Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clash of Political Ideologies: Why Bain Capital Matters?

Keywords or Terms: General Elections; White House; Mitt Romney; Barack Obama; Republican Party; Democratic Party; Individualism; Community Effort; Gaffe; Mayor Cory Booker; Bain Capital Record for Mitt Romney; Clash of Ideologies; Job Creator;  and, 2012 General Elections.

What is the state of campaign for the 2012 general elections? During the Republican Primary, Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party portrayed himself as the inevitable nominee; and, intuitively believed that he could run an ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ campaign to get himself into the White House as Mr. President. During the Republican primary, each Republican aspirant offered his own perception of what the 2012 campaign is supposed to be or is all about; and genuinely believed that each offered the best alternative to the present occupant of the White House oval office. The end of the Republican Party primary revealed that at least, none of the alternative aspirant, is better positioned to compete against President Obama. At most as perceived by Republican voters who somewhat deferred to Mitt Romney as the GOP’s best hope for the November 6, 20102 general contest, the contest is going to be tight; and, Mitt Romney has most money and a national campaign infrastructure that could give the present occupant of the White House, run for his money. 

Democrats and some Republican voters consider themselves opposed to Mitt Romney’s philosophy of where America should be going; or, what the 2012 general election must be about. Members of Tea Party faction in the Republican Party waged an open warfare against Mitt Romney’s candidacy; citing that he is hardly conservative enough. Democrats, out of principle and philosophy negate Mitt Romney’s advancement of being a job creator; partly because he has been out of the business of creating jobs for over a decade; and, some unsubstantiated claims from the presumptive Republican Party Nominee as a job creator while at Bain Capital, the alternative asset management firm. The gaffe from an attention grabbing surrogate of President Obama, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, on Meet the Press this weekend, highlighted a part of Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, the firm that advertises itself as always aligning its interests solely with its investors’ long-term objectives. Thus, going by the Philosophy of Bain Capital and records of Mitt Romney as the corporation’s CEO, it is not an aberration that President Obama’s campaign team wants American voters to consider the presumptive Republican nominee’s record while at the firm.

Every voter understands that this year’s general election has to be greater than whatever any of the two presumptive candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, might be conceiving as the best for the nation. But what does this mean? In traditional general elections, two major parties present their platform and ask voters to accept either platform as the best form of approach to move ahead for America. While each party’s flag bearer offers a choice of the way ahead by contemplative messages or advertisements; the candidates themselves attempt to highlight their individual accomplishments while in office either in the public or private sector, or both. While each candidate sometimes offers too rosy claims of their accomplishments, one or two of the presumptive candidates attempt to go beyond what is probably true about his candidacy and accomplishments. The challenge for voters is to pick that candidate; whose party’s platform and advertised accomplishments represent their individual interests and or position at the moment.  This is often a rather difficult task. Political campaigns in a general election are sometimes part illusion, and part reality; candidates offer so many convincing and sometimes contrary positions that make the voter confused and sometimes disillusioned; yet, he or she is left to make a choice. Often, the voter becomes flabbergasted by a candidate’s claim that they develop a hatred for the candidate and or his party’s position. To help the voter do a better job at picking the ideal candidate which closely represents their interest, the blog today will contemplate one issue of claim: the record of Mitt Romney while he was at Bain Capital, the equity investment firm. What is true about Mitt Romney’s claim as a job creator? What is the condition of the American Economy today? And, are we not better off today than we were four years ago?

Individualism or Community Effort Doctrine

Two main philosophies of choice or campaign messages are being offered to the voters for consideration in the upcoming general election. The first one- Mitt Romney’s rugged individualism thesis- partly vindicated by historical political American experience; and, probably partly by singular experience under another Republican President, Ronald Reagan. Romney’s argument is predicated under ideological conflict. The narrow sense that all Americans are gifted and each must make it on his or her own. That point is correct in a narrow sense: the ruggedness of individualism brought America successes; however, many of those successes will not have appreciated but for some government assistance – corporate or individual welfare! Mitt Romney fails to appreciate that many successes that you find in America takes root in government initial humongous expenditure, which many overlook; yet, are necessary for the kind of residual wealth which many claim are reasons of their individual effort and or success.  For example, the Internet began as a government program or project; today’s launching of a rocket into space by a private enterprise took its root in huge government investments into space odyssey; and some known wealth creation, only come out of the mercy of government continued patronage. As a matter of fact, there are some current wealth adduced to individuals in current dollar terms that are solely out of government subsidies or continued patronage.  The million dollar subsidy in the energy, agriculture and other industries are so integral to the wealth and successes of participants in those industries that it will be disingenuous to continue to claim that such successes come out of individualism or ruggedness of independent initiative of one American.

Mitt Romney’s wealth which has not been ascertained this current year, since he has refused to make public his tax filing, if properly scrutinized will have some of its roots in government subsidized programs or projects. The Internal Revenue Service exists to collect taxes; however, it is an entity that has returned money to many wealth creators; including Bain Capital. Wealth creation by all American Corporations are dependent on the security within the borders of this nation; including stability, maintained military arsenal and status; maintained international political relations, financing of many international bodies, including NATO;  where American government’s contributions cannot be underestimated. If many nation member of international bodies are giving accolades and deferments to USA for its huge contribution to the sustenance of many of their programs, how come individual Americans, living fat on taxpayers money in terms of subsidies, tax deferment and more, are claiming individual ruggedness as reason for their wealth and or success?

