Sunday, July 8, 2012

Conservative Federal Judge Richard Posner voices irritation with “Goofy” Republicans – A “Crowd of Lunatics”

By M. Ulric Killion

7-8-2012 1-34-41 PM

Photo Source: Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. John Gress/Reuters /Landov.

In a recent interview with NPR, the renowned conservative legal thinker Federal Judge Richard Posner, who is a 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointee to the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, spoke candidly about the crisis of the new Republican Party and conservative thinking in America.

Judge Posner spoke of the modern Republican Party as a crisis arising from a “real deterioration in conservative thinking” that has moved him away from a Republican Party base, which he described as a “crowd of lunatics.”

For instance, when addressing the right-winger attacks against Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act, he said,

Because if you put [yourself] in his position ... what’s he supposed to think? That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots? Does that help the conservative movement? I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, 'What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?' Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position.

According to a recent Slate article, Judge Posner also called out conservative Justice Antonin Scalia  for his combative dissent in the recent Arizona immigration case, in which he specifically attacked President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. Posner wrote that it “wouldn’t surprise [him] if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.”

7-8-2012 2-24-17 PM

All of this, according to  his NPR interview,  led Judge Posner to express exasperation with the modern Republican Party, while also confessing that he has become “less conservative” as a result.

For those unaware, Judge Posner is also a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, and has authored dozens of books on law and economics. In 2000, the Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the most-cited legal scholar of the 20th century.


Nina Totenberg, Federal Judge Richard Posner: The GOP Has Made Me Less Conservative, NPR, July 8, 2012.

Ashley Portero, Reagan-Appointed Judge Richard Posner Calls ‘Goofy’ Republicans A ‘Crowd of Lunatics’, International Business Times, July 6, 2012.

Richard A. Posner, Supreme Court Year in Review, Slate, June 27, 2012.


See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, confesses to Neil Heywood killing

By M. Ulric Killion


Photo Source: (FILES) In a file photo taken on on March 9, 2012, Bo Xilai, Communist Party secretary of Chongqing attends the third plenary session of of the National People's Congress’s (NPC) annual session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) via Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s Wife, Has Confessed To Neil Heywood Killing: Japanese Newspaper, Huffington Post, June 22, 2012.

In the continuing drama of the mystery surrounding the murder of Neil Heywood, a Japanese Newspaper, the The Asahi Shimbun, reported that Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai, confessed to the Neil Heywood killing.

According to The Asahi Shimbun,

Gu Kailai told Chinese investigators she killed Neil Heywood, who was found dead at a hotel in Chongqing, China, in November 2011. Communist party sources told the Ashi that Gu killed Heywood over her corrupt business practices--she worried that he would “reveal illegal remittances of billions of dollars abroad that he allegedly helped organize for her.”

In April 2012, it was earlier reported that Heywood was poisoned after threatening to expose Gu’s money moves--a parallel finding to the Japanese newspaper’s Friday report.

Source: Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai’s Wife, Has Confessed To Neil Heywood Killing: Japanese Newspaper, Huffington Post, June 22, 2012.


See also

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

China’s African Immigration Crisis Clashes with Protest of Police Abuse

By M. Ulric Killion

6-19-2012 10-42-52 AM

Photo Source: African expatriates protesting the deaf of a fellow expatriate in the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, PRC; 广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路, News, June 19, 2012.

Today, in Guangzhou, China, there was a clash between African expatriates and Chinese police officers in the Yuexiu district.

After reading the article, I was reminded of both an ongoing immigration crisis in China, especially concerning expats from some African countries in Guangzhou, and occasional reports of abuse of some prisoners in police custody in different parts of China.

The standoff involved a dispute about a fare for a taxi (by motorcycle) between a Chinese citizen and an African expat.

The police officer(s) took both to the local Yuexiu police station, and reportedly the African expat collapsed and ultimately died.

Yuexiu police officers did dispatch for medical assistance to help this man.

6-19-2012 10-43-48 AM

Photo Source: African expatriates protesting the deaf of a fellow expatriate in the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, PRC, as one protester is shown holding up a sign that reads, “Give us the body”; 广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路, News, June 19, 2012.

While an investigation will take place, the expats in the photos must suspect some sort of foul play, because, in one of the photos, an expat is holding a sign that says, “Give Us The Dead Body.” 

Otherwise, the lack of information about what exactly occurred inside the Yuexiu police station notwithstanding, it is difficult to imagine that some sort of police abuse arose simply out of a dispute about the fare for a taxi.

Finally, one reasonably suspects that the investigation of this incident will more fully explain the cause of death.


See News report:

广州一外籍男子与人打斗后死亡 外国人围聚派出所堵路

2012年06月19日 19:28



6月18日13时许,一名外籍男士在广园西路搭乘电动自行车,与车主因车费纠纷引发打斗,双方随后被警方带回矿泉派出所作进一步调查。17时许,该外籍男士突然昏迷,警方即通知“120”派医务人员到场抢救,最终经抢救无效死亡,警方正依法立案开展侦查. . . .


All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Monday, May 7, 2012

U.S. Congress debates Export-Import Bank – Do we really need this bank?

