November 26, 2012 By Jack Jodell
Need I say more?
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! This year, as you are enjoying the companionship of family and friends, and are sitting down to an exquisite meal of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, green beans, carrots, jello, cranberries, pumpkin pie, cookies, and whatever else you may be feasting on, be thankful for all you have, and ESPECIALLY be thankful that you are NOT employed by the very greedy and heartless Hostess Company! For, the 18,000 employees of that wretched company have been badly ripped off and are facing immediate loss of employment just before Christmas due to the extreme mismanagement and self-centered greed of their executive officers! In the annals of corporate greed, this example definitely stands near the very top in terms of its blatant cruelty!
Take a look at what I have posted below. I thank Jerry Critter at Critter’s Crap (http://critterscrap.blogspot.com/) for forwarding the link to me. It appeared in the November 20 blogpost of the fine blog Ramblings (http://ramblings-fran.blogspot.com/2012/11/hostess-is-serving-up-lies.html). Then, PHONE the Hostess Company at 1-972-4500 , ask for eithe CEO Gregory F. Rayburn, CFO / Executive Vice President John Stewart, or whomever may be taking their calls, and TELL them how OUTRAGED you are by their vicious and heartless behavior! Be sure to also write an angry letter to those greedy sons of bitches at The Hostess Company, 6031 Connection Drive, Irving, TX 75039. They can be reached by Fax at 1-972-892-7694. Jerks like these need to hear firsthand from we workers and consumers that the days of corporate exploitation and bullying are rapidly and deservedly coming to a close! The horrible Hostess Company has simply gone way too far, and they must feel the public’s wrath!
November 21,2012 By Jack Jodell
The defeated Republican Party’s two major remaining neocons, Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsay Graham (SC) have recently been involved in a ruthless and cynical attack campaign focused on our current Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. These bitterly partisan Old Guard dinosaurs have been using the very competent Ms. Rice as a proxy to attack the newly re-elected President Obama, and it is a disgusting ploy.
Susan Rice, the presumed heir-apparent to outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been criticized for remarks she made on various TV news programs immediately following the tragic September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Libyan consulate in Benghazi. This attack killed our Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans. As our UN Ambassador, it was right for her to comment, and she did so with a balanced and nuanced statement, taking into account the background as to what may have contributed to the incident. But because she didn’t overwhelmingly and immediately blame it on al Qaeda terrorists, she is being pilloried unmercifully by these mean-spirited neocons. Naturally, the very biased Fox “News” crew has enthusiastically jumped on this bandwagon, as all of these extremists are grabbing at any straw they think will somehow mysteriously link the Obama administration to some sort of sordid Libyan coverup.
That John McCain should be at the center of all of this must surprise nobody. For, ever since his deserved massive electoral defeat by Obama in the 2008 election, he has hated the President and has looked for every opportunity he can to criticize or oppose him. Such pettiness is unbecoming of a U.S. Senator. It also shows how frightfully unbalanced McCain has become over the years. Beginning with his ludicrous “bomb, bomb, bomb – bomb, bomb Iran” quip in early 2008, to his selection of the woefully underqualified Sarah Palin to be his runn9ing mate later that year, to his current pledge to block the appointment of Ms. Rice to be Secretary of State by any means necessary, this man is proving himself to be not only erratic, but dangerously unhinged as well!
McCain has long had great praise for former Bush-era Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even though THAT Ms. Rice proved herself to be asleep at the wheel when she was National Security Advisor during the devastating 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. This calls to question his credibility as a reliable and viable defense spokesman today.
There is another reason this bitter old man may be objecting so strenuously to the prospect of a Secretary of State Susan Rice. There is reason to believe that the cynical McCain may be attempting to force President Obama to withdraw her name to instead put current Massachusetts Senator John Kerry into contention for the post. Kerry would easily win approval, which would create a vacancy in the Senate which the recently defeated yet popular Republican Scott Brown could possibly win in two more years. The Republicans have been smarting over the defeat of Brown by Elizabeth Warren and this, of course, would bolster the Republican Party’s chances to pick up one additional Senate seat rather effortlessly.