Mitt Romney’s claim as a job creator may be justified by some of his years as a CEO at Bain Capital; however, there are many testimonies that show that Romney’s claims are biased, since many, if not all of the said jobs created, were at the expense of other jobs lost by Americans. In effect, it is probably a zero sum game, since Bain Capital puts as his first goal and obligation, the long-term interests of it investors. Furthermore, since Bain Capital is a company that undertakes the dissolution of corporations or entities that it considers as inefficiently ran, no one knows the criteria used, except those within or affiliated with Bain Capital, in an effort to make profit. It is probably acceptable that the corporation would marginalize the interest of citizen A to benefit citizen B, in its way of doing business. Where then is the job created?  Effectively, Mitt Romney has to destroy some people’s jobs in order to create jobs for other people. No one can say, with all certainty and better estimates, that jobs destroyed by Bain Capital were replaced by other similar jobs and remuneration, in better efficient corporations. As a matter of fact, no one has proven beyond doubt that many of the private equity firms on Wall Street are making corporations more efficient or effective while maximizing wealth for their investors. Hence, Romney cannot clearly accentuate to himself or any corporation he has led, a net job creator logo or banner. That rugged individualism that he is espousing as the better route for America to take at this stage of our economic malaise or development, is at least suspect, if not completely dismissible, in light of the bouncing back of the American Economy after the recent recession.

Other less sensational claims have been adduced to Mitt Romney that will not be discussed here, as they are somewhat outrageous, outlandish and probably unrealistic. We acknowledge the following: the merits of Supply Side Economics; the demonizing of Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act, the credit for saving General Motors in restructuring - these are all but campaign propaganda. No objective American must be impressed by these claims. They are all but propaganda to help Mitt Romney’s candidacy in probably a tight-faced and closely contested general election. Unfortunately, vulnerable Americans with average ninth grade education may be impressed; however, if many of these people truly evaluate many of Romney's campaign messages of achievements, they will actually see Mitt Romney’s candidacy for what it is: a facade! Such is the world of political campaigns for the White House oval office sometimes!

The second model or philosophy advanced by President Obama: A community focused initiative, that we are all in the boat together and what affects one crew member, affects all on the boat. To paraphrase the President's words: "[Americans] value shared sacrifice! We have that shared optimism and belief in an America where hard work pays off and responsibility are rewarded, and anyone can make it if he or she tries – no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out." This thesis is also shared in America’s historical political experience; from social progressives, including the social justice and environmentalism doctrines. This philosophy is variously ingrained in Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism; Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. They are concepts that are hardly appreciated by conservatives; however, they are always ready to reap their rewards, either in terms of corporate welfare or tax refunds that they initially antagonized at their introduction by progressives on the floor of congress.

The manner of President Obama’s progressive doctrine offered in his campaign for a second term may succinctly be found in John F. Kennedy's definition of a liberal: "someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties – someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grips us.” The orthodoxy of this definition is probably grounded in how President Obama has administered this country in the past three and a half years; and, probably serves as the foundation of his future leadership if he wins a second term. From equal pay for equal work between men and women, to the revocation of Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military and most recently, the insinuation that LGBT community should have the same opportunity of marrying whomever they choose, just as heterosexual people are doing, President Obama has shown that he is dedicated to fairness and firmness is addressing many issues facing our nation. As unwholesome this philosophy or doctrine is to conservatives, it has served this nation well in the way Obama has led and must, to his credit, form the foundation of his first term accomplishments. From saving General Motors and jobs to killing America’s Number one enemy, Osama bin Laden, one can assertively say, liberalism of the Obama's administration has served the nation well on many fronts, including civil right's recognition for members of our nation who have felt left out of the promise of America. From flexibility in enforcement of some laws considered unconstitutional to consideration of immigration issue, where a minority group feels disenfranchised with respect to landed status with green cars or path to citizenship.

Deferring to President Obama' campaign team, the triumph of Bain Capital for its investors, is a bad omen for job creation. The flip side: What is good for workers is not necessarily good for equity firm investors. The unnavigable success and claims of Mitt Romney as a job creator, is at the expense of middle income earner's survival in modern day America. The raging debate on how to restore growth and prosperity in America cannot be absent of fairness, if we are to avoid similar protest of the Tea Party movement in the Republican Party. In the universe of investor capitalists, the welfare of other Americans is hardly much of a concern. The growing inequality and poverty in America, which President Obama sees partly as a result of inequity in opportunities, which he is also attempting to correct, is very much contrary to the positions of Mitt Romney and the Republicans, who subscribe to the concept of : everyman for himself, God for us all. The Republicans, through their nomination of Mitt Romney as their flag bearer fail to understand the pains of the middle income earners. Since the 2008 recession, this group has seen their income shrink far more than any other income group since the second world war, lost huge ratio of their retirement savings or nest egg, suffered humiliation from long-term unemployment, loss of mortgages and homes, high rate of divorces and marriage disillusions, all over what is happening in America's economy; and, where the nation is heading.

One can contrast Mitt Romney's position and or philosophy to that of President Obama's; and, one will come out  with several contentious positions; none of which will deny America's free market system is still alive; and calling for fairness and a human face in the market place. While individual autonomy is distinctive and encouraged in a free market economy, there is still room for everyone to come to the table of success and feel welcomed. Men and women who lost jobs under equity firms reorganization efforts, complain that there is hardly a shared sacrifice and success in in many equity firms' purported effort to make American Corporation efficient. Many equity firms leave their employees holding the bag after eradicating about ten percent of existing jobs prior to equity firms' buyouts. Romney says he is not running on his record as Governor of Massachusetts; but his performance at Bain Capital. Romney says he created 120,336 net jobs in 24 companies he bought and reorganized at Bain Capital. All these he accomplished after buying and dismantling 100 companies as Bain's CEO, Mitt Romney. Romney's performance could be termed either way: Romney failed in net jobs creation in seventy six companies; and or, if he can create 120,336 net jobs in 24 companies, he could probably create four times that, if his performance ratio is as good in the other seventy-six firms bought over. An indisputable fact is that equity firms are working for their investors and customers, not necessarily creating jobs; and successes or failures of these private equity firms, do not necessarily lead to jobs' creation. The equity firms may help improve productivity of the businesses they buy over, however, like vulture, once they dismantle companies, they are ready to harvest their investments and profit as fast as they can, even at the expense of loss of jobs and or human sufferings.

