What Mitt Romney’s Wealthy Supporters Really Think

On her way to a $50,000 a plate Romney fundraiser in the Hamptons, this is what one supporter had to say (from the Los Angeles Times):

Romney needs to do a better job connecting.Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. We’ve got the message, but my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.

TED Talk On Taxes Too Hot For TED

Nick Hanauer gave this TED talk based on his column for Bloomberg View reevaluating the conventional wisdom on taxation and job creation. TED is refusing to post this talk until after the election. However, it available here thanks to the speaker. The relationship between the tax structure and unemployment is important for society to understand, and we welcome this contribution to the debate.  

Satire: Customer Service

Ring.

Hello, Romneytron 2012 Customer Service. “Believe in America.” How may I help you?

Hi, I just voted for the Romneytron 2012 but I am not sure its empathy circuit is acting right.

What do you mean?

It is saying all sorts of strange things like: “I like to fire people who provide services to me” and “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” It even strapped its dog to the roof of the car for a twelve-hour road trip and shows no sign of remorse.

More after the jump.

It sounds like it is stuck in “Tea Party mode”. Have you tried resetting it?

That’s what I thought. I called earlier when the Romneytron locked up the nomination and your colleague Eric Fehrnstrom said “It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”


Did that help?

Not really. It turns out the Romneytron assaulted a student who he suspected of being gay, forced him to the ground and clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. And now he shows no regret for having committed a hate crime.

I don’t know what you customers want. You said the Romneytron 2001 was too French. You said the Romneytron 2002 was too pro-Choice. You said the Romneytron 2008 wasn’t conservative enough. There is no way to satisfy you people.

What ever happened to “The customer is always right?” I just want a leader who cares about my problems and will take my side.

Click.

I love being able to hang up on people.

The New Republican Hagaddah

Satire originally posted in the Huffington Post

— Steve Sheffey

Jewish history is littered with sects, groups of people kind of like Jews who celebrate the same holidays and have many of the same customs, yet are somehow different.

Today’s sect is known as “Jewish Republicans,” few in number but very loud. Like most Jews, they celebrate Pesach, but they’ve got their own Haggadah. The differences between their Haggadah and ours are instructive.

Kadeish קדש
Urchatz ורחץ
After drinking the first cup of wine, most Jews wash their hands, but the Republicans stay seated and wait for the water to trickle down.

Karpas כרפס
Most Jews then eat a green vegetable, but the Republican Haggadah follows the ruling of Rabbi Reagan that ketchup qualifies as a vegetable. Ketchup is not green, but green is the last thing any Republican would want to be. (Reagan does have this in common with Moses: Neither ever set foot in the land of Israel.)

Yachatz יחץ
Next, we break the middle of the three matzot. Most Jews break the middle matzah into two roughly equal pieces, replacing the smaller piece on the Seder plate and hiding the larger piece as the afikoman. The Republican Haggadah asks the leader (or in Republican parlance, the Seder CEO) to keep 99 percent of the matzah for himself and let the other participants share the remaining 1 percent.

Maggid מגיד
The Torah speaks of four sons, but the Republican Haggadah speaks of four candidates:

  • The simple candidate (Santorum),
  • the wicked candidate (Paul),
  • the candidate who does not know how to answer (Romney), and
  • the simple candidate who thinks he’s the wise candidate (Gingrich).

They have no wise candidates.

The highlight of the Republican Haggadah is its version of “Dayenu” — “it would have been enough.” The Republican motto when it comes to President Obama is “nothing is enough” — no matter how much President Obama does for Israel, it’s never enough for some of our Republican friends:

President Obama has called for the removal of Syrian President Assad.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama ordered the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has done more than any other president to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama increased security assistance to Israel to record levels.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama boycotted Durban II and Durban III.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has taken U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama cast his only veto in the U.N. against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama opposed the Goldstone Report.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama immediately intervened to rescue Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama gave orders to give Israel “whatever it needs” to put out the Carmel fire.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama maintained the U.S. policy of ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear weapons.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has repeatedly condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama pulled out of joint exercises with Turkey after Turkey excluded Israel.

But that’s not enough.

There’s probably nothing President Obama can do to convince some Republicans that he’s pro-Israel. If President Obama split the Sea of Reeds and walked through it dry-shod, they’d accuse him of not being able to swim. They made their mind up before he was elected that he could not be trusted and they ignore everything that contradicts their biases.

The ultimate message of the real Haggadah is hope (sound familiar?). Let’s hope that just as the vast majority of American Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2008, the vast majority of us will remember who we are and what we value and vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012.

Will Someone Tell Mitt That Losing Your Job Is Not Funny

Romney was campaigning today in Wisconsin and tried to inject a little humor into his stump speech in order to show how “down to earth” a guy he really is before their primary next Tuesday.

One of most humorous I think relates to my father.
You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors… They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign… So every time they would start playing ‘On, Wisconsin, On, Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin.

