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  • October 10th, 2012

The Big Bird Hunter

                By Joel M. Vance

Finally Mitt Romney has gotten specific.  He has been pressed for weeks on how he would pay for an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut and now we know.  When Herbert Hoover was running for President, he promised “a chicken in every pot.”

                Mitt does not promise even the pot which middle class Americans will find they don’t have either to cook the chicken or do anything else in it under the Romney/Ryan hatchet job.  No, Mitt has only one chicken in mind—Big Bird whom he singled out specifically for execution in the first Presidential debate.

                “I like Big Bird,” he told moderator Jim Lehrer.  “I even like you,” he said to the anchor of Public Broadcasting System’s “Evening Report.”  But the man who “likes firing people” has Lehrer and Big Bird in his sights and that cut of less than one-hundredth of one percent of the cost of his overall tax plan is supposed to make us feel good—that he has the economy in hand.

                Lehrer, who used to drink beer with me at the fabled Shack in 1956 during our University of Missouri Journalism days, should have leaped from his moderator’s chair, charged the podium, shouting, “You clueless butthole!” but he’s too much a professional reporter for that.  And if Romney wins Jim may be out of a job after 47 years and the extreme right which hates PBS and National Public Radio because they don’t spew fanatic venom like their buddies at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News will have succeeded in stifling the only rational and inquisitive voices on television and radio.  Rush Limbaugh must be rubbing his grubby, porky hands in glee at the prospect.

                Lose PBS and you not only lose Sesame Street which has been educating the nation’s children for 43 years, but you lose the Ken Burns documentaries which have been educating the nation’s adults also for many years.  Kill off NPR and there goes Garrison Keillor and “A Prairie Home Companion” which is far funnier than any sitcom currently on the air.  An estimated 170 million people rely on PBS for education and entertainment.  Public funding makes up about 20 percent of the PBS budget and many rural stations could not air it without that help.  About three of every five kids under five is a Big Bird fan. 

                Romney says he will make cuts in spending to offset the estimated $5 trillion that his tax cut will cost.  But he pledges not to cut military spending (in fact raise it) and that leaves Social Security and Medicare as the two biggest ticket items where cuts could be made.  And who benefits most from those two?  The middle class, not Romney and his billionaire buddies who presumably will wind up paying no income tax (20 percent off the 14 percent Romney admits he pays kind of takes the tab below zero for Mitt & Co.).  I believe the term for these folks is “robber baron.”

                Without Medicare my wife and I would be on the street or dead.  Like most senior citizens we’ve had medical problems in recent years that, had Medicare not picked up almost all the expense, would have cost us everything and then some.   Ryan’s voucher system will not work.  To pay for the tax cut the vouchers would have to total far less than the current Medicare cost which means that those covered by the vouchers would have to pay the difference. They’d also have to pay for medicines falling in the so-called “donut hole” which has been closed by the Affordable Health Care Act.  Just today we got free flu shots, compliments of Medicare.  It was an instant savings of about $50.  Zillionaire Mitt can afford to pay $25 or more for his flu shots, but we’re many millions of dollars short of that luxury. 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic  National Committee, admittedly is a biased commentator, but it’s worth reading what she said about Mitt’s lying on health care: ‘At the debate, Mitt Romney looked the American public in the eye and said: “I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That’s part of my health care plan.’  His campaign quietly admitted afterwards that, no, it is not, in fact, a part of his health care plan.

“As a breast cancer survivor and someone living with a pre-existing condition, this statement was more personally offensive than any of his repeated promises to repeal Obamacare. This kind of say-anything dishonesty is typical from Mitt Romney and the Republicans.”

                My wife also is a breast cancer survivor and that Romney would lie about something so close to so many families makes me want to beat the crap out of him.  He is a lying scumbag, simple and pure, and anyone who votes for the lying piece of crap should suffer from a pre-existing condition that won’t be covered, thanks to their poster boy.

                We could begin to chop away big time at the national debt by ending all participation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fiscal equivalent of pounding sand down a rathole.  We could further cut spending by eliminating earmarks, subsidies to oil companies, subsidies to suspect crops like tobacco and other long-time identified unjustifiable expenditures.

                Politicians and political action committees are pouring a billion dollars or more into this campaign.  Think what that money could do if applied to crumbling infrastructure or poverty or education?  Yet Romney wants to kill school lunches, Pell grants and other programs that directly affect education….at the same time piously proclaiming how much he reveres education.  He’s a fraud, a liar and a plutocrat.  Ryan is just a gee-whizzy zealot.

                The hypocrisy of these guys is astonishing.  Their economic plan is the tired old “trickle down” philosophy which says that if you give all the money to the rich, they will dole it out to the poor.  It brings to mind visions of John D. Rockefeller scattering dimes to make the abject poor feel better.   Trickle down under  Reagan resulted in the biggest national debt to that time.  George W. Bush carried that on to take a large surplus into the biggest national debt to his time, one that we still are digging out from.  And now Romney/Ryan would like to pick up the baton and do it all over again, giving more money to the rich, meanwhile promising the credulous mob that Santa will be along any moment now.

                No one should believe this grim fairy tale.  The rich don’t share the wealth—they keep it.  Rockefeller scattered dimes but kept dollars.  It has ever been thus.  The Koch Brothers haven’t become billionaires by trickling down.  They spend their money instead to buy politicians who will do their bidding, like Romney/Ryan.  Sheldon Adelson, Romney’s biggest donor, is a gambling magnate, making his money through casinos worldwide that suck money often from folks who can’t afford to lose it. 

                Gambling is an addiction, often regarded as a sin.  How can the super pious Romney, who often mentions his Mormon tithing and faith, justify eagerly accepting money from a guy who preys on schlumps who can’t resist the lure of the cards and dice?   But then he also endorses the idea of marriage being between one man and one woman….when his forebears moved to Mexico so they could practice polygamy.  Doesn’t there seem to be a whiff of double standard here?

                How about the Romney party’s widespread attempts to suppress voting by making it tougher to vote (photo id’s, limited early voting).  These restrictions, not seen since the days of literacy tests and poll taxes are aimed at African Americans or Latinos, who are least likely to have a photo identification, or at the elderly who often no longer have a driver’s license.  Any other excuse (non-existent voter fraud) is purely a smoke screen and basically a reprehensible damn lie. 

                While it may have nothing to do with racial prejudice and more to do with simple dirty politics, it might be worth noting that the Mormon Church was notably cool if not hostile to black people until relatively recently.  Even after a longtime ban on black priesthood was rescinded in 1978, historians, including Mormons, have reported many instances of less than friendly treatment of black Mormons.  You’d think that Mormons, themselves victims of intolerance, often resulting in bloodshed, would be more agreeable to folks who’ve been in the same fix. 

                I keep hoping I’ve said the last word on Romney and can move on to other things, but then the mendacious Mormon does or says something else outrageous and we’re off again.  Let’s pray for better times and more pleasant subjects.

                Like anything……

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1 Comment

  1. Smitty

    October 11th, 2012 at 12:48 am


    It won’t be long now, Joel. Big Bird and the rest of us are gonna win this thing.

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