Present Status of American Economy

There are now promising and probably, higher level of performance of economic indicators for Americas Economy. Building strength in America's Economic indicators are showing that we are moving right along, or in the right direction, as promised by the Obama's Administration when he asked for stimulus money from Congress and taxpayers. The fundamental transparency of leadership found with President Obama is a core part of possible future economic growth; and this may serve as a case for President Obama's second term and support from American voters. The risks taken by Obama's Administration when the economy was in a free fall in the tail end of 2008 and early 2009, exemplifies promise that is now being harvested by many companies that are turning or being turned around; and, which have contributed to employment increases or job growth in the past twelve months. Further, the development on Wall Street, while still tepid, shows that there is potential for increased economic expansion if we can stay the course. Congressional Republicans who withheld help for stimulus spending, health care and financial reforms are finding out that their strategy to frustrate the Obama's Administration has not worked as they had intended.

Sink or swim, isn't a smart policy; and it is not the most effective doctrine for helping out those who have been suffering from current recession. Promising unattainable heights, in the context of job creation is very elusive, if a new President jettisons some of the policies that have brought us out of the worse recession since the 1929 depression. Promising unattainable goal in elections campaign adds is like fooling the electorate hoping that they will take a bite and jettison the current successes of the present administration. Climbing out of tedious recession is difficult, but requires painstaking forbearance. Similar cyclical recession to that of 2008 has been here, putting our capitalistic system into question; however, every time this has happened, the nation has always climbed out of the hole better than when we went in. The usual problem is: how to ensure that the American public is patient enough to reap the reward of past suffering at the unset of the recession. The promise of President Obama's second term is not full-proof; however, a bird in hand is better than two in the bushes.

Better Off or Worse Off

There is a raging debate among voters regarding if they are better off or worse off from four years ago. Most enlightened voters see much improvement and believe that better days are ahead for America. The fears and rumor mongering going on in the Republican party cannot dissuade support for the continued Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, II.  Equally important to the administration is the need to advance continued successes in the realm of the American Economy, despite antagonism from Congressional Republicans. Sometimes, signs of effort made by an Administration aren't apparent to the voter or persons at the receiving end of a slow economy. Holding off support by congressional lawmakers may make the effort of an administration look dismal. An administration likewise, might fail to trumpet its own successes as much as needed to encourage support from voters. For the incumbent, it is important to continue to encourage average Americans to persevere and dissuade misinformation from the republicans that undermine the efforts that are yielding fruits from decisive decisions of this administration. It is important for the Obama's Administration to continue to emphasize that the sink-or-sink doctrine advanced by the individualist, are not good for our current economy; and probably, may be unacceptable considering the American value of shared sacrifice, which has been in place since the advent of this democracy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

JP Morgan-Chase Failure, Glass Steagall, Dodd-Frank and Financial Reform: The risk of underestimating investment banking losses!

Keywords or Terms: Investment Trading; Glass-Steagall Act; 2008 Recession; 1929 Depression; Wall Street; Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law; Bankers; Insurance Brokerages; Trading in Derivatives; Volker Rule; JP Morgan Chase Bank; Jamie Dimon; Tempest in a tea cup; Two Billion Dollars; Politicizing Banking Reform; and Presidential Politics

During the past week, the nation has learnt of the huge loss by the Wall-Street biggest bank, JP Morgan-Chase. Many Americans wondered if banks learnt anything from the 2008 melt down of the nation's financial sector due to poor decisions and judgment regarding derivatives.

The ripple effect of trading in derivatives and the consequential impact of poor banking decisions at the nation’s biggest Wall-Street Bank are continuing to evolve; and, many Americans are wondering if it made sense to have jettisoned Glass Steagall Act. What is the Glass-Steagall Act? Glass-Steagall Act separated investment and commercial banking activities consequent to the 1929 stock market crash; a crash associated with improper banking activities just before the great depression. Unscrupulous financial banking activities that moved into stock market trading bemoaned the 1929 depression. In somewhat of a similar experience with the great depression, overzealous bankers forayed into risky derivatives trading at JP Morgan-Chase, an experience that once undermined the credibility of America’s financial sector in 2008.

The dynamics of hedging risks, or what investors are terming, gambling with investor's money, remain as confusing to investors just as it is to the public. Hedging risks while trading on derivatives looks a familiar strategy or practice to bankers and insurance brokerages; however, the average investor still sees this more of a mambo-jumbo; or magic. The excessive loss of a ginormous or humongous amount, simply referred to as a normal order of doing business in investment banking, is just too breath-taking. To appropriately quote Jamie Dimons, the loss of two billion investors' dollars in derivative trading is a "tempest in a tea port." Yet the apprehensive investors and public are wondering if the Chairman of JP Morgan-Chase appreciates the weight of his assessment or characterization. Many critics insist that, though JP. Morgan Chase is a trillion dollar corporation, two billion dollars loss, is still huge; and, characterizing this loss as just another order of doing business, is a painful underestimation of the real risk of bank derivatives trading; and one more good reason, why extensive regulations are necessary to dissuade risky trading in derivatives; an objective of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform law.