Audio follows the jump.

Mitt’s Man Cave, Bat Cave, or Underground Bunker? Your call.

In May 2008, Mitt Romney bought the fifth of his six homes for $12,000,000. This beachfront home at 311 Dunemere Drive in La Jolla, California features its own “sandy beach, a quiet cul-de-sac location, spacious oceanfront deck, numerous patio areas with manicured lawns and mature landscaping.”

The Wall Street Journal now reports that Romney up-grading his beach house, more than doubling its size giving him an additional 3,600 square feet of space underground.

Tony Crisafi, one of the project’s architects, declined to comment on Mr. Romney’s motivations but says that these days, most of his clients want to be discreet about the scale of their home, and one way to do that is “by pushing things underground.”

So what do you think Mitt is planning to build underground? His own “man cave”? A “bat cave” with hi-tech superhero equipment? An Olympic swimming pool? An underground bunker to use as a West Coast version of Camp David? Your guess is as good as mine!

From the “new poor” to “Free Time” and a Free Society

— by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Many people have urged that synagogues, churches, mosques make sure they know who among their members need help – and make sure they get it. That requires explicit public statements from clergy, board members, etc., that no one who has been disemployed or had their home taken away, etc., is at fault, and all should let the clergyperson or a Board member know they are in trouble.

More after the jump.
Many of us in the last generation — whether we thought of ourselves as members of religious, racial, and sexual minorities or thought of ourselves as members of “the majority” — affirmed the dignity of those minorities and worked to bring us/ them out of the ghetto or the back of the bus or the closet. Many of us in this generation have worked to end the pariahdom of other minorities — “them” and “us” — in vandalized mosques or violated barrios. Just so we must bring the new poor and the old poor — all/both “them” and “us” — out of the shame and hiding often imposed upon us/them.

Every congregation should have a special fund — ideally funded on a sliding scale where rich congregants give a lot and even the poorest some tiny contribution – to help people in need.

Every congregation should have in place channels for the flow of goods, money, and service — for example, gemachs (grass-roots assistance funds for sharing money, or goods like food, special clothing, home appliances, loans, home health care, etc.; the word is an acronym of Gemilut chassadim, the Hebrew for “acts of loving-kindness”).

And in every congregation, it should be clear policy that no one who cannot afford school fees, etc., will be denied congregational services.

This kind of congregational action is necessary —  but not sufficient.

Every congregation should also recognize and affirm that to meet society-wide economic disaster, there must be society-wide action.

Clergy should urge congregants to create committees to examine and recommend what social change is necessary. Clergy must set the tone by making absolutely clear that “social action” committees must address “social activism” and advocacy, not only “charity.”

They must make clear that Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism all require passionate compassion. Pursuing “spiritual highs” for the affluent while others “lose” their jobs and homes, their knowledge, their skills, and their dignity, is not an acceptable religious path.

“Social activism” for what?

Already many educators, journalists, politicians, activists have made clear one important path: Move swiftly toward greater economic equality; reduce the power of global corporations; increase taxes on the 1% wealthiest; invest in our rotting infrastructure, our wounded Earth, our disintegrating education.

I think this basic approach is valuable. And I want to propose we also pursue another path – also, not instead. A path far less discussed:

Laws to require a shorter work week and shorter work days, intended to meet four crucial needs:

  • The need for income: instead of overworking some and disemploying some, full employment at living wages with livable hours: hiring more people to get the same amount of work done, thus meeting needs for shared prosperity;
  • The need for knowledge: making time for mid-life reeducation in new skills and new understanding of the world, so that in a swiftly changing economy and eco-system, people can actually know how to do honorable work that needs to be done, instead of falling into permanent “unskill.”
  • The need for real democracy:revitalizing citizen activism by providing the time for grass-roots political action (instead of leaving politics in the hands of giant corporations and ultra-rich billionaires, manipulating the mass media).
  • The need for love: providing more free time for family, neighborliness, artistic creativity, and spiritual/ religious life.

Why do we need to do this? The new technology (computers, etc) has increased “productivity”: fewer people can get the same amount of work done in less time.

There would have been several ways to benefit from this advance:

One would have been to reduce work hours, keep the same number of people working, redirect the new technology into healing the ecosystems it was damaging, and keep business profits on an even keel.

Another was to fire hundreds of thousands of people, pillage the Earth, and channel the benefits of greater “productivity” to corporate profits.

The first way would have strengthened democracy, human dignity, and the web of life on our planet; the second way has radically weakened all three.

The Shalom Center will be pursuing the approach we call Free Time for a Free Society.

To achieve it will take a redirection of ideas and efforts by labor unions, religious communities, middle-sized and small businesses, teachers and social workers.

If you want to work with us toward this vision, let us know! And if you want to help us carry this work forward, please gift The Shalom Center with a tax-deductible donation. Thanks!

With blessings on your own work toward justice and healing — Arthur