Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The secret is out. There is a Marxist in the Presidential race. She's just not on the Democratic ticket. The real Marxist is in the McCain camp, the Neiman Marxist adorned in that fetching $150,000 wardrobe.

Contrast that with say, Geri the nurse who can be outfitted in scrubs for just $10 for a hospital shift. The same $150,000 would outfit 15,000 RNs.

At the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee we've created our own fashion statement -- a new website that let's you imagine other ways the Republican Party, Sarah Palin and John McCain could have spent that $150,000.

In addition to the 15,000 scrubs, the same $150,000 would buy 15,000 chef coats, 5,769 painter's bibs, 5,000 police shirts, 4,687 auto mechanics' coveralls, 3,750 pilot uniforms, or 3,571 housekeeper uniforms. You know, all those working people McCain and Palin pretend to stand for.

Not bad for one month of threads. That's an annual clothing budget of $1.8 million, right up there in Richistan territory. That's the world described in the 2007 book by Wall Street Journal Wealth Report columnist Robert Frank, the land of people who buy 450-foot yachts or 60,000-square foot homes with built-in bowling alleys and 2,000-gallon aquariums.

Somehow Palin's shtick about being the "hockey mom" and the voice of "Joe Six Pack" rings a little hollow when you're strutting around in your $500 Cole Haan Boots swaddled in a $2,600 Valentino Jacket with your $865 Louis Vuitton handbag on your arm.

Dressing up Palin in her Neiman Marxist line doesn't quite square with the faux populism the McCain camp has been running out as the champion of Joe the Plumber. Indeed, the $10,000 devoted to two weeks of hair styling is more than the average Joe the plumber earns in two months.

Palin and McCain want us to believe they suddenly feel the pain of families crushed by un-payable bills. It's a harder sell when you're festooned in a jacket that would pay the entire winter heating bill for two Midwest families, or adorned with makeup that would pay for 224 mammograms, 651 flu shots, or provide 14 years worth of the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor for one patient.

Then again, maybe Palin is just aspiring to reach the lofty standards set by Cindy McCain, she of the 9 houses and 13 cars.

Cindy McCain, of course, earned her own Richistan spurs when she sashayed across the stage of the Republican convention last month in her own wardrobe estimated to ring up the cash registers at some $313,000. That includes her three-carat diamond earrings, four-strand pearl necklace, Chanel J12 White Ceramic watch, designer shoes, and her $3,000 Oscar de la Renta dress.

John McCain, in his effort to show empathy with the plight of those so long discarded and disdained in the Bush-McCain years, now says he wants to help families facing the foreclosure of their homes. Maybe he could start by auctioning off Cindy's GOP duds.

The Cindy McCain outfit by itself exceeds the median price of a house in Miami, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans, and St. Louis.

Or if they really want to impress those battleground states, they could use the price tag for Cindy McCain's outfit to buy two homes in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Columbia, Mo., Columbus, Oh., or Ocala, Fl.

Oh, go ahead. Splurge. For the same cash you could buy three houses, and really impress the voters, in Saginaw, Mi., South Bend or Ft. Wayne, In., Erie, Pa., or Akron, Toledo, or Youngstown, Oh.

You remember those towns. The same ones devastated by the tax breaks McCain and George Bush gave to corporations to ship the towns' jobs overseas, back before McCain suddenly converted to the people's hero.

Richistan is not a real place, it's a state of mind and wealth. Neiman Marxist isn't a store. Neiman Marcus is a store. And when you're wearing their $150,000 line, it's hard to pretend you're someone else.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If you think Ralph Hall still has his wits about him, you have to watch this video. Glenn Melancon is a great democrat and a smart, caring man. We need to dump Ralph Hall for STILL being a fan of all things Bush and Cheney.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How We Lost Our National Treasure

The Republican religion of "free" market capitalism, deregulation and a government dedicated to serving the interests of ruthless giant corporations, the greedy speculators and the super wealthy has failed. This year the Republican party put on numerous celebrations of Ronald Reagan's legacy. This week we taxpayers started getting the bills for that legacy. Now we are left with a bankrupt economy littered with failed banks, insurance companies and brokerage houses. In the Savings and Loan failures of the 1980's the bill was in the billions and it kept this country in a recession that lasted for at least two years.

The truth of that not to distant reality has been drowned out since then by the Republican lie machine. They told us it was essential that we deregulate Wall Street and let the free market solve all of our problems. Their candidates have preached to us like the converted that the free market was the only way to fix health care, Social Security, unemployment, inflation and even our failing environment. Because of the tenants of their free market religion over the past decade social programs have been cut to the bone, the minimum wage was not raised for ten years, even as the real value of those wages went down.

Privatization of countless federal agency services was an unfortunate result of this belief in the free market. One stark example of the wisdom of this approach is the case of Walter Reid Hospital's outpatient rehabilitation services for wounded veterans. The "Walter Reed Scandal" was nothing of the kind. Instead it was the private company (a Halliburton subsidiary) in charge of outpatient rehabilitation that failed our troops. Privatization of government services was a pillar of the Bush administration's management agenda that was declared in 2002. Given the ubiquity of this policy and the hundreds of government agencies involved we can safely assume that lucrative contracts have been channeled to Bush and Cheney cronies and that they have not been held accountable.

No matter how the details play out through the insider deals that are being made now without our consent, each of us will pay more in taxes and receive less in government services for many years to come. Deregulation always was an excuse to let insiders who payed off politicians get away with theft of our tax money. The Bailout was initially defeated for good reason. It's focus was in turning over the keys to the Treasury to Wall Street with little attention paid to the millions who struggle every day to stay in their homes. But it is unavoidable that we the taxpayers will have to pay in the end. Even with the bailout our economy is going to need the equivalent of the New Deal to have half a chance to recover.

The Republicans like Tom Delay took power through wedge issues, then converted lobbyists into ATM's for the cash that kept them in power so long. Because maintaining power became their singular goal they abandoned their legislative oversight responsibilities and focused on giving control of legislation to the lobbyists. In Reaganism terms this was completely reasonable. His acolytes, like John McCain, Phil Gramm, Tom Delay, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush turned deregulation into a science and a religion. Unfortunately, now that they have allowed Wall Street to plunder our economy through legal (deregulated) and illegal means we are broke and in monstrous debt.

And Reaganism won't die because of these results because the Republican marketing geniuses are already re-framing the issues as to cast blame on everyone else. Their propaganda machine (the mainstream media) is extremely efficient in manipulating the opinions of the general public. Our only hope is the application of knowledge gained through the alternative media in serious debate and militant advocacy of the truth. And I have no illusions that the Democratic Party is capable or willing to perform either task. We are the change we have been waiting for. It is up to each of us in our own ways to remember the crimes perpetrated by this regime and demand that truth overcome the fictions of the Republicans Party and it's Reagan religion.