By M. Ulric Killion

5-7-2012 3-21-28 AM

Photo Source: “Trade and aid are expected to top discussions during the China-Africa Summit...”; “Export-Import Bank of China extended $12.5 billion more in loans to sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade than the World Bank, Fitch Ratings said. State-owned EXIM lent about $67.2 billion to the world’s poorest region between 2001 and 2010 compared with the World Bank’s $54.7 billion…,” Mike Cohen, China’s EXIM Lends More to Sub-Sahara Africa Than World Bank, Bloomberg, December 28, 2011; cnsphoto/

The U.S. Congress is presently struggling with the issue of whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Since its inception in 1934, the issue of renewing the charter of the Ex-Im Bank has hardly been a controversial one, as the U.S. Congress routinely and without controversy would renew its charter. This year, however, the renewal issue is causing a controversy, though surprisingly not along partisan lines. Rather, the center of the controversy is a division within the Republican Party.

According to the Associated Press, “In the House, Republicans are torn between their business allies who are strong Ex-Im backers and conservative groups which say the agency should be eliminated.” This controversy and division within the Republican Party also parallels diverging positions in the aircraft industry or trade in large civil aircraft, as seen in the difference between The Boeing Company (Boeing), which is a beneficiary of Ex-Im Bank financing, and Delta Air Lines that maintains Ex-Im Bank financing adversely affects its bottom line.

For those unaware, the Ex-Im Bank generally serves the critical role of helping to finance American companies’ overseas sales such as trade in large civil aircraft. In terms of global trade, the complaints of Delta Air Lines notwithstanding, for the U.S. economy, the renewal of the bank’s charter presents an economic imperative that will ultimately foster economic growth, productivity in manufacturing, jobs, and other positive amenities.

The role of the Ex-Im Bank and its potential to aid in the financing of overseas sales is important, as especially seen in the case of the European Union (EU) and its aircraft industry (i.e., trade in large civil aircraft). As Boeing earlier warned, as reported by the Financial Times, “Airlines will have to make greater use of the bond markets to pay for aircraft because European banks are pulling back from commercial aircraft financing.”

The reality of the present crisis of the large civil aircraft industry, as noted by Boeing Capital Corporation, which is the U.S. aircraft manufacture’s financial arm, airlines are now more likely to lease, rather than buy, new large civil aircraft, which is a direct consequence owing to a reduction in the availability of bank lending. According to Boeing Capital Corporation,

BCC expects that 10 per cent – or $10bn – of the financing for the 2012 deliveries will come from airlines and lessors tapping capital markets, mainly though bond rather than equity issuance. BCC estimates only 5 per cent of financing will have come from capital markets in 2011.

Meanwhile, BCC expects commercial bank lending for aircraft purchases to shrink as a proportion of aircraft financing, from 25 per cent in 2011 to 21 per cent in 2012. The absolute amount is due to increase slightly, from $19bn in 2011 to $20bn in 2012.

The benefits of an export-import bank, however, are subject to the world trading system and its rules, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement). It is notably that both Boeing and the EU’s Airbus have been subject to charges of violating the WTO’s SCM agreement, by receiving unfair subsidies.

For example, in March 2012, the WTO upheld a ruling that Boeing received “at least” $5.3 billion of unfair subsidies between 1989 and 2006, while also agreeing with Airbus that the effect of these subsidies or financial support was greater than their face value, as measurable in light of their “particularly pervasive” nature. There is also the pending WTO case against Airbus and its unfair subsidies. In April 2012, a WTO dispute panel agreed to further examine the EU’s compliance in the Airbus case, including an issue of new unfair subsidies.

While aircraft industry trending leans toward leasing rather than buying large civil aircraft, there are, however, exceptions to the rule such as the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ or Kabushiki-gaisha Nippon-seisaku-toshi-ginko), which is not pulling back from aircraft financing as seen with some European banks, and a growing participation in the market by some insurance companies.

Then there is the often overlooked potential role of the Ex-Im Bank in both international financing and international diplomacy. An exemplary example of such a role is the case of China and its export-import bank, which is the Export Import Bank of China (China Eximbank or Zhongguo Jinchukou Yinhang).

For instance, and quoting from an earlier article, China’s Eximbank earlier granted Belgrade a billion euro ($1.3 billon) loan to upgrade two power plants and, in the spring of 2010, commence the construction of a bride over the Danube River. Dusan Reljib, from the EU External Relations division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, described the Chinese presence as “gathering momentum right across the region. ‘The Chinese are in Slovenia, in Macedonia, they’re exporting buses to Skopje, they’re talking to Croatia about transport facilities, harbors, airports, railway connections,’ he said ‘and they’ve been talking to the Greeks about leasing possibilities in Athens harbor.’”

As Reljib also observed,

“With very little direct foreign investment coming into the region, tight government budgets and unemployment rates on the rise again, he says Balkan states need and welcome China’s money, which comes with grace periods, generously low interest rates and very few strings attached. ‘The Chinese do not attach economic or political conditions to their loans,’ Reljic said. ‘In a way, cheap Chinese money is an alternative to commercially expensive Western money or politically expensive money from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.’”

China’s creative international financing employs in many parts of the world, such as the regions of the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

In this respect, and demonstrating a broader importance of export-import banks, it may simply be an issue of a Beijing-form of creative international financing rather than a familiar Washington-form of capitalism.

