Friday, October 14, 2011

Plan 9-9-9 From Outer Space

Since today seems to be National Pile On Herman Cain Day, I thought I would join the fray before this latest in a long line of fake Republican candidates implodes and Mitt Romney is crowned the winner and makes Ambien obsolete.

Today is the day that Paul Krugman wrote that the thought of a Herman Cain presidency "terrifies" him. And to think it was only a few months ago that Michele Bachmann was terrifying everybody with her imminent accession to the White House in the new Theocracy of America. It was only last week that editorialists were warning of Rick Perry Armageddon. Before that, it was Donald Trump casino-izing and birtherizing and overcombing the world. And Sarah Palin was primed to put her manicured red fingernail on the Big Red Button. 

The Republican cavalcade of lunatics is an infinity of mirror images, each one more grotesque than the last.  They have served their purpose by deflecting attention away from what passes for government in Washington. Liberal pundits in general and MSNBC in particular have used their public arenas to shoot fish in a barrel every single day to save them the trouble of thinking, and to make the failure that is Obama look good.

What will happen when only Mitt Romney is left standing, and Lawrence O'Donnell can't open every show with ridiculing the latest Gingrichism and spending hours every week waxing shocked at Michele Bachmann's crazoid utterances? Gail Collins will be reduced to repeating her dog-on-the-roof Romneyisms without the comic relief of Ron Paul. The weekly game shows known as the Republican Debates will come to a crashing halt. Whatever will the punditocracy talk about then?

The inconvenient truth is that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are mirror images of each other. Each panders to his supposed base.  Each is a right-of-center fiscal conservative.  Their insurance company giveaway health plans are identical. No matter who is elected, each man would serve as apparatchik of Bush's Fourth Term.  

But back to the Hermanator. It's a lazy Friday, so I'll just add my voice to the thousands of others in saying his 9-9-9 Tax Plan is a joke. It seems to have been stolen from a video game called Sims City 4. It will crush the lower classes. It has no basis in reality. Even Cain can't explain it. But this week he's at the top of the polls. So the Serious People are pretending to take him seriously aimply because he is so seriously nuts and might be the next president! Seriously!

Now Playing. Limited Engagement Only.


Justice Network said...

Herman Cain is given a free ride in the media as the pizza mogul or some other friendly moniker, but the mainstream press usually fails to mention that Cain served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1995-1996, deputy from 1992-1994, and Chairman (Omaha Branch board 1989-91). Cain is a smart guy with a compelling background, but anyone who served as Chairman of a Federal Reserve Bank branch is an insider. Cain was also a civil employee of the US Navy, a mathematician in ballistics. It’s all on Cain’s Wikipedia page .

As for the 9-9-9 plan, it would disproportionally tax the poor, working, and middle class, while cutting taxes on the top 1 percent. About what you would expect from a former Fed branch chairman.

9-9-9 is more like 6-6-6, Mark of the Beast

Neil Gillespie

Anonymous said...

I was trying to figure out why KC Fed sounded so familiar... Hoenig, maybe? But I got stuck on the Central Africa story. Whoever said you should never get in a land war in Asia forgot to clarify: "and especially when you might get bogged in a police action in Central Africa."

James F Traynor said...

Jeez! A Clarence Thomas with brains. But there have been a lot of them in our history. Some of them even owned slaves in Louisiana - in the good old days.

Kat said...

I think the cavalcade of clowns serve to make Obama look reasonable. The same way The Wall Street Journal serves to make the NYT look creditable.

Anonymous said...

Credit where due:
The WSJ did some great reporting on the bank bailout and the financial crisis, even under Murdoch. They've also shone, at various times, a harsh spotlight on Goldman Sachs. Their blog section has some real morsels that you won't find in the NYTimes.
WSJ editorial has always been distinct from its reporting, even if the strength of that reporting waned under Murdoch.

Valerie said...

I agree with Kat and Karen on this. The Republican dog and pony show is so farcical that I have frequently wondered if its only real purpose was to make Republican Obama look reasonable to middle of the roaders and to scare the Angry Left into supporting him despite his perfidy. And the last part has worked. If the Republicans weren't so over the top, maybe more “Pragmatic” Progressives would join us in our demand for a better choice.

Cain may be smart in terms of raw IQ but he is a joke. And there is such a racist element within the Republican Party; he would never get the nomination.

eaveltri said...

