Posts tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Fred's birthday cake (Photo ©2012  by Leah A. Zeldes.)


Dear pals and other people, is that not one hellishly handsome birthday cake? It was delivered at Windycon, a gift from Malcolm Phifer, and the only thing that isn’t exactly right about it is that I won’t actually turn 93 until the 26th of this month. But better early than never is what I always say — or more accurately, I’ve never said it before, but now for the sake of gratitude for a kind thought I’ll say it loud and clear. Thank you, Malcolm!

In fact, I’ll go further than Malcolm or anyone at Windycon may have intended. I take this cake to be a testimonial to the fact that people who live a long time and don’t lose the ability to recognize bunkum when somebody tries to sell it to them deserve to be listened to now and then.

Me, for instance.

Through this blog and every other way I have to communicate an opinion, I’ve been urging you guys to sniff what the employees of the Koch brothers have been handing you before you swallow any of it. They spent fortune after fortune on TV ads and hired “commentators” to try to make you and the rest of the American people believe that tax cuts equal prosperity. That’s not true, and anybody who has tried to understand our country’s history knows it isn’t true.

One of the most prosperous periods our country ever had was in the years just after WWII. There were a lot of reasons for that prosperity, but cutting taxes wasn’t one of them. Our highest tax rate now is 30%. The highest tax rate then was three times that — 90%! — and the prosperity sailed on.

Does anybody really believe in such other fictions as that making drastic tax cuts for the extremely wealthy helps anyone but the same extremely wealthy? Can you imagine that Mrs. Romney would have tripped down the White House stairs to where her husband was chuckling over the latest Wall Street Journal and said, “Oh, darling, thank you for that new tax cut. Now I can afford that fourth Cadillac, and maybe you won’t have to put Detroit in bankruptcy!”


Well, it isn’t good form to kick people when they’re down, although with all that money I can’t feel real sorry for the man. It’s an enjoyable sport, but I’m going to turn to other subjects, including a few ideas that I’ve been turning over in my mind.

For instance, there are a few hundred people scattered around the world who get up early every morning to try to save some of our wildlife. They check the ground around every skyscraper to take away the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of bodies of songbirds that have committed suicide during the night by flying head-on into the banks of fiercely bright lights aimed at the sky in almost every tall building. (If the seekers are very lucky, they may find a few birds that can be saved.)

So what do we do about it? We (1) create a tax on high-up lighting above a certain brightness which (2) gets more expensive every year, thus giving landlords time to make changes to lower the tax, at the same time (3) making our cities less deadly to wildlife as well as (4) slowing down the yearly increase in burning oil, coal and natural gas to generate electricity that has been increasing the carbon loading on the atmosphere and currently getting worse every year, and — oh, yeah (5), giving our mayors, governors and presidents what they’ve all been looking for so desperately, something new to tax.

You’re welcome,


Vote Earth!


A few days ago I sent the blog staff a short message to print. It said that to vote for Republicans at this time is to vote for more and worse natural disasters. The message was short and, I fear, a bit cryptic, because areas all around us were losing power and time to vote is running out for everyone.

Now I would like to make clearer the case why voting this year for a Republican, any Republican, is equivalent to voting for global warming, and thus for more and bigger storms of all kinds.

First, there is no real doubt that global warming is real and that its cause is profligate burning of fossil fuels. Essentially everyone who has made a real study of the matter has been driven to that conclusion, including, I am sure, a substantial fraction of those in newsrooms, editorial offices, advertising agencies and others who are paid to lie about it.

Second, there will be a “tipping point” at some time in the fairly near future when the climate changes will become both irreversible and chronically catastrophic. It is on the date of this point that most of what disagreement there is among scientists shows up. My own opinion, which I cannot defend because there isn’t enough evidence to prove any particular date, is that we have at least five, and maybe twenty-five, years to start.

Prudence tells me that we shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get started. We may not have even five years. It’s even possible that it’s already too late to remedy the irrevocable tipping.

And what does party affiliation have to do with finding someone to take charge and begin real remedial action?

The Democratic Party was, a few administrations ago, the party of conservation. It can be again. Barack Obama has a despicable record in this department, but that may be due to a political belief that the forces arrayed against conservation were too strong to tackle head-on in the face of an election, and that if Obama’s political strength grew with public experience of Obamacare and other new factors, a second term might make serious changes possible not only in defeating global warming but perhaps even in cleaning up the worst excesses in banking, taxing income and other areas.