Regardless, John McCain’s nasty attempt to deny Susan Rice her chance of becoming Secretary of State should and must be thwarted. In her current position, she was confirmed by unanimous consent, and with good reason: a brilliant Rhodes Scholar, she served in the Clinton administration nobly in a variety pf international-oriented posts. Her grasp on foreign affairs is unquestionably sound. She, like Hillary Rodham Clinton before her, will prove to be a superb Secretary of State. For McCain and other neocons to deny her would equate to a shameful, unnecessary, unjustified modern-day political lynching!
November 19, 2012 By Jack Jodell
The Hostess Company closed its doors for good on Friday, meaning that popular American products like Hostess Twinkies, Hostess CupCakes, Hostess Ho Hos, Hostess Ding Dongs, and even Wonder Bread will soon dusappear completely from the nation’s supermarket, gas station, and convenience store shelves. I fondly remember free-standing racks of this snack cake line from my early childhood. I believe for many years, the Twinkies and CupCakes were sold side by side, 2 pieces per cellophane-wrapped package, for a mere 12 cents. Though never particularly nutritious, both Wonder Bread and those vanilla creme-filled Hostess sanack cakes adorned countless millions of American school lunch boxes over a great many decades. Now, barring an unlikely resurrection by one or more other baking companies, they will soon vanish completely, to be relegated to our misty, nostalgic memory banks.
Hostess blamed a strike by its bakers union for its troubles, but the real reason was the company’s failure to keep up with the latest product marketing trends. For example, the company was very slow to introduce a healthier, more nutritious line of products, and when it did, was extremely limited and conservative in its marketing efforts. I remember as a child the Wonder Bread slogan of “Helps Build Strong Bodies 12 Ways!” being repeated endlessly in national TV ads and print media, but in recent years, advertising and promotions for the entire product line all but dried up. Undoubtedly, the current strike had its impact on the company, but once again, its workers were made the scapegoat, as last year, despite having declared bankruptcy in 2009, the companiy’s board of directors approved pay increases of a whopping 80% for themselves! Now 18,000 of its workers will permanently lose their jobs, and American consumers will sadly lose the opportunity to buy a number of much-beloved products. Perhaps had these parties been a bit more keen to put some of these monies into a solid strategic marketing program, this collapse could have been avoided altogether!
These products, many of which had their origins as early as the 1920s, will simply cease to exist in the United States. Many will still be available in Canada, and perhaps even Mexico, under differing licensing arrangements. Let us hope that some enterprising American baking company will take a stab at resurrecting some of these American icons, or that Hostess / Wonder delivery truck will vanish from the roads of this country forever!
The once-solid Republican Party is now locked in what will prove to be a bitter civil war between its reactionary Tea Party wing and its merely ultra-conservative wing. GOOD! The longer and more severely they fight among themselves, the better off the majority of the country will be! For, even in unity, this wretched party only really represented the interests of a minority of this nation: huge corporations, the wealthiest 1%, and a delusional cult of naive economic wannabes. The aberrant nature of the party’s midterm election victory in 2010, plus their ignorant refusal to accept basic fact (caused by their overreliance on the heavily-slanted Fox “News” and ridiculously skewed public opinion polls leading up to their November 6 election defeat) lulled this wretched party into a distorted sense of false security, overconfidence, and arrogant smugness. They are now paying dearly for this mistake!
The GOP has been shellshocked by the reelection of President Obama and their failure to capture control of the U.S. Senate. Normal non-deluded people understand the folly of such crazy Republican beliefs: after two solid years of John Boehner campaigning on the importance of creating new jobs and then turning around and blocking numerous presidential and/or Democratic Party attempts to pass a jobs creation bill, the GOP was deservedly slapped hard for its reliance on obstruction and stalling rather than delivering what they had been promising. For some unexplained reason, these foolish Republicans can’t understand that Americans are FED UP with paying rigidly partisan morons like Eric Cantor more than $174,000 apiece to merely sit around and do NOTHING each year, especially in this time of great need, growing wealth disparity, and shrinking economic opportunity for everyday workers! By a 2 to 1 margin, voters favor an end to the ridiculous Bush tax cuts for the rich, and are angry that the GOP has steadfastly refused to enact fairer, higher taxes on the wealthy. While constantly clamoring about the dangers of our staggering national debt (and feigning great concern for what it will hold for our future descendants), these Republicans have fought any raise in taxes of any kind, especially increases targeting the wealthy. Self-centered and totally mistaken trust-funder Grover Norquist has seen to that! They lie to us and tell us new, higher taxes on the rich will hurt the so-called “job creators” and add to unemployment. How do we know this is a lie? Obviously, because the massive tax reductions given to the rich since 2001 have produced the slowest rate of job growth since the Great Depression of 1929!