In as much as banks are expecting to face some risks, a reckless disregard for the weight of potential loss, are matter of concern to investors, and an issue that must be addressed and not underestimated. Hence, it is imperative that some tools and guidelines are in place to ameliorate risky behavior of bankers that may lead to excessive loss of investors’ money. In addition, there is the need to address other issues that are antecedent to derivative trading, which may seem very little, but can really undermine the whole investment banking sector and possibly, the whole economy. The concept of too big to fail is a reality for at least six of the biggest banks on Wall Street; and this reality, calls for responsible regulations not deregulation as sought by some bankers. The pattern of losses or failures associated with investment banking tells the whole industry that there is something missing that even well seasoned bankers can trip over, leading to huge losses of investor's money.

The financial industry and their lobbyists in congress, out of the desire to continue to engage in somewhat of an unsavory banking behavior, continue to ask for many exemptions, since the insitution of the financial reform law of 2010. Immediately Dodd Frank was signed into law by  Obama's Administration, many critics began to bemoan many of the provisions or safeguards in the law that would have prevented the type of failure at JP Morgan-Chase; and the loss of as much money as two billions dollars in a swap. Few critics indicated that the provisions in the law are stifling commerce and some regulatory goalposts in the law are unworkable. Dodd Frank Financial Reform Law, which is expected to reform trading in derivatives, was being questioned for over-regulations by the same financial gurus who were caught with their pants down in the Chase Bank loss.

The Volker rule that could have put some restraints in the way banks trade in derivatives, which had not come upstream, was until recently being bad-mouthed by the same Jamie Dimon, the Chairman of JP. Morgan-Chase Bank. While many objective minds, including some in the financial sector, insisted that we adhere to our initial game plan, that we hold fast to the reform that were recommended in Dodd-Frank, a few of the bankers advised that we better let the horses run wild on the plains. If we had not kept our eyes away from the ball, we as in investors, wouldn’t have been burnt badly, when investment bankers at JP Morgan Chase let their guards down and lost a huge some of money. Frankly, playing with fire burns badly; and as long as banks executives are not ready to take necessary precautions as recommended by Dodd-Frank, the investors and the public will continue to suffer loss and potential humiliation from wrongful investment decisions of investment bankers in derivatives. Like Grandma said: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

Investment Bankers’ choice to trade in risky derivatives is still very perplexing knowing what challenges are associated with this type of banking. For one, many investment bankers insist that they hardly understand how trading in derivatives work. A few of them who partly understand how it works, say it is fraught with unprecedented and or unpredictable risks that may cause huge financial loss to the banks and its investors. The ripple effect of a loss of two billion dollars or more from derivatives trading by the investment arm of the biggest Wall-Street Bank, a leader in the banking sector, which is claimed to be led with a bright mind in Mr. Dimon, still lost big time; what do we expect from other smaller banks getting into this realm of investment banking that seem so much of a misery? To continue to be looking away and allowing the so-called too big to fail banks to continue with their reckless investment trading without more stringent regulations, is tantamount to putting the faith of our economy in the hands of gamblers; as banker fail to appreciate their limitations under this kind of trading; and or, the huge risk. The unwillingness of investment bankers to concede to some degree of regulations, to help temper excessive risks in this kind of investment trading, will probably end up being their waterloo; and if the nation allows these rascals to continue to run loose, there is the possibility of future bank failures due to excessive risks undertaken in investment trading in derivatives.

We all by now are familiar with the unfortunate term of too big to fail. The reality that there are at least six banks on Wall Street today in this category, makes it all the more imperative that, deregulation of the banking and or financial industry can no longer be tolerated, that more regulations are essential, if we are not to fall folly of their past mistakes; and that, our national interests are probably being undermined by a few men in our banking sector, who consider themselves as above board; and due the tax payers bail out, whenever they find themselves in a log-jam. The unfortunate reality calls for tighter laws if possible and more oversight, if we are going to remain the corridors of the biggest banks on the globe.

Once again, we need to re-institute Glass-Steagall Act and tighten whatever provisions are in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It is good to know that Congress is seeking to hold hearings in the recent loss at J.P. Chase-Morgan; it is also a wise idea to have Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) look into the possibility of criminality in the trading loss at JP Morgan-Chase Bank. Some members of the public are asking, why the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is involved in this debacle at Chase? There are three essential reasons: 1) was there intentional failure to disclose to investors certain risks associated with trading in derivatives that may have made them incur the overwhelming loss? 2) Was there an intentional failure to take all possible precautions to ensure that investments in derivatives follow the existing laws of the land; and 3) whether there was intentional failure to report the high volatility in investment portfolios associated derivatives in the recent failure at JP Morgan-Chase. All these reasons have some criminal undertone that is why the bureau is talking to some bankers at the biggest Wall Street Bank.

In the nature of politics, it is very important that we address the current promise to revoke Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law by the presumptive Republican candidate for the White House’s oval office. Giving promises that can hardly be fulfilled, or ignoring the obvious, regarding how banks are managing their affairs that heavily impact citizens’ lives is not really statesman. When Banks fail, especially when they are a huge sector of our economy, they are more likely going to take some aspects of our lives and economy with them. When this happens, ordinary Americans loose their nest eggs and retirement savings; people loose their jobs, marriages and homes; and, many become depressed and in some cases, people take their lives.