In the end, a crisis looms because the charter of the Ex-Im Bank is set to expire at the end of this month, and there is also the issue of the Ex-Im Bank’s statutory lending cap of $100 billion. One reasonably suspects that the U.S. Congress will renew the Ex-Im Bank’s charter, and attempt to adjust its lending cap. This is because the role of the Ex-Im Bank rightly enjoys bi-partisan support, as it also actually aids in the promotion of competitiveness in manufacturing, economic growth, and world trade.


Jim Abrams, Ex-Im’s Future Caught Up in Congressional Fight, Associated Press, May 7, 2012.

Andrew Parker, Banks withdraw from aircraft financing, Financial Times, December 6, 2011.

Cathy Buyck, WTO upholds Boeing subsidies ruling: Airbus & Boeing both claim victory, Air Transport World, March 13, 2012.

World Trade Organization, Dispute Settlement - Dispute panel to examine EU compliance in Airbus case, WTO News, April 13, 2012.

World Trade Organization, SUBSIDIES AND COUNTERVAILING MEASURES: OVERVIEW - Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement”); May 7, 2012.

M. Ulric Killion, Post-global Financial crisis: The measure of the “Beijing consensus” as a variety of capitalisms, MPRA Paper 26382, University Library of Munich, Germany, 2010.


See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

America’s Social Safety Net Teeters on Cliff Edge – Are Altruism, Democracy and Christianity Evil?

By M. Ulric Killion

5-1-2012 6-22-51 AM

Photo Source: “A federal court in Texas ruled to stop a new law on Monday that excluded Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women's Health Program, which serves about 130,000 low-income women in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the law was unconstitutional. . . After HHS cut off Texas' Medicaid money, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) promised to make up for the $30 million funding gap and pay for the Women's Health Program with the state's own money. But conservative Texas officials have suggested that they would rather end the entire program than allow Planned Parenthood to participate in it,” Laura Bassett, Texas Planned Parenthood Defunding Halted By Federal Judge, Huffington Post, April 30, 2012. Getty file.


The Republican Conundrum — “The United States cannot move out of history and be at the same time its most authentic contemporary expression.”

—  Mohamed Sid Ahmed, The Kagan Thesis (3) - Beyond Fukuyama and Huntington?, Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line No. 602, September 11, 2002.


Today, I was reading a blog at, which is written by Donna Barne, and titled, At Spring Meetings, Support for Safety Nets and a More Modern Bank. It is notable, as Barne explained, that the Washington D.C.-based World Bank recently “got the green light to ramp up work on social safety nets in a riskier world at the best-attended World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in the last decade.”

A primary goal of their spring meeting was two-fold: Closing the gap on social safety nets, and financial inclusion.

5-1-2012 5-57-34 AM

Photo Source: “The Spring Meetings and related events April 16 to 22 highlighted safety nets as a way to protect people from crises and to help “close the gap” in nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs”. . . Close the Gap: Safety Nets Work on April 18 brought together high-ranking officials from the Philippines and Brazil, development experts, and basketball stars to discuss, in a live webcast, how safety nets have changed lives in middle and low income countries, and why it’s important for governments to expand their investments in these programs,” Donna Barne, At Spring Meetings, Support for Safety Nets and a More Modern Bank,, April 23, 2012.

I found the article interesting, especially in the context of the American Republican Party and its explicit goal of ridding the country of entitlement programs and/or social safety nets and various rights of citizens, such as, for example, Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and gender equality. This is the new Republican Party, which is described by Robert Caro (author of "Master of the Senate," the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of his Lyndon Johnson biography), in the article entitled, Robert Caro: Republicans Have Made Lawmaking ‘Near Impossible’, asintractable and it has the votes to stop legislation.” 

Barnes writes,

The Spring Meetings and related events April 16 to 22 highlighted safety nets as a way to protect people from crises and to help “close the gapin nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs. The Development Committee also called on the Bank to continue to look for solutions to the problems of fragile and conflict-affected states, food insecurity and malnutrition. High and volatile food prices are preventing millions of people from escaping poverty and hunger, according to the Bank’s latest Global Monitoring Report, released at the meetings.

Close the Gap: Safety Nets Work on April 18 brought together high-ranking officials from the Philippines and Brazil, development experts, and basketball stars to discuss, in a live webcast, how safety nets have changed lives in middle and low income countries, and why it’s important for governments to expand their investments in these programs. Some 80% of developing countries plan to create or improve safety nets, and this form of social protection is a critical component of the Bank’s new, 10-year Social Protection and Labor Strategy, released April 18.

In terms of the Republican Party, one reasonably suspects that it  supports the goals of the World Bank, and impliedly would support the goal of protecting “people from crises and to help “close the gap” in nutrition, gender equity, income and access to jobs; to name only a few of the issues and programs that they would generally characterize as entitlement programs or safety nets.

In other words, one suspects that the Republican Party probably supports this worthy effort to provide social safety nets for those living in foreign countries.

This is because the Republican Party has long taken pride in economic liberalization or globalization, which (commencing in the 1970s) the antagonists to globalization began to associate with the name of neo-liberalism.

Quoting from an earlier writing (Killion, Modern Chinese Rules of Order, 2007),

In the 1970s and 1980’s, the concept of neo-liberalism (or economic liberalism) begins to emerge with the debt crises in developing countries. In the 1970s, and pursuant to growing interests in international economics, the antagonists of economic liberalism and globalization commence usage of the nomenclature of neo-liberal, while those supporters subscribing to its tenants would rather prefer to themselves as simply libertarians, free marketers or conservatives. Neo-liberalism is also the name often given to the political-economic restructuring or reform programs proposed for developing countries by developed country economists, the IMF and World Bank, and some refer to the structural adjustment programs of the BWIs as simply neo-liberal reforms.