After said depression, labor unions were legalized and were able to collectively bargain on behalf of workers. The middle and upper classes began to grow tremendously. Demand for goods and services skyrocketed as a result, and the nation’s prosperity began a strong and sustained surge. Marred only by occasional 1 or 2 year mild recessions, this growth spurt in production, efficiency, and prosperity continued for well over 40 years.There can be no denying that this “demand-side” approach to our economy yielded great gains across the board. By the mid-1970s, this growth began to slow due to a number of unforseen factors. Hit by rapidly rising energy costs (caused by the formation of OPEC and rampant speculative greed here at home), business owners began to feel the pinch of rising prices. They worried that high domestic labor costs were making American-made goods less competitive across the globe, so they began making bold and drastoc anti-labor moves. First they all but destroyed labor unions in private enterprise. Wheras from the 1930s onward, clerks, manufacturing workers, printers, miners, auto workers, tradesmen of all sorts, and even cooks and servers were unionized and earning a livable wage with good benefits, by the 1990s, many of these unions and the jobs they protected were gone. In some cases greedy business owners had them decertified; in other cases, the jobs themselves became increasingly outsourced to cheaper, slave-wage labor markets outside of our borders.
Beginning with the Reagan presidency in 1981, some conservative economists began advocating what they termed “supply-side” economics. Rather than giving workers good wages to increase demand for goods and raise production, misguided economists like Milton Friedman, fearful of inflation, began pushing for reduced taxes, especially on big businesses and the very wealthy, and holding the line on labor’s wages. They believed this to be the ideal way to spur job creation and foster growth. Carried to an extreme, as many greedy capitalists soon did, this philosophy has proven to be devastating to American workers and the poor! Labor unions all but disappeared in the private sector; benefit packages were reduced or even eliminated; and a three decade-long freezing and/or decline in workers’ wages was the result. Outsourcing became rampant, and finally, demand for goods fell, as workers could no longer afford to buy them. Alongside these new “supply-side” ideas came the call for greatly reduced regulation of big business. Though initiated mainly by conservative Republicans, many Democrats also fell sway to this notion. The primary results from this course have been disastrous – rampant greed and speculation on Wall Street and mortgage banking – which in large part caused the recent Great Recession. We are still struggling to emerge from this latest downturn, and many have suffered needlessly due to this.
The Republicans played a heavy hand in bringing about all of this resultant market chaos. Their steady refusal to raise taxes (especially on the rich), even in the face of mounting record fiscal deficits, has deservedly worked against them. They are correctly no longer being viewed as the party of fiscal responsibility. In fact, they have come to be known as the party of and for solely the rich. Their recent economic stances have proven them to be out of touch with the general public, and even unfit for governance. This does not bode well for them ever being able to again capture control of the White House or Congress!
Regrettably, many reactionary and bitterly partisan Republican neocons remain in Congress, notably Paul Ryan, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, nd the nastiest and most uncompromising one of all, Mitch McConnell. We progressives must fight their obstructionist attempts tooth and nail, until they are defeated or retired.
At long last, though, some key Republicans have shown signs that they are beginning to question and may even buck some of the party’s long-held convictions. Influential GOP commentator Bill Kristol, for example, has publicly stated that the proposed 3.6% tax increase on the highest salaries would have minimal effect on the economy, but would help reduce the deficit. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal sharply criticized loser Mitt Romney for his divisive post-election comments as to why Obama won the election. Numerous other Republicans have chimed in too, with varying degrees of support for some kind of revenue increases. These all represent the first cracks in the formerly solid Republican wall of opposition to any form of bipartusan cooperation, and they are hopeful signs which must be encouraged!