Banks are important and essential part of a capitalistic system. To improve financial performance and trading activities on Wall Street, there is the need to speak with one voice. The repeal of the Glass Steagall Act has created more problems for the financial sector than we could have imagined when the law was put up for revocation a few years ago. Dodd-Frank was designed to address the kind of problems that led to the failure at JP. Morgan Chase; so is a combination of other provisions of what is now termed, the Volker Rule. To repeal these laws out of political expediency is to kick the can down the road; the nation will still have to address these issues, when the unexpected and unknown happen again: failure of many banks and the economy! The frivolity of Mitt Romney’s promise make one wonder, if the politician has the nation at heart or is just too blinded by his own ambition. There is hardly smoking without fire. The fact that our nation's number one bank in terms of capital and probably assets has suffered an untold and huge loss as this, require a well articulated and choreographed post-mortem to prevent future problems from arising. Politicizing this type of challenge is actually, irresponsible.

Now, it is one thing to claim one’s candidacy as one of a job creator, one with a private sector experience of creating jobs; however, there is another, to see one as a post-industrial investor, who is more interested in investing in private equity, maximizing wealth for investors and making businesses more efficient, even at the expense of people and the nation. The things that a leader can get away with in a private enterprise, is not the same that will happen in a public enterprise. The nation is not a private equity firm whose share holders are seeking maximum profit at the expense of the lives of its citizens. This is why this country is the land of freedom and liberty; and no one, with a reckless ambition to kick people to the curb, send millions to the unemployment and soup lines and pretend to be exercising leadership, is worthy of consideration for the oval office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Our nation cannot afford this type of ambition and person now!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Republican High School Bully for the Oval Office: You Get What You Vote For?

Keywords or Terms: Bullying; Uncivil Behavior; Youthful Pranks; Assault; Child Psychologists; Presidential Election Contest; Presumptive Republican Nominee; Morning Shows the Day; Predicting Presidential Performance; Inclusive Society and leadership; Civil Society; and Washington Post.

Bullying of any kind in the public space has been a national problem. There are even states and county governments that have put out laws and edicts to counter the problem of bullying. Bullying in Grades K-12 have sometimes been a challenge for Schools' Administrators. As trite as this problem has been, it may become a more pronounced consideration in this year's general election considering the attention this problem has been receiving by parents and voters. Yesterday, the Washington Post put out a story after interviewing very close classmates of Mitt Romney, the Presumptive Republican Party nominee, for bullying pranks in the prestigious Michigan high school that the candidate had attended. If the story is true, there is no reason to believe it is not, since there are witnesses and participants in the act of bullying at this upscale prep-school, then the presumptive Republican Party nominee has questions to answer. For instance, would he be a bully President that is out of control if he is ever elected into the office?

The details of the allegation and the subscription of many of Mitt Romney's classmates who are now Republicans as well as men of different political persecutions, indicate that the allegation(s) has some credibility to it. Other incidents of bullying which the presumptive Republican Nominee has engaged in are now surfacing, in addition to what Washington Post has put out, and it seems the presumptive nominee may actually be a "high school yard bully"; or has a bullying problem. Now, before I go further, I want my readers to know that I am invested in President Barack Obama and what might seem like thong lashing in this piece, must be taken with some grain of salt. Notwithstanding, no one wants or appreciates a school yard bully, not a Democrat or Republican, if we are to have a civil society.

Sadly, the Republican nominee went on Fox News to take responsibility for the action; and, probably others that we do not now know. By this acceptance of responsibility, it must be of equal concern to many Americans who may be looking at Mitt Romney as a candidate for the White House oval office. Can we all trust that if Mitt Romney is handed the keys to the oval office, he will not resort to his old styled behavior of bullying people who work for him or those, less privileged than him? Would Romney not engage in bullying people who are necessarily different from him? Would he abridge the rights of lesbians, gay and transgenders and other minorities among us? Would Mitt Romney mortgage all the achievements that this group has attained under President Barack Obama? Would "President Mitt Romney" turn around Don't Ask don't tell; Marriage Equality; Pay Equity Act and other public policies that the Democratic Nominee, President Barack Obama, has worked so hard to accomplish, so that we can have a more inclusive society?

The new allegation(s) against Mitt Romney reveal another side of the presumptive Republican nominee that many of us are oblivious of. The question now is: how prevalent are these types of behavior in this candidate seeking our vote? We do not know how many of these uncivil behavior(s) Mitt Romney has cultivated and how often he uses them in adulthood or when he was with Bain Capital; and probably, what remnants of this uncivil behavior remain with him. Remember, the old adage: you cannot teach an old dog new trick! Talking with child psychologists, many of our adult behavior are a residue of what we have learned or cultivated by the age of five; and many of them, remain with us till adulthood and for some, till they go to their grave. This is why one must be circumspect of belated regrets from the Republican presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney. Publicly, the candidate for the November 6th contest has shown remorse; however, old habits are hard to kick; thus, he may actually retain this behavior and is only showing the current remorse out of expediency.

Empathy and sensitivity to people's feelings are qualities of a good leader. Degrading others and embarrassing them to the point of taking actions that will be construed assault in adulthood maybe discountenanced as youthful pranks; however, if you dig deeper, you are more likely to find similar behavior or action in that person's behavior in adulthood that is disconcerting just like Romney's behavior in high school. The recent expose from Washington Post may just be politics considering the fact that this issue came to light just a day after President Obama gave an ABC News interview where he pronounced that his support for gay marriages has evolved. However, be it as it may, anytime anyone decides to run for the highest office in the land, it is the prerogative of Americans to know who or what is coming to them; and, what type of person that individual has been and would probably remain while in office. We are talking about the Presidency of the whole free world, not the mayor of an hamlet or commissioner of planning or salary of a city of 85,000 plus people.