There are few who would doubt Republican Party support for the BWIs (i.e., Bretton Woods Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank). Additionally, and quoting the earlier mentioned writing (Killion, 2007),

A criticism of neo-liberalism is that it arguably extends the same individual rights to transnational corporations and banks, and moves the rights of property from the status of a social right to that of a fundamental right. The complaint being that Western neo-liberalism treats transnational banks and corporate entities as equal, for instance, to a small farmer in China. The antagonists complain that while neo-liberalism grants significantly more freedom to corporate entities, a problem of neo-liberalism is that, historically, it does not extend the same freedoms to indigents and working people.

What should also be understood is that neo-liberalism necessitates neo-liberal policies and neo-liberal reform, because neo-liberal reforms, generally, encompass privatization, free markets, de-regulation, austerity and comparative advantage.

The problem of this earlier version of neo-liberalism, and its attendant neo-liberal policies, is that harsh criticism alongside debt crises in the 1980s actually necessitated a shift to more people-friendly policies; thereby, the birth of the idea of a more “pragmatic” neo-liberalism.

5-1-2012 7-15-43 AM

Photo Source; “These are only a few of the examples of education marginalization that occurs in every country in the world. These types of marginalization could only be addressed with policies that tackle underlying issues such as social inequity, gender disparity, and ethnic/linguistic disadvantages,” Global Education and Economic Downturn, Globalization 101, The Levin Institute - The State University of New York, March 14, 2011; Uganda – © UNESCO/Marc Hofer.

In other words, the previously mentioned tenants of neo-liberalism, who would rather prefer to themselves as libertarians, free marketers or conservatives, arguably have few qualms about protecting the social safety nets of other countries.

A problem is that in the context of the American people caught in the claws and fangs of globalization and its failings (i.e., the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis or global financial crisis), the Republican Party is showing little, if any, compassion for their fellow Americans, such as middle-class Americans and “very poor” Americans.

While the Republican Party, libertarians, free marketers or conservatives are clearly advocates of the earlier mentioned neo-liberal reforms, they admittedly might find the policies of protecting entitlements or social safety nets of other countries as objectionable. This may also be one of the objections of the Republican Party to President Obama’s recent appointment of Jim Yong Kim, Dartmouth president, to head the World Bank.

The seeming target of the new Republican Party and its extremisms on many social issues are vested rights, entitlements and/or social safety nets; such as women’s rights, the right to equal pay for women, fair employment rights, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, contraception, the Blunt Amendment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood, birth control, and other issues that affect the lives of women, self-deportation of immigrants, education, feeding and housing the “very poor”, and a host of other social concerns.

It is admittedly also possible that the Republican Party may try to move against these new goals of the World Bank by following suit of Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), which means an attempt to terminate these social safety nets by defunding the World Bank, or simply, cutting off U.S. funds for the World Bank.

This, however, is mere speculation, because one also suspects that they will not object to the World Bank bolstering these social safety nets. Granted, they would not be doing so out of altruism or sympathy for poor people, because there is an economic benefit that arises from doing so. This is because developing countries ultimately offer the prize of comparative advantage (i.e., land and/or labor endowments, or simply, cheap land and low wages or cheap non-union labor).

In the end, the new Republican Party and its extremisms will eventually find itself far afield of both mainstream America and the world at large. In a post-Lehman world, for the majority of Americans, they are determined to demonstrate their lack of compassion for those now struggling for survival.

5-1-2012 6-42-55 AM

Photo Source: Paul Ryan gave speech on federal budget at Georgetown University; Power Panel: Child Labor and Catholics v. Paul Ryan. Young Turks, April 30, 2012.

This lack of compassion presents a deep-rooted problem for the new Republican Party. As Dave Johnson wrote, “Some say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party's ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are "evil." Others say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a country's policies on fictional novels rather than science and history.”

Johnson is referring to a Republican ideology born out of the writings of the novelist Ayn Rand, which he characterizes as the “Republican Party’s embrace of Ayn Rand and her cruel philosophy.”  What should concern an unsuspecting public, according to Johnson, “Disciples of Ayn Rand's philosophy of selfishness now dominate the thinking of the leadership of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.” Demonstrating the seriousness and breath of the problem, he writes,

There is no way around it. Republican budget leader Rep. Paul Ryan says Rand is his guide. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says Rand's Atlas Shrugged is his "foundation book." Senator Rand Paul is named after her (or not). Clarence Thomas requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead. Fox News promotes Rand. Conservative blogs promote Rand. Glenn Beck has been promoting Rand for years. So has Rush. This isn't recent, Alan Greenspan lived with the Rand cult and promoted and implemented her ideas.”

Paul Ryan earlier explicitly stated that Rand is his guide, though now in political posturing he is exhibiting trepidation in the face of criticism from the Catholic Church concerning his so-called “faith-based budget” and the treatment of poor and vulnerable persons. Dana Milbank writes,

A week after Ryan’s boast, the bishops sent letters to Congress saying that the Ryan budget, passed by the House, “fails to meet” the moral criteria of the Church, namely its view that any budget should help “the least of these” as the Christian Bible requires: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless. “A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons,” the bishops wrote.