I have been a fan of this web site for quite a while. Karen’s two main themes of her essay appear to be that the plans of all the Republican “contestants” for their nomination are absurd. I couldn’t agree more with this first theme. The second theme appears to be that Obama is only marginally (if any) better than Romney and that both are lackeys of the corporate aristocracy that runs Amerika and most of the rest of the world. I also couldn’t agree more with this point.
Further point is that although there are some real true progressives in congress and the senate they are definitely outnumbered by those that have been bought out by the system- which appears to be almost totally corrupt. Significantly none of them with the exception of Bernie Sanders has stated that a challenge to Barack would be a good thing. And apparently although he sees this as a possibly good idea he isn’t willing to throw his hat into the ring. Also the media, as Karen implies and has said in other essays is also owned by the corporatocracy. This begs the question, so what is there to do. Or what can be done, if anything? Maybe nothing? Just move along citizen and do your little thing and keep your mouth closed, thank you very much?
I think not. Perhaps the most encouraging thing that is being done is happening across the U.S. and Many other cities in the world; and that is Occupy Wall Street. I am sending a little money to those brave people and to a few progressives who I believe are the real thing not Trojan horses like Barry. I am doing this I believe that what is at stake is civil liberties, freedom of thought and speech and the tradition of western civilization itself.
Corporations love to do business in the PRC. Why, well because the wages there are small compared with the rest of the “first” world and freedom, liberty and civil rights aren’t understood and aren’t part of their cultural tradition. So the work force is not only low paid but quite obedient. Do we want to live like that or not? I think not.
Free trade is not a good idea; Fair trade is a good idea. Free trade is not a good idea for the people of America or for those of the rest of the world. It is only good for the corporate bosses who keep accumulating a larger share of the GDP. Some argue that this is not sustainable. I hope they are right but I am not so sure. Cameras and security are becoming more a more omnipresent. The government can spy on phone conversations, the internet, your bank deposits, etc. Technology is becoming more and more advanced. Technology allows the corporatocracy to have greater control. Some people say pick up your pitch forks. Well, first pitchforks are not as available as they once were and the technology makes rebellion perhaps all but impossible. Perhaps what is occurring at OWS is the best hope for saving the traditions of western civilization

Justice Network said...

9-9-9 has already helped Cain, it raised his media profile considerably. The plan is a joke. But people desperate for a quick fix will embrace gimmicky solutions, which appeal to less sophisticated voters. A better plan might be a widespread chapter 7-11-13 bankruptcy for people and small businesses, one that would include student loan debt. A widespread debt jubilee.

Last night on the PBS News Hour Mark Shields noted "If Herman Cain is 9-9-9, Rick Perry is drill, drill, drill." David Brooks criticized 9-9-9:

"DAVID BROOKS: People are not going to like the 9-9-9 plan when they get to it. I like the idea. It has a consumption tax."

"But if you are a middle-income earner, the 9-9-9 plan raises your taxes 32 percent. That's just not going to fly. But that's not what they are reacting to. He's -- as we have spoken about, he's a nice guy. He's a smart guy. He is a very dramatic guy. He's happy."

"And he's not a normal politician. And, you know, I tend to think it has more to do with the season. And Mark has talked about this in the past. In primary season, you go for the fun. And then you go for the guy you like. And I think we are in the fun season, and he is certainly a fun guy to watch."


"The inconvenient truth is that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are mirror images of each other. Each panders to his supposed base. Each is a right-of-center fiscal conservative. Their insurance company giveaway health plans are identical. No matter who is elected, each man would serve as apparatchik of Bush's Fourth Term." Great observation. I would add Romney seems the more competent of the two. Romney has implemented his ideas to a greater extent, both as Gov. of Massachusetts, where he (gasp) taxed business to balance the budget, brought near-universal healthcare to the state, and took over the 2002 Winter Olympics and made it a (corporate) success. And Romney was a successful hedge fund/Wall Streeter vs. Obama the community organizer, which experience doesn’t seem to translate much to the presidency.

Neil Gillespie

Anonymous said...

The only response to Cain's 9-9-9 plan should be

Justice Network said...


Excellent observations. America is now a dictatorship. A corporate dictatorship. The president is just the dictator’s proxy. It doesn’t matter who is elected. Who are we kidding with this election?

I recommend watching the Book TV Afterwords program with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith as they discuss "The Dictators Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics". The website intro states "New York University politics professors explained how autocrats and dictators are able to maintain power by doing whatever is necessary to please the coalition that would help continue their regime." The parallels to our situation are scary.

You asked what can be done, if anything. Our corporate dictator must be removed, overthrown. Pitchforks are old technology. Consumer default is the new pitchfork. If people stop paying their bills, the whole stinking system will collapse.

The next question, as in all revolutions, what comes after? Revolution is the (relatively) easy part. What kind of government will replace the corporate dictator?

Neil Gillespie

Anne Lavoie said...


Nihao! I too think Occupy is our only hope of changing this corrupt system. None of us knows where it will lead, but we do know where this country (and world) is going if we don't do anything. We have no choice.

The bright spot in all of this to me is that we have brothers and sisters all over the world who feel the same way. That is momentous and movementous.