When politicians commit to a cause, they often do so out of concern or indifference to particular issues. When politicians find themselves under stress on issues concerning the state, it is not unusual that their true nature of behavior come to light; and in many of such circumstances, it is not unusual to find such politicians taking decisions or actions that make voters wonder, if that politician was the real person they voted into office, or if it is someone else. When politicians attain an office, their first goal is to put their stamp of management or style of arrangement of the affairs of the office. No one is saying that "President Mitt Romney" may exhibit behavior in the office that may be in-congruent with the expectations of voters; however, it behooves the voters to be careful in their choice of who ends up leading them as President. To get the perfect individual for the office of Presidency may be extraneous and sometimes unpredictable; however, it is important that the voters evaluate all possible variables or issues that may impact a person when he attains the office. Carefully exonerating those issues that may impact objective decisions and policies are truly essential, to making the right choice. Now is the time, to take a second look at what Mitt Romney has done in the past, as the past may somehow predict the future.

The landscape of American politics is filled with decisions made by Presidents that have changed the course of our history. Some of our Presidents made us better-off, while others have made us worse off. Presidents that have changed us or the nation for the better have often transformed the way we do things or parts of our lives and the affairs of the nation. While very few Presidents have made little impact in our lives and nation, many a times, those periods of their occupation of the White House, have made us reflect better on what we missed in them as candidates for the office. Transformation for the better is good for the overall growth of the nation; however, when the electorate misses something, the brunt of that mistake is often borne by us; sometimes devastatingly; and in some cases, permanently changing our lives and those of other nations who are our friends and or allies. There is even an adage in foreign policy or State Department that, when America's finances sneezes, the rest of the world economy catches cold. This was exemplified by recent experience with our nation's economy, just before President Obama came to power. When the debacle of our financial sector festered, due to excessive deregulation, and our banking sector went into a tailspin as we descended into a recession, there was a domino effect felt across the globe. Many European countries are suffering from a double dip recession, partly because of what happened in America a couple of years ago. If only for the experience of the last recession, it is imperative that Americans vote the right person into office rather than accepting failures of a President, that we enthroned without much consideration of his past behavior or decision(s) in position of power.

The presumptive Republican Party nominee, who once enacted and signed into law, a prototype of the Affordable Care Act, is currently disowning this law. This was a leader, who was the governor of the State of Massachusetts, who introduced a blue-print of the Affordable Care Act in that state while governor, who has barely left that office a decade, now disowning the same health policy and law. How are we sure that when, if ever, he is elected into office of the President, he would not introduce a policy and enact laws that would make the whole nation worse off; and, after a few years, disown that same policy and law. That is the dilemma for the nation and voters who are favorably considering Mitt Romney as the next President of this great nation. Can the nation afford a flip-flapper; can the nation afford a leader that will abandon us; or introduce policies and or laws that may directly change the course of our lives permanently? Can we afford a man who bullies his mates in a position of direct authority over this great nation, and by default, the free world? Can the nation afford a President that we hardly know much about his religion, except for that religion's true insiders? Our failure(s) to choose the right Person to occupy the oval office, is significant; that is why we cannot afford to overlook any information regarding the person's behavior as he seeks to win election into the office.

Many voters still rely on campaign advertisements just before an election for making voting choices. It is now time for voters to dig deeper to a candidate's background, especially when they are putting themselves up for election into a political office in our precincts, counties, states; and national government, especially for the office of the Presidency! The current deadlock in Congress should have taught us a lesson or two. Finding out that, a politician that voters sent to Washington DC to act on our behalf, is actively refusing to enact bills that will make the country better-off than worse-off, is rather unacceptable. Having legislature refuse to support bills and laws that directly improve the job-status or employment opportunities in our nation, is not only distasteful; it must be construed a dereliction of duty; and rightly addressed in our voting booths. This is why the question of Mitt Romney's past behavior is rather relevant. First it was the domestic animal abuse charge; then, bullying of a classmate that is a little bit different; what must we expect to hear next? A vote for Mr. Romney may become a doomsday for us. Voters, please think again!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Did Mitt Romney Lie to a Cleveland Television Station Yesterday?

You be the Judge:

Mitt Romney is distorting history, again! Talking to a Cleveland Television station yesterday, he attempted to take credit for the re-organization of the auto industry. He is claiming as in the nature of the Swift Vote Veteran on John Kerry, that he deserves a lot of credit for the comeback of the auto industry.

Please tell Mr. Romney, he is a liar; he wanted the auto industry to go burst! He even wrote an opinion page to that effect in a New York Times Opinion Page on November 18, 2008**. There is nothing as managed bankruptcy; bankruptcy is bankruptcy, Mr. Magic underpants! President Obama believed in the America’s Auto industry and put his money where his mouth is! Thanks President Obama, for having the back of the auto industry. This general election is not going to be won by distortion of history. Mr. Mitt Romney has just justified Mr. Newt Gingrich's assessment of him during the Republican Nomination Process!

Op-Ed Contributor

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt


Published: November 18, 2008
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. 

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check. 

I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive. In 1954, my dad, George Romney, was tapped to run American Motors when its president suddenly died. The company itself was on life support — banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around — and years later at business school, they were still talking about it. From the lessons of that turnaround, and from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit’s automakers. 

First, their huge disadvantage in costs relative to foreign brands must be eliminated. That means new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign producers. 