In response to the criticism of Ryan’s so-called “faith-based budget, the good Catholic Republicans just blew off the Catholic Church. On April 26, 2012, at Georgetown University, Ryan actually, though poorly, attempted to defend his budget as the fruit of Catholic teaching. Before inviting him to defend his budget, “A group of 88 Georgetown University faculty and staff members sent a letter to Ryan April 24 outlining their concerns over his ‘misuse of Catholic teaching’ to defend his budget plan.” Jesuit Father Thomas Reese said, “I don't think he can get away with Catholic social teachings as a cover for his budget cutting.”

5-1-2012 6-45-32 AM

Photo and Video Source: “The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand,” Dave Johnson, Concern Over Republican Embrace of the Ayn Rand Poison, Huffington Post, June 10, 2011; See the Video here.

When referring to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as Johnson observed, “maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party's ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are ‘evil’.”

Moreover, one would even venture to say that at some point the Republican Party’s extremisms (i.e., the war against women, the war on the poor, the war on immigrants, the war on health care, etc) will dissipate, because the citizenry that now supports its extremisms will eventually withhold their acclamation.

This is because, and showing the folly of their extremisms, as one recent study demonstrates, many Republicans, who are railing against entitlements and/or social safety nets and various rights, are actually in dire needs of the same entitlements and/or social safety nets and rights (i.e., equal pay for women, health care, etc). For instance, in reference to what the study shows, William A. Galston (Brookings Institution) when describing a group of Republicans that he characterizes as “the Disaffected”, wrote,

According to Pew, they are both anti-government and anti-big business. They are social conservatives with a deep antipathy to illegal immigration. But they are also the most financially insecure of all the groups—among Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans—and perhaps for that reason, less averse to a government that extends a helping hand to the downtrodden. For the most part, they are whites with no more than a high school education. Many report personal or family struggles with unemployment.

In other words, it’s not difficult to imagine “the Disaffecteds” also needing a safety net, as they are also “less averse to a government that extends a helping hand to the downtrodden.”

A better example of this tragedy or maybe even an oxymoron in the new Republican ideology might well be the real life example and experiences of Ayn Rand. This is because Paul Ryan’s mentor or guide spent most of her adult life railing against the evils of federal insurance.  In reality, however, and later in life and during a difficult period of money problems and health issues, both Rand and her husband reportedly did receive social security payments and Medicare payments.

In other words, the social safety net was there for both Ayn Rand and her husband in their time of need, as it has always been for many years now to help others – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless.

For now, however, and as a courtesy of the Republican Party and its ideology and extremisms, America’s social safety net teeters on cliff edge. With that being sad, I will leave the readers of this article to answer for themselves the question of whether altruism, democracy and Christianity are evil?


See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Colbert Takes On Fox News Reaction To Obama’s ‘Slow Jam The News’ On ‘Fallon’ (VIDEO)

Colbert Obama

April 27, 2012 --

You know that the 2012 presidential race is heating up when Stephen Colbert is willing to defend his former best friend Jimmy Fallon for hosting President Obama on his show.

>>See Colbert Takes on Fox News Video here.

On Thursday night, Colbert had some fun with Fox News' reaction to President Obama appearing on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to do some slow jammin' of the news. And by “had some fun,” Colbert essentially let the stable of usual suspects -- Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, Bill O'Reilly -- speak for themselves, and rolled footage of the Fox News pundits bloviating about how dare the President go on a comedy show during an election year. Even though Romney appeared on Letterman, and George W. Bush had no hesitation in making fun of himself for going to war while in office.

4-28-2012 4-36-38 AM

Photo and Video: President Obama’s “Slow Jam The News” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”; >>See the (Jimmy Fallon)Video here.

But no, Obama is truly the culprit for appearing exceptionally charming on a show viewed by millions of young people. As Colbert noted, youth voters will be forced to face the question: “Who do I like: The guy I like, or the guy I don't like?”. . . .

Source: Huffington Post


See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hail the Conquering Romney, The “Champion of the Proletariat”

By M. Ulric Killion


Photo Source: “It was also shamelessly maudlin, mendacious in the extreme, and otherwise completely of a piece with the entire campaign that has been waged by the man who delivered it in triumph last night”, Charles P. Pierce, Game Over: Mitt Romney's Big Night, Esquire magazine, April 25, 2012.

On April 24, 2012, Willard Mitt Romney (“Rmoney”) gave a sort of pre-ordination speech that addressed his ascendancy to the GOP’s 2012 candidate for the office of U.S. president. Never mind Newt Gingrich, though now re-assessing his campaign, and Ron Paul, who is still challenging his ascendancy, Rmoney took the crown and set it upon his head, as in the coronation of a king.

For this reason, and countless others, the 2012 GOP primary race will go down in history as the worst kind of political circus, the worst variety of forked tongues, the most bloodletting of political campaigns, and a distinguishable extremism that will haunt the GOP for years to come. In other words, when it comes time to vote in November, one would certainly have to share some of their extremisms or extreme positions in order to the punch the GOP ticket for POTUS.

