressive ideals, but as a means, as prescribed by their corporate owners, to nudge the message forward far more subtley that FOX can do. But the effort is the same, and in the end it comes down to control-not politics.

The strategy is to create paradigms not cultures, as paradigms become absolute realities that are much harder to find alternatives to or see beyond. Imagine what it would be to breath fire, or breathe watter as a means of survival, and that air and wind could be as deadly as we find those others. Those are other paradigms. That is what corporations are evolving to in a greater and greater consolidation of power and influence. Think back over the last 50 or 100 years about where corporations were and where they are today, with interlocking partnerships and boards, and their ascent to controlling almost fully govenments worldwide.

Now imagine this paradigm. With all that power to control the message and assert culture, a group of people have challenged that by Occupy parks have the power elite absolutely terrified. Now that is a message!


WARNING: Explicit Language on Unions/FOX and Idiots

I have a specific request for 2012. I need someone to convince me that this country is worth saving, or if it is over-burdened with a fatally vapid population. Convince me that the sooner the last of the so-called baby-boomers and Gen-Xers( of which I am one) are gone this society will have a chance of a progressive and purposeful society. I know, I know, the Right has demonized the word progressive, but pause a moment to think about the root of the word, and then think about something that has progressed, like say flush toilets over outhouses, cars over wagons or cellphones with internet as opposed to hollerin’ across the valley.

I was listening to this evil, evil show on FOX called Bulls and Bears, a lop-sided name as there is far more bull than bear. One comment that all the pundits cheered was regarding how unions prevent the historically profitable and powerful corporations from competing in the global marketplace due to those union wages and benefits. And who precicely would we be competing against for, say, manufacturing? It isn’t Europe or Japan. It is regions and countries like Mexico and Central America, India, China and southeast Asia. Add to that the comment from a relative recently, attacking the Occupy Movement by detailing how poor people in this country need to shut up because they live a better life than people in Africa (As if the entire continent were in all the same dire situation). By that logic, that relative won’t be happy until they are as poor as people in Africa. (Nevermind that this relative on the family’s current income in a southern desert state would be “Africa-poor” if forced to live in say Malibu or Manhattan- because your income is relaive to where you exist) 

It is an all too common theme I hear repeated among people making less than hundred thousand a year, many who make far less than that. They regurgitate so-called common knowledge fed to them by the Right and Corporate media. They pit their economic woes against people on  Social security, welfare or other public assistance, or among evangelicals and other Christians, or Muslims among racial lines, which amounts to little more than fighting over the scraps tossed by the wealthy abusers of the nation and planet.

There was a time when dumbass-no-nothing-neverreadabook-can’tseepasttheirownnose-believeeverythingtheyhearonFOX-flagwaving-can’tgettheirgrosslydimpledassoffthecouch-dunces had no mass outlet to make us all collectively dumber with their insipid opinions. But Reagan and the Clinton saw to that, allowing for the political and idealogical lopsidedness of the media into the hands of a small number of elites. Evidence a number one progressive radio show in San Franscisco being replaced by the obsolete Glenn Beck show because the station is owned by clear channel, which is owned by Bain Capital, which is owned by Mitt Romney.

But Clinton and Reagan aren’t the only ones to blame for media consolidation. Oprah in the early Ninties convinced us all that the news should work for us, not just tell us stuff about foreigners. She gave voice to a slate of housewives who whined about all the violence on the news was bad for their children, and who cares what happens way over on the other side of the world-I want to know where the best shopping malls are and where all the multitudes of child abducters are at any given moment. Of course, while that was going on, we were being set up for 9-11…way over on the other side of the world.

But is wasn’t just Oprah and those other 2 guys. People like Newt Gingrich saw an opportunity to enrich themselves by inventing the moral majority, which was little nmore than a ploy to polarize the nation between so-called Left and Right as a means of tightly focusing  a new market for their flood of crap books and Bill O’Reilly products.

And it wasn’t just Newt and Oprah and, R and C. Too many of the American people fell for that crap. They let it happen. They let themselves be rolled over, and are now too dumb not to know first that they are taking it hard in the caboose, and second that they don’t know who is giving it to them (Hint, it ain’t the Black guy in the office who was “born” in Kenya). And then when their kids, and people who have known all along about the shit-storm befalling this nation and planet stand up in mass protest for the 99%, those poor-as-dirt vapid, dumbass couch-idiots cheer the police for pepper-spraying and beating them, or they call them filthy hippies and communists.

A bit harsh? Needs to be said. This country is teetering on dumb and lazy, and I am afraid it prefers it that way, fighting over scraps from the wealthy 1%. If that is the case, we’re just dumbing out freedom and nation to death and we’ve no one to blame but ourselves.


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