Ok, sing along with me. 'When the Moon is in the Seventh House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars..' I am hoping we are finally at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, being of that sign myself, not that I necessarily believe. But given that Aquarius/Uranus is a rebellious sign representing chaos, disruption, and upheaval, you have to wonder!


Will said...

I believe more and more Pragmatic Progressives (a.k.a. "PragProgs" in the vernacular of @Sister Mary Mean) will be joining us as the OWS movement continues to spread like wildfire throughout the US and around the globe. (Australia! Tokyo!)

Even the praggiest PragProg can no longer deny that something BIG is happening here. We don't need "friends" like Barry anymore. Good-bye and good riddance.

Anne Lavoie said...


Welcome back, Will.

Good riddance to Barry is right. I would like Emperor Obama impeached for a whole list of illegalities, convicted, and removed NOW. He has set more dangerous precedents regarding executive authority than anyone in our lifetimes and it looks like they will stand. He has established the foundations for a dictatorship.

And now our Nobel Peace Prize winning President is taking us into yet ANOTHER war, in Uganda, while seriously threatening Iran with war. I have lost count of all the countries in which we are involved in war. We the People said we wanted the wars to end, but we just keep getting more and more of them.

I have a feeling that Obama and his corporate sponsors are probably yearning for something BIG and BOLD, like an addict that needs more and more drug to feel the high.

Can anyone honestly even associate the word 'Peace' with this guy? Our imperious, imperial Obama seems addicted to whatever rush he gets from ordering and directing wars. He makes Bush look like a dove.

Oligarchs love war, and he loves them. A marriage made in Hell.

James F Traynor said...

Gutted from within by the DLC, the Clintons and now Obama the Democratic Party has ceased to be a reasonable alternative to the Republicans. OWS is our only hope and it's a dim one. I think there will be serious violence within the next few years. Without the presence of union bodies moving in with OWS friday morning it would have already begun, but Bloomberg pulled back.

Joe Nocera compared our current situation with the 1930s and so has, I'm sure, the capitalists; they won't allow another FDR. American capitalists have not sought a modus vivendi with the 99% as have those of Europe and, lately, South America. They want it all.

Valerie said...

This is a great interview with one of the founders of the Tea Party movement. He sounds like a reasonable guy - someone I think we “pink dogs” could sit down with and have a pow-wow. I maintain, as several do on this blog, that we have a lot more in common with some middle class Tea Party members (not the screaming ninnies) and reasonable conservatives than we do with the Corporate Democrats. This guy was very supportive of the Occupy Wall Street protesters and had some really good advice for them. Very interesting how the MSM, including people like Nick Kristoff (who I like) keep saying the OWS needs to get” on message” - Yet, this guy says not making a list of specific demands is better. I maintain the overall message is we want a middle class republic (as opposed to a corporate republic) and that is good enough for now.

I attended Occupy Melbourne which seemed to have a few smaller protests throughout the city. The one I attended, purely out of convenience, had a focus on getting Israel out of Palestine. The protest was very small - far more police than protesters - and I watched people join the group and then walk away. It was too specific and unless this was a person's BIG issue, it wasn't enough to draw people to the cause. The second thing I noticed was the attendees sat and listened to speakers. There was no mixing with the crowd and discussing why they were there. I tried to get a couple of conversations going with people who had signs and they weren't interested in talking. I think one of the strengths about the OWS movement is people are sharing their opinions and discussing issues. People who stop by out of curiosity are drawn into the protest because they can get someone to engage with them.

I am also quite encouraged by the police behaviour in Occupy Cleveland. From what I am reading, the police there GET that the protesters are there for them too. As a matter of fact, when it started to rain and the kids needed tents, several police officers dropped of their own personal tents for the kids to use. I hope the cops in other cities will see this and choose to emulate the strategy of the Cleveland police force.

I don't share your reservations about this movement and its place in history. I believe we are seeing a turning point. Either the corporations will use the government and the security state to crush this movement and we will all know where we stand in terms of a corporate dictatorship of America. Or it is not too late and we, the Middle Class, will be able to make our voices heard and turn our country around.I think it is significant that Bloomberg backed down on throwing the protesters out. And I like that the unions joined the kids in not backing down.

I can only encourage everyone who can attend to show up. Middle Class, middle aged people lend legitimacy to a movement. I noticed that my husband, daughter and I were one of the few families and middle aged people in attendance and a lot of the people walking away, looked like us.

Your idea to staple a bunch of tea bags to your hat is utterly brilliant. If I were still living in the States, I would have attended the Occupy Seattle protest in a similar disguise! I can’t wait for you to report back!

I hope you are right. I hope that many progressive yellow dogs will be encouraged to jump ship, join us and demand more of thier party.