When reading several articles covering Romney’s speech, one article stood out from many critiques of his performance. This is the article written by Charles P. Pierce (Esquire magazine), which, as usual, is very revealing about Rmoney. This is because Pierce’s article essentially reveals what the average American dislikes, dreads, and fears about his candidacy for president. For example, Pierce writes,

The naked lack of shame about the whole speech was the only real story of the night. The notion of Willard Romney, Champion Of The Proletariat is so utterly preposterous that it fairly cried out for coverage. But the speech was well-crafted and delivered with something approaching actual gusto, so that, apparently, was enough for now, 

He’s getting better at being shameless. Believe that. In retrospect, it's hard to believe anyone ever took seriously the notion that Romney was not inevitable.

This is also one of the reasons that Rmoney will always be the flip-flop guy, the etch-a-sketch meme, and simply unlikable. Pierce clearly reveals this reality about Rmoney in his characterization of the “Champion of the Proletariat.”

As Pierce also observed,

This is now a sleek, edgeless machine and, at its heart, is a sleek, edgeless, but altogether genuine, carnivore. At odd moments, Romney sounds very much like Richard Nixon without the latter's merry carnival of lifetime neuroses. (Romney, in fact, unlike his father, is very much the kind of Republican Nixon once wanted to be — vicious and wealthy.) For example, at one point in last night’s speech, after he'd assured all those moms and pops on food stamps that he was on their side, he told them of their dark future if the president is re-elected:

With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society. This president is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He's asking us to accept that Washington knows best — and can provide all.

We will have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society.

That passage is pure Nixon, when it is not pure Glenn Beck. (We’re back to “czars” again?) Massachusetts did not “cease to be a free-enterprise society” when he passed his health-care plan there. (He can look at my insurance bill if he’s still unclear about that.) But because he has rolled so powerfully to the nomination, he can say pretty much anything at this point because the power of his campaign now far outweighs the truth of his words. There once again is a rising sense of inevitability about him, and he is most comfortable with that. There is nothing light or casual about what he's doing. He sees a property worth buying, and he’s in it for the kill.

Quoting Paul Krugman (New York Times), “Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are?”

In the interim, the GOP right wing nuts leave an American populace with the choice of their extremism versus non-extreme ideas and policies.

For instance, the right wing nuts, in perpetuating a falsehood,  deny that President Obama is a Christian, which is a convenient falsehood they intend to use as a false rationalization for voting against Obama.

In the same breath, they also do not consider Romney to be a Christian, because he is a Mormon. However, in the case of Rmoney, they conveniently rationalize his non-Christianity as being a non-issue for them.

It is also notable that the right wing nuts as a whole share a strange sort of twisted logic that they intend to vote against the POTUS, but not for Rmoney. They same goes for their illogical rationalizations, which allows them to conveniently pretend that Obama is a communist or socialist, and that he is not even a U.S. citizen.

Their outrageous extremisms and falsehoods, while outrageously shocking are admittedly also outrageously funny at times too.

One would have thought that the right wing nuts would have found a candidate that they actually wanted as their choice for the U.S. presidency, rather than their wing nut logic of now employing a strategy of simply voting against President Obama. But, then again, the right wing nuts often belie common sense.

It perhaps for these reasons, and many other reasons, with each passing day the now emboldened right wing nuts, while in denial of non-extreme ideas and policies, seem to become even more extreme and nuttier.

In the end, as for Willard Mitt Romney, the jury is still out on who he is, and what he stands for, although it a certainty that he is the champion for neither a struggling American middle class, nor the less fortunate.

This is because everything that we have come to know about the real Romney, with leaks of information here and there, leads us to believe that he will be the champion of Wall Street and corporations, rather than the average American or real Americans.

For now and perhaps forever, for the average America or real Americans, Willard Mitt Romney remains simply out of touch with the lives of average Americans.


See also The Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rmoney’s (Romney) Vague and Ambiguous Republican Party Script – The Old is New, Again

By M. Ulric Killion

Hunstman 2012

Photo Source: “Jon Huntsman is critical of his party and Republican candidates' foreign policy stances”, Jon Huntsman Criticizes Republican Party, Compares Actions To Communist China, Huffington Post, April 22, 2012.

Recently, former Republican Party (GOP) candidate Jon Huntsman (former U.S. Ambassador to China under President Barack Obama) made an interesting comparison between the American Republican Party and China’s political system.

In criticism of the Republican Party and its GOP candidates, as the Huffington Post reported, Huntsman was “comparing the Republican Party to communist China and questioning the strength of this year’s presidential field.”

He strongly criticized the GOP for some of its flaws. According to the Huffington Post, when doing so Huntsman cites the following recent example,

During an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Huntsman spoke candidly about his party’s flaws, lamenting the Republican National Committee’s decision to rescind an invitation to a major fundraising event after Huntsman called for a third-party candidate to enter the race.

“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” Huntsman said.

The analogy with China presents a strong critique of what is wrong with the present state of the Republic Party.

As many are aware, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) governs China or the People’s Republic of China. Granted, there are about eight other independent political parties in China. The other so-called independent political parties, however, must tow the line or, borrowing from Huntsman’s characterization, they cannot “talk off script.”

This is because the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (i.e., China’s Constitution or Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xianfa) actually vested the CCP with the power to govern. For instance, an excerpt from the Preamble of China’s Constitution reads,

This Constitution, in legal form . . . it is the fundamental law of the state and has supreme authority. The people of all nationalities, all state organs, the armed forces, all political and public organizations and all enterprises and institutions in the country must take the Constitution as the basic stand of conduct, and they have the duty to uphold the dignity of the Constitution and ensure its implementation.