November 12, 2012 By Jack Jodell
Like most non-deluded, centrist, liberal/progressive Americans, I was delighted to see Mitt Romney and the conservative Republican agenda go down to defeat on election night. It reaffirmed what I have maintained all along: that the massive Republican/Tea Party victory in 2010 was an aberration. I knew that, when the larger number of voters went to the polls in a presidential election (as opposed to the far-fewer voters which typically show up in off-year or midterm elections), many of the extremist, far-right crackpots would be voted out of office. Whenever the more sensible majority of voters cast their ballots, the crackpots nearly always lose. That is why the mean-spirited and defiant deadbeat dad Joe Walsh was defeated by 10 percentage points and the argumentative, crazy ideologue Allen West went down as well, even though both were the recipients of a huge amount of far-right political action committee secretive campaign funds. There are, after all, a few standards one must adhere to in order to be worthy of being on the public payroll, and both od these men failed to meet these standards, according to voters.
I laughed uproariously when I heard the news that Mitt Romney and a number of other high-ranking congressional Republicans were “shellshocked” that they had been defeated in their quest for the presidency and control of the Senate. How ignorant could these people be to think that they could easily saunter into the White House and total control of Congress on the “strength” of outdated and harmfully failed economic ideas, or taking anti-women and anti-Hispanic stances? Then I realized the horrible mistake they made: they had been ignorantly listening solely to the endless echo-chamber provided by the heavily biased far-right Fox “News” channel, and had virtually ignored all other legitimate media resources. Indeed, Romney himself steadfastly refused to give any media interviews for the final 27 days of the campaign! Such haughty arrogance (or was it fear?) certainly did not work out in his favor!
Perhaps the biggest losers of all on election night were those billionaires who set up and/or donated to secretive, far-right political action committees like Karl Rove’s notorious American Crossroads. The cocky Rove was dumbfounded to discover how failed his nefarious effort was, in that his effort to defeat the President and elect far-right Republicans to Congress yielded only a paltry 1.29% success rate among the electorate. In fact, fellow traveler and big blowhard Donald Trump termed it “a waste of money.” Likewise, the notorious Koch brothers were deservedly stymied in their multi-million dollar attempt to defeat Obama and secure a pliable, completely bought-out Republican congressional majority. But the biggest loser of all was the cantankerous old anti-labor Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson, who dumped an estimated $100 million of his own fortune and countless millions from others into his failed Winning Our Future Super-PAC, which failed to win anything substantial whatsoever. Though these attempts by the filthy rich to buy the 2012 elections met with failure, don’t delude yourself for a minute that they will easily give up. For the wealthy HATE being denied what they really want, and they will not disappear easily. They will try again and again, refining and changing their tactics repeatedly, until they are forced by US, THE VOTING PUBLIC, to cease this sordid effort!
There are many looming crises in the road ahead. Oil interests are still aiming to force through potentially environmentally dangerous gas pipelines, and the push for nuclear energy, despite all its serious dangers and drawbacks, is once again on the rise. Climate change, as well as atmospheric and water pollution, is a reality we must tackle IMMEDIATELY! Labor unions will continue to be attacked and weakened. Reactionary Republicans will resist any effort to raise taxes on the super-rich, will resist any attempt to reduce our growing wealth disparity, and will instead attempt to impose austerity measures here at home which will devastate the poor, elderly, and disabled. They will attempt to deceive us by telling us this is necessary to reduce our debt. We progressives must remain ever vigilant and resist these reactionary attempts to turn our economic and social clocks backward. Though we have won the battle of the election of 2012, we must persevere and win the all-out class WAR these backward-looking fools have been engaging us in!
That is our great post-election challenge, and we MUST NOT FAIL!