That extra burden is estimated to be more than $2,000 per car. Think what that means: Ford, for example, needs to cut $2,000 worth of features and quality out of its Taurus to compete with Toyota’s Avalon. Of course the Avalon feels like a better product — it has $2,000 more put into it. Considering this disadvantage, Detroit has done a remarkable job of designing and engineering its cars. But if this cost penalty persists, any bailout will only delay the inevitable. 

Second, management as is must go. New faces should be recruited from unrelated industries — from companies widely respected for excellence in marketing, innovation, creativity and labor relations.
The new management must work with labor leaders to see that the enmity between labor and management comes to an end. This division is a holdover from the early years of the last century, when unions brought workers job security and better wages and benefits. But as Walter Reuther, the former head of the United Automobile Workers, said to my father, “Getting more and more pay for less and less work is a dead-end street.” 

You don’t have to look far for industries with unions that went down that road. Companies in the 21st century cannot perpetuate the destructive labor relations of the 20th. This will mean a new direction for the U.A.W., profit sharing or stock grants to all employees and a change in Big Three management culture. 

The need for collaboration will mean accepting sanity in salaries and perks. At American Motors, my dad cut his pay and that of his executive team, he bought stock in the company, and he went out to factories to talk to workers directly. Get rid of the planes, the executive dining rooms — all the symbols that breed resentment among the hundreds of thousands who will also be sacrificing to keep the companies afloat. 

Investments must be made for the future. No more focus on quarterly earnings or the kind of short-term stock appreciation that means quick riches for executives with options. Manage with an eye on cash flow, balance sheets and long-term appreciation. Invest in truly competitive products and innovative technologies — especially fuel-saving designs — that may not arrive for years. Starving research and development is like eating the seed corn. 

Just as important to the future of American carmakers is the sales force. When sales are down, you don’t want to lose the only people who can get them to grow. So don’t fire the best dealers, and don’t crush them with new financial or performance demands they can’t meet. 

It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.
But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost. 

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check. 

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was a candidate for this year’s Republican presidential nomination.

American Voters, please, please and please, don’t be fooled and misinformed this time around! You have the front row seat, judge by what you have read above. Mitt Romney may be the first fraud seeking to inhabit the White House come 2013!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The making of another run for the White house by Barack Obama: Inertia and Momentum!

Keywords or Terms: Democratic Nominee;  Courage to Challenge; Campaign Strategy; President Obama; Achievements; The Economy; Adaptability; Inertia; Momentum; Winning the Future; Bedeviling the Campaign Process; and Winning one for the underprivileged, the poor, the elderly and the middle class.

More than four years ago, President Barack Obama launched his first campaign for the White House; and, won the keys to the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With nothing but one very familiar message, HOPE, President Obama campaigned across the country and overseas to become the first African American to inherit the office in over two centuries. By his rise to the highest office, the land of freedom and liberty lived up to its creed: “We hold this true to be self-evident that all men are created equal”. Many Americans were overtly impressed and some skeptics were somehow overwhelmed by the love and support for a rainbow like coalition of people in support of a young sweet looking, close to baby-face mixed blood man with a broad smile and probably a perfect dentition. Today, that youthful look found in President Barack Obama, a mere four years ago, has turned to gray and the man is looking much older than even he, could have imagined when he first ran for the Presidency. The blog tonight explores another campaign for the White House, by Barack Hussein Obama II, the President of the United States of America.

President Barack Obama kicked off his second campaign for the oval office in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, May 5th, 2012. After cress-crossing the nation in the past two months, with various possible themes for his campaign, the now seasoned politician has made a decision to extend his reign over the free world for another four years. Would he be able to do that? This question is left for time to tell. However, unlike four years ago, President Obama seems more confident, better prepared and probably well qualified to win another term, if he can overcome criticisms for his handling of the America economy by the ultra right and mostly Republicans. Once again, unlike four years ago, when prominent and well articulate national political strategists and journalists were falling over each other, with a few dreaming about cooking dinner and having a nice quiet evening, with relatively unknown youthful looking Democratic aspirant for the White House, now the drum of criticisms and some apprehensions over his record on the economy, are gradually piling.

The idea behind the apprehension of the President’s handling of the economy is coming from the deep cognitive bias that we all have a personal interest, in the political economy of this nation. Whenever we perceive the performance of our Presidents, not up to par in any aspect of the nation’s management, we deserve answers; and, rightfully ask questions. At least, if members of his political party are kinder or softer regarding his performance, the opposition party is often more aggressive against the President in a general elections year. Unfortunately, this time around, there is a more aggressive, probably distrustful and abusive members of the opposition party, the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party; with its propaganda news outlet or machine, that have chosen to deride the President no matter what he does. In about all aspects of the nation’s political economy, the ultra right conservative Republicans have worked hard to discredit the President of the United States, even when the aspect(s) of the nation’s management they are asking questions about are not directly within the jurisdictions of the Presidential Powers.

The failure of the White House to drum up its successes in the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency can partly be blamed for the affronts and criticisms from the opposition party. However, some political strategists maintain that some of the criticisms really have nothing to do with the President’s performance, but rather: prejudice! From a nation stricken by an unprecedented recession, the lack of understanding of how deep the problem of the nation’s economy was and the tepid corrective policy instruments recommended to address the Republican President induced recession, is the real bane of the problem; and, the current criticism of the President’s handling of the economy; is probably unjustifiable. The less than critical spending on recovery projects and programs compounded the President’s efforts; and, made it seem that much was not being done to create jobs and confront the unemployment problem. The divided and probably antagonistic partisanship in congress doubly compounded the problem. Some economists and policy makers argue though, that if the Obama’s administration had gotten heavy handed on recovery spending, there was the likelihood of hyper-inflation that could have made the unemployment problem worse. Avid supporters of the President however insist that with a divided congress, the Obama’s administration had been unable to move the needle of unemployment as fast as it could.