Then there is Article 5 of China’s Constitution, which reads, “the People’s Republic of China governs the country according to law and makes it a socialist country ruled by law.”

A direct consequence in theory, practice, and ideology is that the CCP selects members of China’s national legislature, rather than by process of a national election.

There are admittedly local elections for local officials or office holders. However, this is not the same as a democratically-elected legislature.

As mentioned in an earlier writing,

A distinguishing and much-criticized characteristic of China’s one-party model of democracy, socialist democracy or “proletariat democracy” is that neither national leaders (i.e., president, vice-president, etc), nor members of the National People’s Congress (“NPC”) are subject to election to office by an electorate (i.e., the casting of votes by ordinary citizens).

In China, it presents an issue of whether there is, in fact, suffrage or universal suffrage.

It is sad and presents a crisis in American politics, especially for the American Republican Party and that those hailing themselves as Republicans and/or Republican Party candidates for political office.

This is largely due to the reality that Republican Party candidates that continue to talk “on script” arguably challenge the Western democratic ideal (i.e., from Athenian democracy, to modern democracy or democratic forms of government).

Huntsman offered a clear example of this danger, as reported by the Huffington Post, in his call “for a third-party candidate to enter the race.”

As Huntsman rightly observed,

Huntsman also spoke on Sunday about his presidential candidacy, revealing that he was less than impressed by his fellow candidates when he attended his first debate in August.

“Is this the best we could do?” Huntsman said he asked himself.


“Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff,” Huntsman said during the February interview with MSNBC that got him disinvited from the RNC fundraiser. “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.”

This is a prefect example of how to construct an institution that will deny and defy all new ideas, innovations or solutions to problems.

4-24-2012 2-14-53 AM

Photo Source: Amanda Terkel, Sarah Steelman, Missouri GOP Senate Candidate, ‘Not Sure’ What Violence Against Women Act Is, Huffington Post, April 23, 2012.

Then there is, though indirectly, the more recent example of not being able to “talk off script” by the Missouri GOP U.S. Senate candidate, Sarah Steelman. On the issue of the “war on women,” Steelman was questioned about the pending women’s violence act that Republicans are challenging. First, and extremely difficult to believe, she answered – “I’m not sure what that is…”

Caitlin Legacki, spokesperson for the Missouri Democratic Party, took issue with her answer, especially how it “underscores how ill-equipped [Steelman] is to serve in public office.” Subsequently, Steelman, in response, issued a statement clarifying that “the candidate is open to the Republican version of the law’s reauthorization.”

First, Steelman, her support for a Republication version that Republicans are supposedly working on notwithstanding, issued a statement that first addressed the issue of the “war on women,”

“Everyday, President Obama and Senator McCaskill are making it harder for working mothers and women of all ages to find a good paying job. They continue to dictate to our families how they should live, stripping them of opportunities and freedom,” said Steelman.

Then Steelman added that “the Senate Democrats are making the current re-authorization of Violence Against Women bill into a political football.” It is notable that she now knows the full name of the law and the Republican Party script or  Republican-message of economic doom for women.

If ever there was an exemplary instance of avoidance behavior, Steelman’s response is clearly such an example. This is because, as a woman, she is either clueless or in denial of the real issues characterizing the Republican Party’s assault on the rights of women or their “war on women.”

It is appalling that Steelman is either clueless or in denial of the real issues, which are women’s rights, the right to equal pay for women, fair employment rights, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, contraception, the Blunt Amendment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood, birth control, and other issues that affect the lives of women.

But then again, maybe she simply does not know the names of these acts, especially the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.


Photo Source: Willard Mitt Romney and Paul Krugman, Huffington Post, April 24, 2012; See also Paul Krugman, The Amnesia Candidate, The Opinion Pages - New York Times, April 22, 2012.

Then in a broader context of “talking on script,” there is the Republican Party and its GOP sure to be nominee, Willard Mitt Romney, and his handlers. Willard is leading the charge with his economic doom message. When the economy was earlier struggling more so than now, according to Willard, President Obama is doing nothing to aid economic growth, but when the economy was clearly showing upward momentum, he said President Obama is not doing enough.

In answer to our problems, the fact that running a government is not the same as running a business notwithstanding, Romney wants to present the image of the savvy businessman that knows how to create jobs. His  answers, however, are vague generalities about what he going to do.

As Paul Krugman recently writes, “Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.”

There are exceptions, of course, because it is clear that Willard intends to cut taxes for the wealthy; keep the credits (or subsidies) for “Big Oil”; increase spending for the Pentagon; rid the nation of entitlement programs such as the Department of Education, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare; and get rid of those pesky federal regulations governing Wall Street, “Big Oil”, and environmental concerns; and get rid of Planned Parenthood.

None of which will promote economic growth.

One reasonably suspects that Romney’s economic plan, especially given the lack of details forthcoming from him, will be a standardized-version of the Republican Party economics that got us into the current economic crisis we have been facing. In other words, Willard will stay on script.

It is noteworthy that Steelman also stayed “on script.” It was obvious because when asked about an important issue concerning women’s rights (i.e., domestic violence), after regrouping she gave the stand pat Republician Party economic doom message or script. Steelman talked about women getting a job, but not about equal pay for women (i.e., the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act).