Valerie (again) said...

My husband just heard on Australian news that the Obama administration has announced that BP will be allowed to bid on oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. - Once again proving whose side he is on.

I have been scouring the Internet for video footage on the protests since getting back to Adelaide. I am so impressed at how restrained these protesters are - and brilliant! As one guy took one for the team and was slugged in the face by a police officer in NY, the crowd chanted, "The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!" And it is. The protests were all over the news in Australia last night and they frequently referred to Occupy Wall Street.

I keep trying to follow what was initially called the People’s Protest in Washington D.C. Are they now calling themselves Occupy DC? Or have the two groups melded together?

Anne Lavoie said...

My 'Occupy Kalispell' Report.

I went to the closest location of an Occupy event and we had a surprisingly big turnout for such a small city, and for our first time. I brought a bunch of extra signs that I had made for my Honkathon, and spontaneous joiners picked them up and carried them.

We had a great reaction from passers by, with enthusiastic waving and horn blowing. We did get the finger from time to time from noisy pickup trucks. That's to be expected.

I opted to dress up rather than dress down, so I didn't put teabags on my hat this time. I will be going back next week though. This time I wore a long crinkle skirt and a black beret. Dark glasses were my disguise. I wanted to give the impression of us being a respectable group, not knowing who else might show up.

I had two minor disappointments. One was that there were hardly any younger people there - I could count them on one hand, or maybe two. Also, people seemed to be focused on Wall St. exclusively but not on the other half of the equation, namely, our sold out politicians. But that will come. My signs definitely carried that message.

This event appeared to be organized by the local Democratic Party judging by the people I recognized. There was no visible police presence, probably thanks to a local Democratic leader who said she gave them advance notice. They also know her from the many anti-war protests which were peaceful.

Hopefully the word will spread and the youth will get involved next week. Someone needs to bring drums!

James F Traynor said...

I hope I'm wrong.

Suzan said...

Herman Cain is owned by the Koch Bros., and don't be fooled by his origins and Fed jobs. They've always loved tokens (see Clarence Thomas, whom we were told was also "brilliant" at his confirmation vote).

Cain's plan doesn't have to make sense. It only has to be big enough, simple and easily repeatable - Goebbels.

When I tell supporters of the flat tax what it really means for them (all lower class), they are shocked as they had no idea that flat didn't mean fair.

We have a long way to go to reeducate the US voter/citizen.




Anne Lavoie said...

Karen's #60 comment to Kristof's 'America's Primal Scream' in today's NYT was absolutely great! Thanks once again Karen.

Will said...

Looks like another minor mix-up in need of a quick and easy correction. Valerie meant me when she addressed you. She hopes I'm right about more and more yellow dogs joining us in support of Occupy, and we all hope you're wrong that its prospects for success are dim. Of course, only time will tell, but it sure feels good to stand up for ourselves for a change.

Thank you very much for the warm welcome back, but I didn't really go anywhere. When you, Valerie, Jay, Karen and the rest of the Garcia Brigade are on a roll, I just sit back and enjoy the show!

One question, though: Where's Denis? I really miss his posts.

Kat said...

I'm a moron. Meant to write "credible" rather than "creditable" for the NYT (although neither adjective accurately describes that paper).
You are correct that every once in a while even in the Murdoch era real reporting does get printed on the pages of the WSJ. There used to be a lot more though!
I still think their book features are more interesting than the NYT. Here is the WSJ review of Tom Friedman's latest masterpiece

Hilarious, even if I don't necessarily agree with the last few paragraphs.

@Anne: we should arrange an occupier swap-- could've used more old folks at our event.
Age diversity is good thing.

@Valerie: Thaks for the Tea party link. Very interesting.

@Karen: Great letters today. I don't usually read Nicholas "we need more sweatshops" Kristof but had to read it today as Anne mentioned your comment. I could not believe that he wrote political and legal inequality is not really a problem here!
Your response to Friedman is just what I would've written if I could write and I wasn't lazy. Usually, when it comes to Friedman, I just feel like commenting STFU and calling it a day.

Karen Garcia said...

I have been wondering about Denis and his literary quotes too. Don't have a personal email address to inquire. I always worry when people fall off the radar.

Thanks for your compliments on my Times comments.

We had an OccupyNewPaltz in front of Chase Bank yesterday. That is so funny, because this town has been "occupied" for decades. Our mayor was arrested for civil disobedience a few years ago. Glad the spirit if spreading worldwide.

Valerie said...

@James - Sorry about the mix-up and @Will - thanks for catching my mistake.

I read that the mayor of Seattle told the protesters if they were kicked out of Westlake Park, they should feel free to camp in front of City Hall where they wouldn't encounter park curfew hours. Don't you just love these local progressive politicians supporting the protests?