November 7, 2012 By Jack Jodell
The U.S. voting public rejected a number of elements in Tuesday night’s election. First and foremost, they rejected the Romney / Ryan Republican presidential ticket, handing the presidency back to Barack Obama for one more term. They rejected the Romney “visions” of a much-weakened federal government and that, to create jobs, taxes must be lowered again on an already far-too-UNDERtaxed wealthiest 2% of all income-takers. They also rejected Paul Ryan’s utterly preposterous notion that the misguided, pro-wealthy and anti-government hypocrite Ayn Rand had somehow been correct all along with her assertion that the rich must be rewarded heavily and must not be impeded by government in any manner, shape, or form. Americans also rejected the very idea that fabulously wealthy and self-centered jerks like the notorious anti-labor Las Vegas magnate Sheldon Adelson should be able to buy politicians and influence elections by contributing unrestricted MILLIONS to political campaigns. This arrogant man truly deserves the migraine he undoubtedly woke up with this first post-election morning, when he realized he had spent those millions totally in vain! The same holds true for the dastardly Karl Rove and the nasty Koch brothers, all of whom believe that billionaires should and must control the American government! In essence, Americans definitely rejected the outlandish Romney and activist Extreme Court belief that “corporations are people too” and that their excessive political donations somehow represented their “right” to free speech and must therefore not be subject to regulation! In fact, the average voter was thoroughly disgusted with, and rejected the way this election disintegrated into an unnecessary 18-month spectacle of non-stop primaries whose main purpose was obviously to load the corporate media’s much-bloated pockets up with even more advertising cash!
This, too, was a public outcry which rejected the oft-quoted and very errant conservative Republican assertion that “government isn’t the solution – gpvernment is the problem.” Even conservative Republican politicians like New Jersey governor Chris Christie proved the fallacy of such a statement when he gratefully sought and received Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) aid following the devastation othat Hurricane Sandy had wrought on his state! It also showed that Americans strongly rejected fanatically-extremist, far-right reactionary attempts to end or radically alter such time-tested and beloved New Deal and post-New Deal institutions as the Minimum Wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous others as well! It also demonstrated the American displeasure with the near-austerity measures Ryan had previously proposed in his unpassed federal budget.
Mostly, though, these election results can best be viewed as where voters rejected Romney himself: his extreme and deliberate use of the LIE as a political tool, in which he indulged himself nearly constantly! They also rejected his lust for power and his willingness to say or do virtually anything in an effort to obtain that power. For, while Americans expect a certain level of immodest boastfulness or even occasional hyperbole coming from their preferred candidate’s campaign, they nonetheless demand that their President be reliable and a person they feel they can trust. On this level, Romney failed miserably. For he refused to release 9 years of his tax returns (even though his own father had released 12 back in his unsuccessful presidential bid in 1968, and even though Romney had demanded that his running mate release 10 of his own!). Worse than that, one of the missing returns was from 2009, where there is strong evidence that Romney and his wife profited off of taxpayers to the tune of $15 MILLION by first buying auto parts supplier Delphi’s depressed stock at an extremely low price and then demanding that Delphi’s parts be sold back to the newly-bailed out General Motors at a much higher price! American voters were therefore justified to reject such a man, who profited immensely from exporting American jobs through his practiced use of vulture capitalism and who also maintains secret, overseas bank accounts! So goodbye to Mitt Romney, who should never have qualified as a serious contender in the first place!
American voters rejected a number of other minor party presidential candidates as well, relegating them rightly or wrongly to a mere and insignificant non-spoiler status. They rejected the far-right Tea Party kooks like deadbeat dad Joe Walsh and apparently the wacky Allen West in favor of more moderate Democrats. As of this writing, Tea Party candidate Chip Cravaack has been rejected after only one undistinguished term in the House, and the notorious batshit crazy Michele Bachmann, also a Tea Party darling, was deadlocked in the political battle of her life against her Democratic challenger, Jim Graves. Voters also apparently rejected Tea Party attempts to take control of the Senate by deservedly denying extremists like Todd Akin, Josh Mandel, Linda McMahon, and Richard Murdock the chance to serve. Voters definitely rejected Tea Party / Republican efforts to obstruct legislation this past Congress and sent an undeniable message of their disgust with this tactic. Finally, voters overwhelmingly rejected the cynical conservative Republican effort to make this election be one dominated primarily by white, backward-looking, uncooperative males. The near-record level of females elected to the Senate and Hispanics elected to the House is ample proof of that.
While neither side can claim anything close to a mandate from this election, it is abundantly clear that the American public has rejected obstructionism and now wants this next Congress to behave responsibly, act civilly toward each other, and get down to enacting practical and beneficial legislation like infrastructure modernization and development for the people they are supposed to be serving!