The Republican Party, on the other hand, cannot clean up any of those evils. In particular it cannot lead the nation away from dependence on fossil fuels. Oil, natural gas and coal simply own the Republican Party.

Further, it is not enough simply to re-elect Obama. If the Republicans in Congress continue to dominate the House they will continue to do their best to thwart the Democratic administration in every way possible. It’s what they do.

If you haven’t yet voted, then, my advice is:

Hold your nose and vote the straight Democratic ticket.

At least it is possible that they will do the right thing. With Romney and a Republican Congress it is not.

Second case:

“I already voted. What can I do now?”

There are two things. If you voted Republican, you can tell people you know who haven’t yet voted that you think you made a serious mistake.

And you can call any legislator you voted for and ask him what he plans to do about global warming.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were made homeless in the Great Depression, leading to precarious "Hoovervilles."

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were made homeless in the Great Depression, leading to precarious "Hoovervilles."

I remember The Depression pretty well, not only because I saw some of it with my own eyes (I was 11 in 1931) but because I did a lot of research on it for a book I never published. What you youngsters don’t know is that it came in two halves, like a football game.

First half was The Crash, in 1929. As the country was gradually beginning to try to get over that, along came the second half, around 1931. That’s when European banks began to fail, and the contagion spread to American banks, so that when Franklin D. Roosevelt got elected in 1932, America’s banks were going bust so fast that the first thing he did after he was sworn was issue an executive order for a national bank holiday so teams of examiners could see which ones were about to fold, and keep them closed until they could be shored up. Or if they couldn’t, they would at least pay back part of what they owed their depositors. That was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as getting nothing, and the banks that stayed open had the confidence of their depositors, because the weak sisters had been screened out.

If we do come to that over Europe’s present tawdry banking messes — it seems that their bankers aren’t any more honorable than our own — I think Obama, if re-elected, would do something like what Roosevelt did, with, I hope, similar results. Mitt Romney I do think likely to perform more like Herbert Hoover. That is, urge everybody to be calm and not make things worse, while he watched the banks go under, one by one.

Oh — and speaking of Europe’s banking scandals, one of the first things Romney did on arriving in London was to go to a fund-raising gathering of London bankers. A number of them appear to be implicated in the rate-fixing Libor scandal. As long as they’ll give him money, Romney doesn’t seem to care.

(By which, in this case, I mean Washington)

Clockwise from left: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.

Clockwise from left: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.

When Obama failed to get enough Democratic Senators to support his 2009 bill to join our country to the rest of the civilized world in reducing greenhouse emissions, he lost his chance of success for at least that season, because then the Republicans took Congress in 2010 and the whole Republican Party launched on a concerted drive to convince American voters that climate science was still speculative. (It isn’t. At least two dozen major scientific societies, from the American Geophysical Union to the Royal Meteorological Society (U.K.), support the consensual findings of a rising global temperature brought about by an increasing carbon burden from burning fossil fuels.)

And yet the candidates resolutely refuse to take a stand on an issue which seriously threatens the survival of many human beings. Not one of the four surviving Republican candidates has made this issue part of his platform. Only one, Newt Gingrich, has said anything at all on the subject, and that, after coming down forcefully on both sides of the subject at one time or another, was only, “I actually don’t know whether global warming is occurring.”

And onetime hopeful candidate Jon Huntsman, who started out his campaign with the statement, “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming,” is now supporting Romney, who is far less forthright.

You know what the really scary part is? It’s that the Republican primary voters have kept these know-nothing people   and no better informed ones   in the race to run the most powerful nation in the world.

Clockwise, from left: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.

Clockwise, from left: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.

Question: Who is the best of the four remaining Republican candidates?

Answer: There is no best of these four professional politicians.

None of them has proposed remedial action for, or even shown they know a problem exists with, the most serious problem we and the rest of the world faces, namely the mounting ferocity of weather disasters, caused primarily by global warming. Every one of them, to the extent that they have programs for the future at all, is on a track that will make the problem worse instead of ameliorating it.

Question: Did President Obama speak to these dangerously worsening weather problems in his State of the Union address?

Answer: No, but his options are still open. I do devoutly hope he will, once the election gets close.. He is the only remaining hope we have. If he doesn’t see the danger we are in, and propose measures to minimize it, then we have no hope for at least the next four years, and by four years from now it is very likely to be too late.