Over the weekend, the Obama’s campaign team lounged the second run for the White House with the following achievements of the administration, highlighting in a released forward campaign video, laudable praise for the President's efforts. What are the President’s achievements as addressed or espoused in the video? With a reflective President, the Obama campaign team document his achievement as follows: 1) Fighting for a strong and secured middle class America; 2) Tax cut for businesses eighteen times; 3) Creating 466,000 New Manufacturing jobs;  4)  Increased Natural gas production; 5) Stopping unfair credit card fees and eliminating devious financial practices by enacting the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; 6) Wall Street Reforms; 7) Reduction of drug costs for seniors; 8) Investing $100 Billion in Science and Stem Research; 9) Ending Iraq war; 10) Liberating Libya from the oppression of Qaddafi; 11) Brought to justice Osama Bin Laden; 12) Increasing incentives to hire unemployed veterans; 13) Ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military; 14) Extending Unemployment benefits for Americans; 15) Signing into law, the Lilly-led Better fair pay act of 2009, thereby guaranteeing equal pay for women; 16) Health Care Reform Law; 17) Lowering Seniors' Drug Costs; 18) Doubling College Pell Grant; 19) Guaranteeing coverage for contraception under the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA); 20) Installed the first Latina Supreme Court Judge; 21) Protection of Medicare and Social Security;  and, 22) Saving the Auto Industry. Further, the video projected the President as a compassionate, hard working and dedicated leader who believe strongly in fairness. In addition to these accomplishments, the Obama's campaign team says, President Obama deserves another term in order to complete other goals that his administration had set out to accomplish. To this latter request came the presumptive Republican candidate's campaign press release that: Americans know they are not better off than they were four years ago!

President Obama's inertia to win over converts and counter Mitt Romney's campaign to ouster the President of United States, may be halted if his campaign is unable to debunk the following outlandish claims by some far right antagonists, a few of which are subscribed to by Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican Party flag-bearer. These outlandish claims include: 1) Roughly 12.5 million American still remain unemployed; 2) President Obama loves by-passing congress with the use of executive fiat; 3) President Obama's Administration engaged in gun-running and illegal searches; 4) President Obama's Administration engages in obstructing justice; 5) President Obama's administration attempt to control media and protect criminal banking cartels; 6) President Obama's Administration commits war crimes; 7) President Obama's Administration loves assassinating Americans. As ridiculous and frivolous some of these claims are, there are some voters who truly believe them; and a few far right Republicans, who know many of these claims are untrue, but will rather they stick on the President, so they could unseat him from office. These are the challenges that the President and his campaign team have to deal with in order for him to retain the office of the Presidency.

The Obama's campaign team and the President have been pulling their weight in debunking a few of these outlandish claims, as you will find, in one of the comments ascribed to Josh Earnest, President Obama's principal deputy press secretary: "The President has a vision of an America, where everyone engages in fair play, does their share and gets a fair shot." While this comment has a lot of relevance to the position of the President and his campaign on several issues, including women welfare, fair taxation code, income differentials, and poverty; it also, addresses the issue of inequality in America. Unless the issues of inequality in income, in opportunities and the housing debacle problems are resolved, it is going to be challenging to over turn the problems facing the American Economy; these are part of the reasons why the Obama's campaign team must advance proposals to address these issues, apart from the ad-lib in his kick-up campaign over the weekend.

With the growing inequality in income, it is rather difficult to continue to claim that, the nation needs to continue to subscribe to cutting taxes for the rich and fighting expensive foreign wars where our national interest is hardly at stake. The famous one percent, who have be doubling their income share from former excessive deregulation of Wall Street and overzealous compensation of Corporations' Chief Executive Officers in the past administration, make it difficult for many poor to believe that they have a stake in the country. Many of the rich groups in the country, which Mitt Romney is part of, and is attempting to continue to conserve, have had some fantastical increases in income and wealth; and have had their investment interests protected at all cost, to the disadvantage of the ninety-nine percent unprotected. In terms of trend of income inequality, the gap between the rich and the poor has been rather overwhelming and outstripping the experience of many of the earlier generations of Americans since the first world war. In summation, the Elites in America are not necessarily concerned about income inequality in America; however, President Obama is, and has made the argument for fighting income inequality in America as part of the corner stone of his campaign for the second term in the oval office. Would the far right allow him to succeed in a second run? 

President Obama campaign team has to define Mitt Romney for the public at large, very early in the process of seeking the White House for the second time, if it is to maintain the momentum of support that seems to be in his favor for now. His campaign team, has to take the bull by the horn, collect all past campaign comments of Mitt Romney from his Massachusetts days in his run for the governorship and senate seat and make them issues of relevance in their definition of who Mitt Romney is. The slogan of winning the future may be great; however, you cannot win the future, if you do not go very hard and heavily on a candidate that is bent on playing to the whims and caprices of the ultra right in his campaign effort. The fight for the White House this time around, is not only to win the future, it is to debunk prejudices and devious comments from the Republicans; it is to build a fortified fortress against the conservatives, ultra-right voters, who have consistently waylaid the President since his first day in office; it is a fight to end all fights; it is a battle to end all wars against women, the elderly, the poor and middle-class Americans; it is a fight that cannot be taken for granted as long as Republicans are defining corporations as persons and allowing them to exploit that definition in bedeviling the campaign process into legislative offices and the White House.