In truth, and contrary to the economic doom message of Republicans and Romney, the American economy is showing upward movement. As Fareed Zakaria recently wrote,

A new poll in the United States shows that Americans are still deeply frustrated at the slow pace of the economic recovery.  That’s understandable. Unemployment stays stubbornly high.  But I was just in Europe, and they think America is booming.

Consider this: the U.S. economy is on track to grow between 2 and 3 percent this year.  In Europe, by contrast, half the eurozone economies are going to actually shrink this year and not one major European country will grow over 1 percent….

And, most importantly, for now, it needs to stop imposing austerity in a depressed economy and learn from something from the example across the Atlantic.  Two or 2.5 percent growth might not look so great in America, but it a lot better than negative 0.3 percent, which is the current estimate for the eurozone’s economic growth.

Additionally, the Obama administration inherited the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis or 2008 global financial crisis from the Bush administration. Moreover, despite the Republican Party economic doom message or Republican Party script of economic doom, as seen from those abroad, the U.S. economy is now making a come back. As Zakaria writes, from a European perspective, “American is booming.”

In this respect, the Republican Party script promotes false perceptions about the possibility of a quick recovery. While many economists are still debating whether the 2008 global financial crisis is structural in nature and thereby predicting long term recovery, the Republican Party script stays steadfast to a false economic doom message.

The Republican Party and Rmoney (Romney) will admit neither that the onset of the financial is in 2008, nor that the financial crisis occurs during the presidency of George W. Bush. For Republican Party and Republican Party candidates, it is also noticeable that keeping on script entails never mentioning the name of their former president, George W. Bush.

By staying on script, despite the hazards that Republicans are encountering, as boldly asserted by Huntsman, “Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff.” In other words, the Republican Party script, as earlier mentioned, denies and defies new ideas, innovations or solutions to problems.

What the Republic Party script offers an unsuspecting American populace is a big spoon full of the same economic policies that were the cause of the 2008 global financial crisis.

When playing the devil’s advocate, if there is anything conceivably new in the Republican Party script, it can only be attributable to the saying that – the old is new again.

In the end, the Republican script is about old Republican Party economics, and an earlier failed trickle down economics, which is hardly a real solution to real problems.

>>See also the recent article by Paul Krugman, which follows.


“The Amnesia Candidate”

By Paul Krugman*

The Opinion Pages – New York Times, April 22, 2012

Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.

But the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right — but not in the way he intended.

First of all, many reporters quickly noted a point that Mr. Romney somehow failed to mention: George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?

Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So the Ohio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.

How does the campaign deal with people who point out the awkward reality that all of the “Obama” job losses took place before any Obama policies had taken effect? The fallback argument — which was rolled out when reporters asked about the factory closure — is that even though Mr. Obama inherited a deeply troubled economy, he should have fixed it by now. That factory is still closed, said a Romney adviser, because of the failure of Obama policies “to really get this economy going again.”

Actually, that factory would probably still be closed even if the economy had done better — drywall is mainly used in new houses, and while the economy may be coming back, the Bush-era housing bubble isn’t.

But Mr. Romney’s poor choice of a factory for his photo-op aside, I guess accusing Mr. Obama of not doing enough to promote recovery is a better argument than blaming him for the effects of Bush policies. However, it’s not much better, since Mr. Romney is essentially advocating a return to those very same Bush policies. And he’s hoping that you don’t remember how badly those policies worked.

For the Bush era didn’t just end in catastrophe; it started off badly, too. Yes, Mr. Obama’s jobs record has been disappointing — but it has been unambiguously better than Mr. Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration.

This is especially true if you focus on private-sector jobs. Overall employment in the Obama years has been held back by mass layoffs of schoolteachers and other state and local government employees. But private-sector employment has recovered almost all the ground lost in the administration’s early months. That compares favorably with the Bush era: as of March 2004, private employment was still 2.4 million below its level when Mr. Bush took office.

Oh, and where have those mass layoffs of schoolteachers been taking place? Largely in states controlled by the G.O.P.: 70 percent of public job losses have been either in Texas or in states where Republicans recently took control.

Which brings me to another aspect of the amnesia campaign: Mr. Romney wants you to attribute all of the shortfalls in economic policy since 2009 (and some that happened in 2008) to the man in the White House, and forget both the role of Republican-controlled state governments and the fact that Mr. Obama has faced scorched-earth political opposition since his first day in office. Basically, the G.O.P. has blocked the administration’s efforts to the maximum extent possible, then turned around and blamed the administration for not doing enough.

So am I saying that Mr. Obama did everything he could, and that everything would have been fine if he hadn’t faced political opposition? By no means. Even given the political constraints, the administration did less than it could and should have in 2009, especially on housing. Furthermore, Mr. Obama was an active participant in Washington’s destructive “pivot” away from jobs to a focus on deficit reduction.

And the administration has suffered repeatedly from complacency — taking a few months of good news as an excuse to rest on its laurels rather than hammering home the need for more action. It did that in 2010, it did it in 2011, and to a certain extent it has been doing the same thing this year too. So there is a valid critique one can make of the administration’s handling of the economy.

But that’s not the critique Mr. Romney is making. Instead, he’s basically attacking Mr. Obama for not acting as if George Bush had been given a third term. Are the American people — and perhaps more to the point, the news media — forgetful enough for that attack to work? I guess we’ll find out.

*Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. . . .

The Amnesia Candidate – NY Times


See also Republican Conundrum

All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.